Business Casual: Are Jeans Work Appropriate?

Jeans and Blazer by My Style Pill on Flickr
Jeans and Blazer by My Style Pill on Flickr

Over the last several decades, the business casual revolution has been brewing.  In today’s relaxed work climate, business casual can be confusing without a properly defined dress code and often leads to questions like this:

Are Jeans Work Appropriate?

Determining whether jeans are work appropriate will depend on your work environment.  If you work in a creative or technical field with a business casual atmosphere, you’ll be more likely to be able to wear jeans at the office than if you work in an executive law firm, for example.

That said, not all jeans are created equal.  Consider the various styles of jeans on the marketplace that may not bode so well with HR due to their distracting nature…

Acid Wash Jeans

acid wash jeans vintage 1
Acid Wash Jeans

Distressed Jeans

Distressed Jeans with Whiskers
Distressed Jeans with Whiskers

Destroyed Jeans

Destroyed Denim
Destroyed Denim

Recommendations for Jeans in the Workplace

If you decide to don jeans in the workplace, I would recommend the following criteria:

  1. Choose dark wash jeans like these ones from Banana Republic:

    Banana Republic Dark Wash Jeans
    Banana Republic Dark Wash Jeans
  2. Choose trouser style jeans with a crease

    Nordstrom Jeans with Crease
    Nordstrom Jeans with Crease
  3. Choose clean jeans free of tears and distressing

    Jag Jeans Bootcut
    Jag Jeans Bootcut
  4. Choose jeans that fit and have adequate ease

    Talbots Linen/Cotton Trousers
    Talbots Linen/Cotton Trousers
  5. Choose to pair jeans with a nice top, jacket, and shoes

    Jeans and a Blazer by Lupofire on Flickr
    Jeans and a Blazer by Lupofire on Flickr

You may also want to double check your office’s dress code and make sure jeans aren’t a no-no.

Your 2 Cents

Let’s hear it from you — are jeans work appropriate in your office or work environment?

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5 thoughts on “Business Casual: Are Jeans Work Appropriate?

  1. My job requires skirts and nylons. I guess we could debate the appropriateness of denim skirts, but if they make you wear nylons, they probably aren't fans of denim.

  2. Thanks for your input, Cathie. You're probably right on with your office dress code. Is it tough to make nylons work during the summer? What do you do to stay cool?

  3. Before I read the post, my first thought was, "Only if they are straight legged denim trousers ala Eileen Fisher." I also think what you choose to pair with them makes all the difference.

  4. I know this is an old post but I would like to recreate the look of the image you used at the top by My Style Pill. How would you recommend me doing this on a reasonable budget?

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