Can You Wear Jeans For Business Casual? Everything You Need To Know

Business Casual is one of those dress codes that leaves some wiggle room for interpretation. Depending on the office setting and type of work you do, it can mean different things. Business casual by definition is typically a mix of traditional office wear pieces with a more relaxed, yet still professional touch. And what could be more relaxed and comfy than a great pair of jeans? Today we’re answering the question, can jeans be appropriate for business casual attire? And, the answer is a bit more complex than you might think!

Finding the right pair of jeans for your body type can be exhausting! Make sure you check out this post next for some great tips on how to look slimmer in your jeans!

Can You Wear Jeans For Business Casual

Can You Wear Jeans For Business Casual

The short answer is yes. Generally speaking, unless your employer specifies otherwise, jeans are considered appropriate for business casual attire. The exception might be more formal business settings. But that doesn’t mean any old pair of jeans will work for casual Friday at the office. In fact, certain types of jeans cannot be worn in a traditional business casual setting. So, let’s break down some things to look for and some things to avoid when it comes to the business casual dress code and wearing denim.

  • Wash – If in doubt, a dark wash or black pair of jeans will look the most streamlined and professional. Sometimes lighter washes can read more on the casual side.
  • Fit – A straight leg or bootcut silhouette with a higher rise will look most appropriate for the office. Avoid too-tight skinny jeans, trendy, or very oversized and baggy jeans.
  • Style – Avoid, fading, fraying, and whiskering details. While we love a distressed jean, you’ll want to save these for non-office days in most workplace settings.
  • Crisp and Clean – Kind of a no-brainer, but worth mentioning…wrinkle-free and stain-free jeans are a must for casual Fridays.
  • Keep It Classic – Avoid bright-colored jeans or styles with lots of embellishments. Classic styles that you can pair with smart accessories and layers will be your best bet.

Jeans & Blazers outfit

10 Business Casual Outfits with Jeans

Jeans & Blazers

With these first three business casual outfits, we’ll show ways to style different blazer types with various jean styles, so you’ll be a pro at deciphering how to pull off this combo!

1) Dark Wash Jeans + Cropped Blazer

A “cropped blazer” might sound too casual for the office, but the right one can definitely look professional. Above, Erin’s wearing a cropped blazer by Aqua for Bloomingdales in a gorgeous green tweed. The tweed fabric gives it that inherently more professional vibe and the gold buttons add such an elegant touch. The Paige jeans are a straight-leg, high-waist style with a dark wash and a classic fit. (Notice there’s no fraying or distressed details!) She’s wearing a pair of beautiful pumps by Malone Souliers but you could wear a classic pump, loafers, or flats here too.

Dark Wash Jeans + Classic Blazer

2) Dark Wash Jeans + Classic Blazer

You can’t go wrong with a classic black blazer and dark wash jeans for your business casual attire. Above, Erin’s wearing her go-to Veronica Beard Scuba Blazer, with dark wash, flared leg Genevieve jeans by Paige. These jeans are high-waisted and have no contrast stitching, so they look super professional. Almost like a trouser…making them a great option for the office. As for the blazer, Erin has owned and loved it for years. While it’s more of an investment piece, it’s a classic staple you’ll have for workwear and beyond. She added a simple white cami underneath and some elongating pointed-toe black booties, but you could also wear a classic pump here too. If in doubt about wearing jeans to the office, this outfit or a similar version would be a super safe bet!

Light Wash Jeans + Blazer outfit

3) Light Wash Jeans + Blazer

So, we’ve talked about wearing your dark wash jeans without any distressing or fraying as a great office go-to, but we wanted to show you a way to style your light wash jeans that should work for most casual Friday dress codes too. These jeans from Banana Republic do have some slight fading and are a nod to the baggy trend, but they still look super polished with the streamlined blazer, matching silk blouse, and elevated pumps. The jeans have some structure to them so while the wash is lighter, they don’t seem overly casual. They also come in Regular and Tall inseams. Erin is 5’4″ and the Regular inseam is perfect with her heels.

If you’d like to read more about how to style blazers with jeans both in and out of the office, make sure you check out this post next.

Jeans & Blouse outfit

Jeans & Blouse

These next two outfits are dress shirt options that are both pretty classic and perfect for wearing with jeans for business casual settings.

