Are Jeans Business Casual?

Written By Bakes

Avid writer on Men's Hair, Grooming, and Lifestyle!

The question “Are Jeans Business Casual” is proof that there is still much confusion around the subject matter which we are going to clear up. Contrary to popular belief jeans are in fact classed as business casual and can be worn for different formal activities. Not all jeans will be classed as such for instance, baggy or distressed denim.

Rather than explain why we have done an even better job and provided visual representation as to what is business casual and what is not.


Business Casual Jeans Video Gif

To further answer your, “are jeans business casual?” question we created a gif video to compare denim garments which should provide context in hopes that this would guide you. The video below demonstrates what constitutes as business casual jeans and what does not. Check it out.

How Should Jeans Fit gif


What does NOT permit as business casual jeans 

To recap from the video we have listed the jeans you want to avoid for a business casual look.

  • Jeans with Loud logos
  • Light/Wash Denim Jeans
  • Distressed Jeans
  • Ripped Jeans
  • Baggy Jeans
  • Other bright colour jeans


What Jeans should I purchase?

Slim fit jeans are best and, in most cases, the only pair of denim you should purchase when it comes to creating business casual outfits.

As written by us on our suit jacket with jeans article 

“Slim fit jeans tend to work best as they have a narrow opening all throughout the legs which then becomes narrower towards the bottom. This is usually how the suit trousers inseam & thigh width are designed which is why we prefer this fit when opting for denim “

Not only does the fit of the denim have to be right but ensuring you have the right shade is just as important. When it comes to business casual your choices should be black, navy, dark grey or darker wash denim.


Things to keep in Mind

The term business casual has always been vague as proven by people, companies and industries defining it in different ways.  For example, the term business casual within a creative start up will have a different meaning to a corporate office.

Within a start-up business casual may mean a t shirt, cardigan, regular jeans and trainers which would go against our advice in this article. Therefore, it’s important to assess the dress code in any new environment for what is deemed as business casual or spend a few minutes to research online. You will be able to get a sense of the dress code through a company’s social media platforms.

I personally would prefer to be a little overdressed than underdressed in most cases, however, the point should still stand which is to do your research on what is deemed business casual within that specific environment.


Business Casual vs. Smart Casual (Comparison Table)

Business Casual

Smart Casual


Dark Blazer/Suit Jacket
Black, Navy, Grey etc

Shirt Only

Sports coat or Blazer in traditional business colours or casual colours.
T Shirt permitted (Avoid graphic T Shirts)

Cardigan or Smart jumper


Dark Jeans (Slim Fit)
Dark Chinos (Slim Fit)

Light or Dark Jeans
Light or Dark Chinos


Dark Leather shoes or Boots (Black or Brown)

Leather or Suede boots and shoes. Loafers can work to


Smart Watch



Leather belt

Smart Watch



Leather belt


Formal Meetings

Online Conferences

Meetings outside of work

Public Events

Date Nights

Office Parties

Date Nights


Social Gatherings

Family Gatherings 

The subtle differences between business casual and smart casual should now be a lot clearer. Smart Casual outfits tends to match casual garments and somewhat formal pieces together such as sport jackets, t shirts and jeans. Business Casual is the more formal of the 2 which focuses on the fit, colour and having a minimal amount of casual wear. 

For those of you wanting to get more creative with your outfits smart casual is the option for you. Upon doing some research I discovered an interesting article by Esquire who have curated a Guide to Smart Casual Style In 2020 


Business Casual Guidelines

Should a business casual outfit be your choice for formal or casual settings ensure you are following these principles

  • To dress in business casual attire your best bet will be a suit jacket and jeansNow that we have answered are jeans business casual with showing you the right pair of jeans to purchase, nothing compliments this look more than a blazer. The suit jacket and jeans are the perfect embodiment of this look
  • Outside of jeans you have the option to select chinos for a business casual outfit. This is also paired great with a shirt and blazer. The jacket is optional here
  • There is a range of men’s footwear to be selected for a business casual outfit such as derby shoes, oxford, leather chukka boots, loafers or brogues. The choice is yours.

Tip – If I’m unsure about the overall business casual look I’ve picked for myself I assess whether I could attend a job interview in the outfit. If yes than great, if no then make slight adjustments.


Final Words

We hope that our guide on are jeans business casual has now been made clearer. The video, table comparison and information should be enough for you to pick the right denim according to the occasion and environment.

If there’s a few things we want you to remember it’s that your business casual jeans should fit well and by well we mean slim fitted, they should be darker tones and they should be hemmed properly (No breaks, your jeans should fall perfectly onto the shoe)


How do you wear your business casual jeans? Let us know in the comments


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