Business Casual Attire Women Philippines:

First impressions last.” Back in the good old days when I was a corporate employee, I never gave much thought to this line as a professional. But anyone that has traversed the professional domain knows that leaving a good impression is a factor in one’s success. What better way to leave a positive impression than dressing for the occasion?

This reality has forced femalehood to adopt a new in-between level of formality – business casual attire for women in the Philippines! So in this guide, we’ll help you master this style elegantly so you can look your best while feeling your best. We’ll answer the following:

  • What is the Business Casual Dress Code in the Philippines?
  • Business Casual Attire Advice for Women Philippines (what to wear and what not to wear)
  • How to Dress Business Casual Attire for Video Meetings
  • How to Dress Business Casual Attire for Interviews (In-person)
  • How to Dress Business Casual Attire for New Jobs
  • How to Keep Corporate Attire Comfortable Philippines

1. What is the Business Casual Dress Code in the Philippines?

The best way to describe the business casual dress code in the Philippines is to compare it with its closest sibling. To be fair, there is no universal definition of business casual a.k.a. Casual professional. That’s why many Filipinas are still confused between business casual and business formal, so let us compare them head-on.

Business formal means exactly how the way it sounds. How do you imagine yourself in your most dapper attire? Look at it this way: business formal is the office counterpart of black-tie wedding dress codes. In other words, looking polished and professional is an understatement to pull off this look. Traditionally, business formal is associated with dark pants, skirt suits, crisp button-down suits, pantyhose, formal blouses, heels, and pumps. Remember Jan Levinson from The Office? That’s what business formal looks like! (P.S. Don’t tell me you don’t watch that show. If not, you should.)

Business casual, on the other hand, is a more relaxed business formal aesthetic that still maintains an attire suitable for an office setting. With business casual, you step down from being too formal as the case with three-piece suits while maintaining sophistication. Think of business casual as breaking down traditional business formal attire by mixing in casual elements for comfort. For example, If you’re wearing a double-breasted blazer (formal) and an elegant shirt underneath (formal), mix it up by wearing chinos (casual) and some classy Oxfords (formal/casual). Getting the hang of it? Don’t worry, below we’ll provide some more useful tips for women’s business casual attire here in the Philippines.

2. Business Casual Attire Advice for Women Philippines

Fashion is fluid, which means there are so many nuances that arise when we talk about attires like business casual attire for women in the Philippines. We understand, and that’s why we made this guide. We feel it would be best to explain business casual attire for women in the Philippines in binaries. Ones and zeros. Black and white. 

What to wear

Everything that falls into the category of business formal can still be considered business casual. The key here is the “combination”. You want to water down the formality with something comfortable and chic. The most common garments for business casual are:

  • Slacks
  • Skirts (knee-length, pencil-cut) 
  • Jackets
  • Turtlenecks
  • Elegant sleeveless shirts
  • Blouse
  • Casual dresses
  • Hosiery
  • Sweaters
  • Shoes (closed-toe, pumps, stilettos, flats, closed-kitten heels, open-toe heels, peep-toe shoes)

These are general elements you may use for business casual attire for women in the Philippines. To complete the look, complement the formal end with something more casual. 

What NOT to wear

Remember that the “business” part of business casual holds more weight. While you’re aiming for sophisticated comfort, you must never forego the part of being clean, pressed, and properly fitted. For the things not to wear, ask yourself what types of clothing you don’t want your boss to see you in. That will give you a general idea. A few examples include:

  • Any see-through clothing
  • Yoga pants and leggings
  • Ripped jeans
  • Cold-shoulder tops
  • Anything that’s too tight, short, baggy, or revealing
  • Too much animal print 
  • Pajamas (duh)
  • Crocs
  • Anything Gym wear
  • Anything bar hopping or clubbing attire (obviously)
  • Stained clothes
  • Clothes covered with sequins or sparkles
  • Street wear (baggy jeans, beanies, oversized tees)
  • Sneakers (Jordans, AF1s, New Balances, Adidas)

Business casual combinations for Filipinas

Here are some combinations you may want to consider for showcasing business casual attire for women in the Philippines:

  1. Blazer + Casual shirt + Jeans or chinos + Stiletto or loafers or ankle boots or Oxfords
  2. Casual dress + Linen blazer or trench coat or chunky sweater or cardigan + Stiletto
  3. Elegant formal shirts + Sweater or trench coat + Dark jeans or chinos + loafers
  4. Slacks + Formal shirts + Trench coat or Casual tweed blazer
  5. Casual long-sleeved shirt + Formal pencil skirt + Heels or loafers or ballerinas
  6. Three-piece suit in bright pastel colors + Leather sneakers (for example: Adidas Stan Smiths) or Casual brogues or Chelsea boots

3. How to Dress Business Casual Attire For Women Philippines?

To make things clear, I stand around 5’9″. Statuesque women like me would know how much of a pain it is to search for clothing that would fit like a glove without us exposing too much skin. So most (if not all) of the examples I picked below cater to those who have a tall physique.