4) Jeans + Silk Blouse

Erin is wearing the same dark wash, flared Paige jeans as in Look #2. They really are the perfect business casual jeans! She paired them with a silk, tie-neck blouse by Paige that adds polish and sophistication to her look. A silk blouse will automatically elevate your jeans. Just look for more of a modest neckline and if you’re wearing a lighter color, make sure you double-check the see-through factor. If in doubt, you can always wear a cami underneath, or throw a blazer or cardigan over your silk blouse.

Can You Wear Jeans For Business Casual

5) Jeans + Lace Blouse

These Mother Hustler jeans are some of Erin’s favorites and she has them in multiple washes and versions (with a frayed hem, cropped, etc.). But this wash called Heirloom is really ideal when you’re putting together your casual office outfit with jeans. She styled them with a gorgeous white blouse by L’Agence that has pretty lace details at the cuffs, covered buttons, and a flattering v-neckline. Sure, you could also go with a classic white button-down which is always a great office go-to, but if you want to add a bit more excitement to your look, a pretty top like this one is another great option. Just wear a nude or white cami underneath if you’re looking for a bit more coverage.

denim blazer outfit

Can You Wear Jeans For Business CasualVeronica Beard Denim Pants + Blazer

Denim Suits

If you really want to put a modern spin on your business casual clothing, how about a denim suit? Erin has two she loves!

Veronica Beard Denim Pants + Blazer

 This double-denim look is SO fresh and unexpected. The jeans are cropped so they’re just the right length on Erin at 5’4″. And the cut of the blazer is so incredibly chic and flattering. The strategic darts, contrast stitching, extended shoulders, and fitted bodice with the bold gold buttons all help to create this inverted triangle effect to give the illusion of a slimmer waist. This is one of those confidence-building suits that looks so dialed-in and polished, yet you are still wearing …denim! Erin paired her denim suit with an elevated (literally!) pair of See by Chloe platforms, but for a more traditional office look, you could wear a pair of pumps, booties, or pointed-toe flats.

Cinq a Sept Denim Blazer & Cargo Jeans

7) Cinq a Sept Denim Blazer & Cargo Jeans

Ok, we know what you’re thinking…is this really appropriate for the office? Well, it could be…depending on your office environment. This look is more of a wild card, but it’s pretty darn edgy and cool so we just had to share it in this casual Friday roundup! This denim suit combo is definitely trendier than the previous Veronic Beard denim suit, mostly because of the jeans. They are a jogger style, and they have oversized cargo flap pockets on the side. The blazer though actually has a fairly traditional cut. It has wonderful ruched sleeves for that perfect sleeve length and classic notched lapels. If you work in a less formal, creative setting, this denim suit gives that confident power punch with a touch of rebellion on the side.

Can You Wear Jeans For Business Casual

8) Black Jeans + Cashmere Sweater

Along the same lines as dark wash denim, black denim is another great choice for casual workday outfits. Not only are they slimming (bonus!) they are a dressier alternative to traditional blue denim. So, you get that polished and professional look. Erin paired her black Mother jeans with a cashmere twofer sweater. SO perfect for the office. The layered effect takes all the guessing and discomfort out of making sure 2 pieces work together without hiking, wrinkles, and bunching.

White Jeans Sweater outfit

9) White Jeans + Sweater

White jeans could look overly casual for the office, but they can also be professional if styled just right! This outfit is a perfect example of how two pieces that appear more casual, can look office-elevated. Erin’s wearing one of her favorite pairs of white jeans by Mother with a lightweight sweater by Joe’s. The jeans are not at all see-through so you can feel confident wearing them to work. There is some fraying at the bottom of these jeans, but they still look polished. The striped sweater has a higher neckline, and the chic balloon sleeves and extended cuffs give it more of a sophisticated look. To keep the line long and lean, Erin’s wearing a pair of ivory boots.

Jeans T-Shirt outfit

Jeans + T-Shirt

This last business casual look is sneaky good. We’re talking about jeans and a t-shirt. Yep, a t-shirt for work! But you’ll need to be very intentional with your t-shirt choice. Nation LTD is one of Erin’s favorite brands for high-quality, comfortable t-shirts with elevated details. The one she’s wearing above has drapey puffed sleeves with some pleating at the shoulders. It’s a few years old so we’ll link similar options below. You can dress up a t-shirt and jeans like this for the office by adding a waist belt, some heels, and pretty jewelry that dials up the look a bit.

Do you have a favorite pair of jeans that seem extra-appropriate for office wear? If so, please share in the comments below so our community can check those out too!

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