Are Capris Business Casual? 10 Tips for Men and Women

by jacky chou
Updated on

Capri pants are a great option for tweaking an uptight business dress code. However, not many people feel that they lean more towards the casual side and do not know how to match when dressing for a more official event. So, are capris business casual and how can one style them to make the best outfit?

How to Identify Capri Pants

How to Identify Capri Pants

Image Source:

The most obvious way to tell the difference between capri pants and other pants is where they end at the ankle. capri pants end above the ankle and are sometimes confused with crop pants. The main difference between capri pants and crop pants is that crop pants will reach the ankles while capri pants end at calf length.

There are 20+ different types of capris but the big question is, can you pull off a business casual look with capri pants?

Are Capris Business Casual?

How you style a look will often determine if it is business casual or not. People have pulled off crazy things that have somehow managed to work in business spaces. Therefore, Capri is an easy one to pull off in a corporate look.

Are Capris Business Casual?

Image Source:

You will be glad to know that you can achieve more than 20 looks with just one pair of pants. How can you use capri pants to get a business casual dress code?

Business Casual Capri Tips

Business Casual Capri Tips

Image Source:

Here, I will discuss tips on how to dress business casual with a pair of capri pants. Some tips apply to men, some to women, and others are general tips. Let’s enjoy styling with capri.

1) Naked Color Capri

If you are worried about the capri standing out too much, you can have one whose color is close to your skin tone. In most places, formal business attire should be decent but should not call too much attention to the point of distraction.

Naked Color Capri

Image Source:

While a pair of red pants will still do, sometimes you are in a down and low mood where you just want a day free of too much attention or interaction.

Getting a capri that matches your skin tone is not the easiest and you can have one made by a tailor to fit your style and tone.

Your skin tone is a neutral color, and neutral colors are one of the best ways to match capri pants with business casual attire.

2) Neutral Colored Capri

Neutral colors are the most common colors in the business world. You will hardly find anyone wearing shouty colors that will call attention to them. This logic applies perfectly to capri pants. Since capris already look a bit foreign in a business setting, having them in a very bright color will make them look even more out of place.

Neutral Colored Capri

Image Source:

A neutral pair of capri pants will give the other clothes a chance to play their role in your outfit. The secret of looking good is to ensure everything is working hand in hand without taking too much attention from every piece.

3) Capri and Shoes

Capri and Shoes

Image Source:

While I would like to exclusively talk about capris, that is not how dressing works. You can get a great pair of capri pants but if you wear the wrong pair of shoes, then you just have casual wear instead of business casual attire.

The difference between casual and business casual is sometimes very small and it is up to you to catch it.

Since capris are more or fewer ankle pants, you need to know what shoes to wear with ankle pants.

Here are some shoe types to get you started when wearing capri pants for business casual work environments.

a) Dress Shoes

Dress Shoes

Image Source:

I am not a big fan of dress shoes with capris but if those are all you have, go for it. Remember to keep the look simple and neutral as much as you can.

b) Oxford Shoes and Capri Pants

Oxfords work like magic because they can fit into a lot of situations. Oxfords work for both male and female capris. This style works especially well for ladies as you can keep an official look without looking too masculine (if you do not intend to look masculine).

Oxford Shoes and Capri Pants

Image Source:

Tan Oxfords are a vibe to combine with capris because they will work with almost all colors, especially neutral colors. A dark tan is the best option for me. Think of a color you can not wear with dark tan shoes. None comes to mind because there are endless colors to wear with tan shoes.

c) Heels with Capri Pants

If at all you needed to wear something bold and remain office-appropriate, you can go for a neutral pair of capri pants and bold heels. The heels can be red and still look great because capris give the heels space to stand out.

Heels with Capri Pants

Image Source:

Heels are a great option especially for business casual breakfast or brunch on a Saturday where you would need to look casual look while meaning business. If you were to choose between sneakers and heels in such a situation, go for heels.

Talking about sneakers;

d) Sneakers and Capri Pants

Matching sneakers with capri pants works for both men and women. If you have an office party, this is great to pull off such a look. White sneakers work best in these situations. The sneakers can be high-cut or low-cut and still work.