How to Dress Business Casual Attire for Video Meetings

What good is a guide if there are no business casual clothing recommendations to help readers out? If you’re wondering what I wear for video conferences or virtual speaking engagements, I’ll let you in on my fashion world. Check the products below:

  1. V-neck flower print chiffon half-flare sleeve blouse shirts

Chiffon blouse tread the see-through route which is normally unadvisable for office settings. But since we are talking about digital engagements, chiffon blouses are a great go-to for their simple yet elegant and comfy materials. This Korean-style chiffon blouse is one of my go-to attires for online meetings. The half-flare sleeve provides tons of arm movements which is important when using computers or for animated arm movements.

  1. Heavily printed chiffon blouse shirts

Like the previous chiffon blouse, this is simply a heavily printed variant of the same quality. If you are looking to wear plain trousers or simple pencil skirts, using printed blouse adds an extra layer of art to an otherwise plain combination. 

  1. Lauren square neck blouse

This neck blouse is great for both online and in-person meetings. But there’s a caveat: When you’re going for a tight shirt like this, it is best to complement it with another outer garment especially in office setups. You could use a trench coat, a leather jacket or a large sweater to keep things elegant. Otherwise, using the neck blouse in itself for meetings is okay.

  1. V-neck of different shades

You can never go wrong with a v-neck blouse as it is the cornerstone of every businesswoman. If it’s a bit see-through, you can wear them when combined with another layer of garment.

How to Dress Business Casual Attire for Interviews (In-person)

  1. Long sleeve, no button blazer

You want to put your best foot forward when it comes to interviews. Wearing blazers show personality and strength, qualities that companies are looking for in women leaders. This chic blazer happens to embody that.

Guide to Business Casual Attire Women (w/ example) Philippines
  1. Plus-sized office blouse

Whether a skirt or some slacks, this plus-sized blouse is a perfect go-to for interviews. Just make sure to complement it with some classy footwear like stiletto or closed-kitten heels.

Guide to Business Casual Attire Women (w/ example) Philippines
  1. Pants and blazer combinations

If you can wear a blazer with a matching trouser, then why not? Wear something casual underneath like a blouse and complete the look with some Oxfords or brogues.

  1. Korean-style straight cigarette pants

Tight trousers have no place in offices. You want to be professional and not too revealing. These cigarette straight pants are a perfect pair for any casual torso. Open-toe heels make a great complementary piece to this type of pants.

Guide to Business Casual Attire Women  Philippines

How to Dress Business Casual Attire for New Jobs

  1. Casual summer dress

Summer dresses are my favorite! They are good but they are seasonal appropriate, hence the name. When you go for a casual summer dress look, make sure to do it sparingly. This dress may be classy, but it is still more casual than formal. You want everything else in your look to be as formal as possible. That means heels or a formal bag.

Guide to Business Casual Attire Women  Philippines
  1. Casual plain jumpsuit

Jumpsuits are great, but like summer dresses, to be used sparingly in office setups. They normally work best with sneakers, but I recommend, open-toe heels or brogues for a more professional look. 

  1. Satin silk office blouse

You can never go wrong with satin or silk office blouses. Pair them with your favorite formal trousers or pencil skirt, and complete the look with a pair of heels.

  1. Half sleeve chiffon shirt

If you have a more casual and easy-going office, half sleeve chiffon shirts are a great go-to. They are comfy and professional. Just wear something over them like a jacket or trench coat.

How to Keep Corporate Attire Comfortable Philippines

The thing about business casual is that they are meant to be comfortable, unlike their business formal counterpart. To keep your attire comfortable, of course consider the weather conditions in the country. You certainly don’t want to wear heels on a rainy day when boots could work. Determine what article of clothing is most uncomfy for you and swap that with a more casual yet professional garment. Keep the rest of your clothes formal.

Let’s take a look at this casual striped blouse (see image above) which is also worn by Liza Soberano. Pair that with washed jeans and you have yourself a streetwear, something you shouldn’t wear in the office. However, this pair of candy pants (see image below) and some open-toe heels could work with it for a business casual get-up.

Where to Find Business Attire Stores in the Philippines

There are many shops where you could find the best business casual attires. Here are some of the places I visit!

  • Shopee – one of the Philippines’ most visited e-commerce platform. Use my referral code REF-AME866 to get ₱50 off your first purchase)
  • Lazada– pretty much the same as Shopee
  • Shein – one of my favorites as their fashion line is great for church day! Sign up using my unique link and get 10% discount on your first purchase
  • Zalora – they have an ever-expanding line-up of top local and international brands
  • H&M– they have stores in almost every mall in the metro.

There are many instagram shops too like AMU, Unif0rm, Renegade Folk, and Ta LouLou you could check out. So ladies! Remember that Business casual is the new formal, so step up your fashion and dominate the scene, queen!

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A Guide to Business Casual Attire Women Philippines

By Ameena Rey-Franc

Recognized as one of the Top Finance Blogs in the PH. Ameena Rey-Franc (founder of TTP) is a former Banker and BS Accountancy graduate turned Blogger, Keynote Speaker, and entrepreneur. Currently an RFP delegate, she is also the Author of a book about Financial Resilience and has held seminars for reputable companies like GrabFoodPH, Pru Life UK, VISA, JPMorgan Chase& Co., Paypal, Fundline, Moneymax, and many more. The Thrifty Pinay's mission is to empower women to LEARN, EARN, and be FINANCIALLY-INDEPENDENT no matter what life stage they are in.