Are skirts business casual? Your boss will love you!


Choosing the right thing to wear in an office can be critical, but how do you know what the right thing is? It isn’t always easy to guess, and getting it wrong can result in embarrassment or even professional backlash.

A lot of skirts would be considered business casual, although they do need to be reasonably “quiet,” without bold patterns or bright colors. They should generally be paired with other smart clothing, such as a business-like jacket.

In this article, we’re going to explore what kinds of skirts you can wear to work and how to ensure you always look professional.

Are Skirts Business Casual?

Many skirts would count as business casual, although this does depend to some degree on the cut, the pattern, and the color. The louder a skirt is, the less likely it is to be appropriate in a business context. You should therefore select your skirt with care.

There are a few things that affect whether a skirt would be seen as business casual, or just casual. These include:

  • What kind of material it is made from: business casual skirts should be made of high quality material, like wool or suit material. Silk would be considered very formal in most cases.
  • The hemline: to be business casual, the skirt should be around knee-length. Shorter or a lot longer will often be seen as casual, and not suitable for work.
  • The style: a skirt should be reasonably modest and simple. You could choose an A-line or just a standard style, without any splits, material changes, or fancy edging.
  • The color: bright colors will always come across as casual, not business casual. You should avoid all bright colors, especially neon colors.
  • The pattern: loud, busy patterns are often inappropriate for work. A skirt should have a quiet pattern or be plain all over. Do not choose skirts with busy prints or writing on them, as text is particularly unsuitable in a work environment.

A skirt that follows the above rules will generally be suitable for business casual environments, although it depends somewhat on the environment and how far the skirt pushes these rules.

Is It Appropriate To Wear Skirts To Work?

It is generally considered appropriate to wear formal or business casual skirts to work. Which is necessary depends on the environment that you operate in; some office environments might demand a formal skirt, but many are happy with business casual.

It’s a good idea to look at what other people in your office are wearing from day to day, because this will give you some sense of what is appropriate. You should also think about the rest of your outfit, because this can make a big difference to how your skirt appears.

Pairing a more casual skirt with a formal, tailored jacket is a great way to make it business casual, although you should be cautious about pushing this rule too far.

Is Skirt Considered Formal Wear?

A skirt can be considered formal wear if it is made of luxurious material and it is subdued; bright and bold skirts will not be considered formal wear no matter how nicely made they are. If you need to dress formally, choose a skirt that is tulle or silk, or possibly suit material.

Make sure the skirt is long enough and pair it with a plain blouse or tailored jacket, rather than a t-shirt or turtle-neck. This should ensure that the skirt is categorized as formal wear. Many skirts are not classed as formal wear, but with the correct pairings, they can be toned up.

You should think about what you are wearing on your feet and legs, as well as your top. Make sure that these are formal enough to suit the aesthetic you are aiming for, and your skirt should be fine.

Are Pencil Skirts Professional?

Pencil skirts are generally considered ultra professional, as long as they are in muted colors. They tend to be plain and simple, and they are formal enough that you can use less formal clothing in the rest of your outfit. Indeed, you should if you are aiming for business casual, rather than business formal.

A pencil skirt can be paired with a t-shirt, ankle boots, and a light jacket for most work situations. You may wish to cover your legs, but it might be okay to leave them exposed, depending on the office.

Make sure your pencil skirt is made of a stretchy, non-crease material so that it remains professional-looking throughout the work day, and choose one that is comfortable.

Are Skirts Smart Casual?

A skirt certainly can be smart casual, but you need to pair it with the right clothes, and opt for a subtle skirt that is not too short. Again, aim for around knee-length or a touch higher, and make sure some elements of your outfit are smart and professional. You can then pair these with some more casual elements to complete the look.

A smart casual skirt could be a formal or semi-formal skirt, worn with a t-shirt or a bright sweater that would normally be too bright for a business setting. A blouse with an unusual pattern or a few colorful accessories can also tone down the skirt’s formality and make it more casual, so almost any skirt can be smart casual.

Can I Wear A Midi Skirt To Work?

You can usually wear a midi skirt to work, as this length is considered appropriately long for a business context. Midi skirts tend to finish a little way below the knee, often around mid-calf, and they are generally the longest sort of skirt you might wear in a work environment. Make sure you are avoiding any that have splits that go above the knee.

If you are in doubt, look at what other women in your office wear, or find out what the dress code suggests. In most cases, businesses will offer guidelines about what kinds of skirts are considered appropriate, and this should help you determine what to wear.

Remember too that the cut, pattern, color, and material all make a difference in whether the skirt is appropriate; it isn’t just about the length.

Stick to the above rules and make sure the skirt is not too loud, and does not have gashes or distressed areas. Opt for simple, neutral colors and nice fabrics, especially if your workplace leans toward formal wear.

How Long Do Skirts Have To Be For Business Casual?

For business casual, a skirt can finish a little above the knee, but it should not leave any part of your body uncomfortably exposed when you sit down, and you shouldn’t need to constantly rearrange it as you get seated and comfortable. If you do need to, the skirt is too short and should be avoided.

In most cases, a skirt could finish an inch or so above your knee, especially if you are pairing it with pantyhose (although these do not make much impact on the acceptable length). Shorter than this will be considered inappropriate in pretty much every environment.

Different women can often get away with different length skirts, but as a general rule, aim for around knee length, or your skirt is likely to be considered a bit too short. If you pair it with a conservative blouse or jacket, you may be able to wear a slightly shorter skirt than if your blouse is low-cut or otherwise leaning toward sexy.

Can You Wear A Skirt For Business Professional?

In a business professional environment, a skirt should be at least to your knees, or possibly longer, but should not be ankle length. Skirts that finish above the knee are generally considered too short for business professional and should therefore be avoided, even if they are made of nice material and paired with other smart clothing.

A lot of business professionals wear skirts that finish just below the knee, as these create a nice shape and are considered more “modest” and appropriate for this sort of setting. Remember that the rules about loud prints and busy patterns apply even more in a business professional context, and you need to avoid anything too distracting.

Is A Skirt Considered Casual?

This depends very heavily on the skirt. Many skirts are considered casual, and skirts that are short, bright, or loud are generally categorized as “not formal.” However, a skirt can also complete a professional, polished look while maintaining some femininity, and lots of top executives wear them.

What you wear with the skirt makes a big difference to your overall aesthetic, so remember to use other parts of your outfit to dress up or down. A t-shirt can make a formal skirt business casual, while a silk blouse or tailored jacket can turn a wool skirt into a polished outfit.


Skirts are often considered business casual, although they need to be of a suitable length and have a muted appearance in order to work well. You can pair more formal business skirts with a t-shirt or turtle-neck to tone them down to casual if you like.