By Rowayda Kawji
So, you just graduated and are interviewing for jobs and your new career! Congratulations! Or, maybe you’re returning to work after some time off and need to know what to wear for interviews or in your new job. Also congratulations! Figuring out the difference between “business casual” and “business professional” or what attire may be too casual for the office is difficult enough. Having to determine what qualifies as workwear and is also hijab appropriate is even harder.
Luckily, we’ve put together a cheat sheet that breaks down what these dress codes are and will help you make sure you’re looking good for interviews and abiding by your work dress code as well as your modesty!
Image source: @hautehijab
Starting from the top, business formal attire can apply to a variety of jobs and is often required for formal work events. Business formal is a more elevated level of dress than professional attire. Think structured skirt suits or dresses paired with blouses or scarves in elegant, more classically formal fabrics such as satin and silk. For a hijabi-friendly business formal look, tuck a satin or silk blouse into a structured skirt and pair with a matching blazer. Alternatively, wear a structured or streamlined long dress with a blazer and pair either look with one of our satin or silk hijabs to complete the elevated look. Be sure to stick to neutrals like navy, black, white, gray, and beige (with maybe a pop of color in your hijab) to keep things all-business.
(Pro-tip: If you’re prepping for an interview, do a little research to see what people dress like at the place you are interviewing and then mimic that - but more elevated. It’s always better to be a bit over- than under-dressed.)
Image source: @hautehijab and @withloveleena
If you love a good power suit as much as we do, you’ll love dressing in a business professional dress code. Business professional is a bit less “dress to impress” than business formal but is just as serious. Invest in modest suits with the bottoms that make you feel most comfortable: wide leg trousers, tuxedo trousers, structured skirts or a mix of all three. Be sure to also add to your collection of high-quality blouses.
Start with a few crisp, white shirts that will pair with everything. Chiffon blouses are also beautiful under suits, as they look elegant but are still comfortable to wear. Pair a chiffon hijab with a chiffon blouse to create a cohesive look. Just like business formal, you will want to stick to a relatively neutral color pallet.
Image source: @summeralbarcha and @sincerelymaryam
Most workplaces have a business casual dress code, which is awesome because business casual is much more lenient than professional and formal. Business casual means blazers and neutral colors are not required and that you can bring more of your personal style and your favorite trends into your work wardrobe. The essentials of a business casual modest wardrobe are lots of long sleeve blouses, sweaters, smart cardigans, trousers and skirts.
Feel free to play with color and subtle patterns. A nice statement coat over your more casual ensemble can really pull the look together. More comfortable hijab fabrics such as viscose and modal are the perfect finishing accessory for a modest business casual outfit.
Small Business Casual (or Just Casual)
Image source: @fatima.b.ibrahim and @saimascorner
For a lot of us, our first job is often at a small business. Or, whether its a small business or not, our place of work may be all about the casual look. It is sometimes difficult to decode the casual dress code (you don't want to make the mistake of being too casual), but as a general rule of thumb the main objective is to look put-together, comfortable and portray a positive image of yourself and the business.
Casual long sleeve tops and well-tailored bottoms along with heels or flats are the perfect base for a modest small business casual outfit. Even sleek sneakers can sometimes make the cut! Cardigans, sweaters, boots and jewelry in your color or print preference can be added to add your style to your outfit. Unlike the other dress codes, well-fitting jeans are appropriate for most small business and casual workplaces. However, we recommend steering clear of leisure pants, including yoga pants.
Wear whatever hijab you feel comfortable and presentable in - whether that's a viscose, modal, chiffon, jersey, georgette - do what works for you and looks good on you!
When dressing for work, it is important to remember that what you wear portrays an image not only about you but also about the entity you work for. It is essential to understand the dress code of your workplace and interpret it in a way that fits your boundaries of modesty so that you feel comfortable and confident at work. Dressing modestly is definitely a learning curve, but insha'Allah this cheat sheet will help you get started!
How do you like to dress for work? Share your favorite outfits or looks below!