Dressing the part is important whether you’re headed to the office for the first time or you’re a seasoned professional. Not only do you want to look good for your boss and clients, but you also want to feel confident in what you’re wearing.
It doesn’t have to be a full-on power suit to make an impact, though. Sometimes the tiniest details can make the biggest difference. Tackling your wardrobe one item at a time is a great way to ease into a more polished look. Let’s do a deep dive into the corporate world of fashion and explore some business casual work outfit ideas that are sure to make you look and feel your best.
What Exactly Is Business Casual?
Depending on your industry, the definition of business casual can vary pretty widely. For some people, it might mean a blazer and slacks or a dress with heels while others might interpret it as meaning chinos and a nice shirt.
The simplest way to think of it is a cross between formal and casual wear. You want to look professional, well-put-together, and like you take your job seriously but you also don’t want to look shaggy or like you’re trying too hard.
It can be difficult to strike that balance, as anyone who’s ever stood in front of their closet trying to figure out what to wear to work can attest to. Trying on outfit after outfit, shirt after shirt, can be frustrating and make getting dressed in the morning a real chore.
One way to make it easier is to have a few key items in your closet that you know you can always rely on. Then, all you have to do is mix and match those items to create different looks and assemble an outfit that’s both stylish and appropriate for the office.
A classic white button-down shirt is a staple in any woman’s wardrobe and for good reason. It’s an incredibly versatile piece that can accompany almost every bottom you own. Work shirts for women’s comfort and style are important, so choose a shirt that’s made of breathable fabric with a little bit of stretch.
Look for a shirt that has a tailored fit but isn’t too fitted. You want it to be loose enough to tuck into your pants or skirt but not so baggy that it looks sloppy. And, make sure the buttons are sewn on securely. There’s nothing worse than having a button pop off in the middle of a meeting or presentation.
You can wear it buttoned up with a pencil skirt and heels for a more traditional look, with its edges peeking out from underneath a sweater or blazer for a preppy vibe, or even on its own with a pair of ripped jeans and sneakers for a more relaxed feel.
A well-fitting white shirt will make you look pulled together no matter how you style it and can easily take you from the office to after-work drinks. Work shirts for women’s comfort are ideal for long days spent sitting at a desk or standing on your feet.
Whether you prefer slacks, trousers, or cigarette pants, fitted trousers are a must in any business casual wardrobe. They’re comfortable, flattering, and can be paired with just about anything.
When choosing a pair of pants, look for a style that’s tailored to your body type. If you have a pear-shaped figure, for example, look for pants with a higher waist and wide-leg silhouette. This will help balance out your hips and make your legs look longer.
If you’re petite, look for cropped or ankle-length pants. This will help elongate your legs and make you appear taller. And, if you have an hourglass figure, choose pants with a bit of stretch that hug your curves without being too tight.
If you aren’t too keen on pairing your women’s work shirts with fitted pants, then a business skirt is another excellent option. Skirts are a great way to show off your legs and can be just as versatile as any other bottom.
When choosing a skirt, the most important thing to keep in mind is the hemline. You want it to be long enough that it hits at or just below the knee. Anything shorter than that is too casual for the office.
As for the silhouette, there are a few different options. A-line skirts are always a good choice as they’re flattering on all body types. If you want something a bit more fitted, choose a pencil skirt with a bit of stretch. This will help it hug your curves without being too tight.
And, if you’re looking for a skirt with a bit more movement, go for a flared or pleated skirt. Be careful not to choose a skirt that’s too flared, though. You don’t want it to be so wide that it shows off your underwear when you sit down.
Blazers and Cardigans
A blazer or cardigan is the perfect way to complete any business casual look. For starters, they add an extra layer of warmth, which is always appreciated in a chilly office. But more importantly, they pull your entire outfit together and give you a polished look.
You should always look for something that fits well. The hem should hit at your hipbone or just below and the sleeves should reach your wrist. You don’t want it to be too tight or too loose, as that will interfere with the professional look you’re going for.
And, when choosing a colour, it’s best to stick to neutral shades like black, navy, grey, or beige. These hues will go with just about anything and won’t compete with the other pieces in your outfit.