Sneakers and Capri Pants

Image Source:

Sneakers are great because you can have a simple look and add a coat on and still look great. Let us talk about when and when not to wear a coat.

e) Ballet Flats

Ballet Flats

Image Source:

Flats and capris are natural because flats work with pants, including wide-leg dress pants.

f) Loafers

Loafers are unbeaten when it comes to matching with capri pants. Loafers work naturally because they give a relaxed vibe with an office-appropriate look. Loafers can work for any gender and is great for weekends. Loafers are one of the most versatile shoes that you can wear with a three-piece suit or shorts.


Image Source:

You can wear loafers of any color. Black loafers work for most situations and would be my first choice.

4) Capri Pants and Coat

Capri Pants and Coat

Image Source:

Since your boss or employees are used to seeing you in a coat, you can still keep the look while keeping things casual. A coat works great with capris, especially if you have sneakers on. The coat will neutralize the capri look back to a somewhat official right before it gets too casual. Notice that if you are wearing oxfords, you do not have to bother with a coat.

If you are wearing a coat, what better time to add a pocket square?

5) Capri Pants and Pocket Square

 Capri Pants and Pocket Square

Image Source:

Just like a lady can use heels to look bold in capri pants, a guy can use a pocket square to look bold in capri pants. Pocket squares work great especially if you are a couple and you want to match outfits without looking too obvious. A pocket square will look great with her heels.

6) Capri Pants and a Cardigan

Capri Pants and a Cardigan

Image Source:

Cropped pants will always look great with a cardigan. If you have to wear capris at an evening party, it might get cold and when it does, you do not want to look out of place with an awkward sweater.

7) Capri Pants and T-Shirts

Capri pants and T-shirts are my favorite look because they are easy to pull off. All you have to do after is wear a coat over it. This is a great choice if you have to go to work o a Saturday and still have plans later. Imagine catching a drink with your friends on a Saturday or a casual Friday in full work clothes.

Capri Pants and T-Shirts

Image Source:

Since capris are casual pants, you will fit right in.

8) Baggy or Not-Baggy Top with Capris?

Both can work. If it is a cold day, you can wear a baggy cardigan and still look great with capris.

Baggy or Not-Baggy Top with Capris?t

Image Source:

For the slimmer option, capris will always look great with a slim top or coat. Whether you are going for a baggy option or not, how you play around with it matters most.

9) Accessories and Capris

In most jobs, you will find a company’s dress code. However, capris can help you maximize your boundaries when combining accessories with a business casual look. With capris, you can include your favorite bag or watch and get away with it as it will look natural on you.

Accessories and Capris

Image Source:

If you have over-the-top accessories with a normal business outfit, it will be noticed sooner and that is where the focus will be. capris take away some of that attention from your accessories.

10) Great Hair and Capris

Great Hair and Capris

Image Source:

Since we are in a business casual environment, you can experiment with different hairstyles while staying sharp. If you are a guy, a faded haircut will look great as the pants seem to be fading too.

Things to Avoid When wearing Capris

While capris are great, it is good to remember that you are in a business setting and you still need to have office attire. It would be too much work to wear a full-on suit, hence the casual choice. Remember, you are still a business professional, and here are a few things to avoid to stay appropriate.

  • Strappy sandals
  • Printed pants
  • Bright colors on capris
  • See-through pants
  • Tank tops with capri pants
  • Spaghetti top
  • Knee-length pants
  • Avoid sandals
  • Avoid cropped jeans
  • Halter tops
  • Flip flops
  • Cropped cargo pants
  • Flat sandals

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Image Source:

A casual workplace is still a workplace and the more intentional you are about dressing appropriately, the better and more professional your interactions will be in workspaces. Dressing up well is a currency you can use when making strong connections (which is social currency). When you show up to a date, what is the first thing your date looks at? How you dress. Business interactions are similar to dates. Dress well.

Photo of author

About the author

jacky chou


HayFarmGuy - Get Info About Farm Animals in Your Inbox

Leave a Comment