Modern Workwear: Business Casual

Today’s business casual attire for women is sophisticated, relaxed, and professional. Dress to impress at your workplace with these tips on building a stylish yet casual business wardrobe.

Fashion: What is Business Casual Clothing? Shop Business Attire for Women

Why You Should Always Dress to Impress at Work

Prospective and current employers and colleagues may judge you negatively if you fail to dress appropriately; if you don’t put effort into your personal appearance, why should they think you’ll invest energy into excelling at work? Whether you’re looking for work or even if you’ve been employed at the same place of work for quite some time, always strive to make the best, most professional impression to get the job, gain a promotion, or land an account.

What is Business Casual Attire?

In a professional situation you want people to focus less on your outfit and more on you and your valuable ideas. The idea is to dress in a simple, classic manner without too many distracting elements. Your business casual working wardrobe should consist of streamlined, versatile pieces that can be easily mixed and matched (to maximize your outfits), and not be too busy, trendy, or revealing. This is not the place for low-cut, see-through, or cleavage-baring tops, skin tight clothing, mini skirts, and ultra busy patterns or prints.

Jeans might also be a no-no. Depending on your office,trouser cut, dark wash jeans may be acceptable when paired with more workplace-friendly pieces such as button-up shirts and structured jackets.

Find Out What Dress Code is Appropriate for Your Workplace

With the exception of more conservative offices of some professions such as lawyers, bankers, financial advisors, etc., a lot of modern work places have adopted a pretty unbuttoned dress code compared to businesses of generations past. However, business casual dress may not be formal enough to wear in some of the more conservative workplaces, or on a job interview — which might, for example, require that you wear a suit.

Always do your research before showing up under-dressed. And when it comes to attending business-related functions, even if not explicitly stated, business casual dress code typically applies to professional workshops, trade shows, meetings or networking events.

Casual Fridays?

Now, let’s set something straight: when used in the context of “Casual Fridays,” the word casual does not mean that it’s okay to wear pajamas, sweat pants or track suits, fitness gear, tatty shoes, running shoes, ball caps or skimpy clothes. Since today’s workplaces are already much more casual than they used to be, Casual Friday is really only meaningful in the remaining offices who still abide by a dress code of more formal attire. Many offices have done away with the idea of Casual Fridays altogether due to shockingly inappropriate outfits being worn to work.

How to Put Together a Smart Business Casual Wardrobe

Even though you want your boss, colleagues and clients to focus on your ideas more than your outfits, nobody wants to look or feel drab, wearing the same thing day after day. Here are a few tips to help you master the business casual look while maximizing the number of different outfits you can get from just a few basic staple garments:

  • Keep accessories simple and to a minimum in any one outfit; quality is better than quantity.
  • Wear trousers made of high quality fabrics in neutral tones.
  • Invest in a few lux cashmere twinsets or cardigan sweaters in brighter colors.
  • Get a couple of dark pencil skirts to combine with various tops, blouses and sweaters.
  • Dress up shirts or simple tops with smart fitted blazers.
  • To get the most out of mixing and matching, choose garments in solid colors or fine prints instead of large, bold patterns.
  • Purchase a suit and wear the jacket, pants or skirt as separates.
  • Use accessories like scarves, bags, shoes, brooches and other jewelry to add interesting detail to a simple outfit.
  • Add to your business casual wardrobe by shopping with your existing workwear garments and accessories in mind; this will cut down on repetition and maximize the number of new outfits you can make.
  1. Halogen Seamed Shirt & Pencil Skirt
    Get to work in this super versatile soft, cotton sateen pencil skirt, paired with a basic short-sleeved cotton-stretch shirt with flattering seams and a fabulous belt.
  2. Calvin Klein Cheston Woven Wool Blazer
    There is nothing more valuable to the modern woman’s workwear wardrobe than a smart, well-tailored blazer. This light-brown and while wool woven blazer is a go-to garment, adding polish and structure to everything you wear.
  3. Narciso Rodriguez Silk-Blend Knitted Sweater
    Add a little interest to your outfit with nautical stripes! This boat-neck silk-blend navy,cream and gray striped sweater is perfect on its own or layered under a jacket or cardigan sweater.
  4. Halogen Cardigan, Knit Bow Top & Tweed Pencil Skirt
    This bright, sunny colored cardigan sweater anchors a feminine, work-friendly look, and adds personality to the traditionally dark and neutral shades of workwear.
  5. Moschino Crinkled Silk-Blend Dress
    Workwear doesn’t have to be masculine! This berry pink Moschino silk-blend shift dress has a simple silhouette with ladylike appeal thanks to pleated shoulders and slight blouson sleeves, with a figure-flattering belt-cinched waist. Also great for layering under a structured jacket.
  6. Halogen Back Button Drape Neck Sweater
    This lightweight draped sweater with billowy dolman sleeves is an ideal match for structured pencil skirts or straight-legged trousers; buttons down the back add a little unexpected interest without being too flashy.
  7. Marni Cropped Straight-Leg Pants
    These tailored cropped pants are streamlined and ultra versatile, providing a classic foundation to casual office attire.