Today’s post has been requested by my friend Steph, who’s in need of Business Casual styling tips!
When it’s time to get down to business, there is nothing I hate more than typical, boring, “office appropriate” attire. Although business dress sometimes receives a bad reputation for appearing this way, dressing well for a professional setting doesn’t mean you have to let go of your own personal style. As with any new trend or style you adopt, it simply takes experimentation to discover what works and what doesn’t.
I’m not a business suit type of girl, and neither is Steph – we both enjoy wearing skirts and dresses and above all, need comfort. From stylishly-sophisticated dresses and pencil skirts to classic blazers and button-downs, I’ve put together timelessly chic looks that won’t make you feel like you need to completely compromise your style just to be taken seriously in the boardroom . By wearing these pieces in bright hues, bold prints, smart cuts and luxe fabrics, you can instantly boost your choices way beyond any drab stereotype of work attire.
I’ve narrowed down business casual into three categories based on area of your working field: Business/Corporate, Media/Start-Up, and Creative/Freelance.
If your daily commute requires a 9-to-5 day surrounded by true working professionals, chances are you have some stringent office style rules to follow. You may think that expressing your style of dress should take a backseat to looking polished and businesslike, but the look I’ve provided above is a hybrid that satisfies your fashion cravings without drawing an unwanted evil-eye from your boss. A high-waisted belted pencil skirt like the one above not only takes one step away from you (with the addition of the belt) but it instantly embodies professional. Instead of opting for an ordinary black or white button-down, tuck in a brightly-pigmented one instead. Feel free to add a blazer on top as well for a cleaner look. Finish off the look with sleek accessories, a carry-all handbag and comfortable, yet stylish, pumps.
Totebag: River Island; Pumps: Forever21; Tights: My Theresa
You’re not cubicle-bound, but you’re not rolling up to work in jeans and sandals, either. Working in the start-up world requires a high level of hustle but allows for a little more style leniency. Thankfully, workplace fashion goes far beyond pantsuits and briefcases, so there’s no reason to turn your mornings into a boring wardrobe makeover. For this type of work force, try separates like this chic belted dress in a blue, jewel-tone. I’m all about comfort when working long hours, so I would rather wear pieces that can do some of the styling for me, like the attached belt on this dress. To amp up the look even more, include a pair of textured tights, carry a bright bag and wear matching jewelry.
You may be living the dream of being your own boss (or pretending to be), but you need to look the part of the professional and innovative hustle-and-bustle person you are. Even more important, you want to express yourself and your creativity to potential clients, and what better way than through your work attire? I mentioned that I’m not a pant-suit type of girl, but I love a good pair of sleek, black pants – whether in denim or trouser form (although you can easily swap the piece for a basic knit skirt). One of the easiest way to dress professionally with the utmost comfort and casualty is by wearing a classic blazer. Depending on your mood, choose either a bright colored blazer paired with a solid top underneath or a printed top underneath a neutral blazer.
Are you in the working world where you’re required to dress professionally? I work at Betsey Johnson where we don’t exactly have a typical definition of dressing “professionally”! What is your unique idea of dressing business casual? Let me know with a comment!