It's easy to see where the confusion comes from, business casual is a misnomer. Business implies seriousness, casual implies, well, not. There is no clear definition, no step by step game plan, and ample room to make the wrong choices in front of your boss. The following should take the ambiguity out of business casual no matter where you work. Know your industry and the expectations. Walk into a downtown Boston law firm and a Cambridge bio-tech company on a Friday and it’s clear business casual means very different things to different employers. What do the respected senior managers at your company wear? Follow their lead. Even in industries where dressing down is the norm, you can be a cut above the rest without looking out of place.
A suit’s function is to make the wearer appear polished and on top of their game. This look can be achieved with less structured clothing by making sure each item looks new, clean, unwrinkled, fitted well to your body, and in colors that flatter you. If the garment has a pattern it should be more subtle rather than eye catching.
Add distinguishing accessories to your simple button down and flat front khaki slack like a saddle leather belt and modern lace up shoes. A dress shirt with a french cuff is no longer only for special occasions, combine it with distinctive cuff links and you elevate your appearance without looking stuffy.