20 Business Casual Outfits for Women [Ideas & Inspiration]
Women Business Casual Outfit Essentials
At times getting dressed for work can be very challenging. What if when you woke up every morning and you didn’t have to worry about figuring out what you’re going to wear to work because you already have a lot of cute work outfits in your closet!
What if you already know what looked good together and you loved everything in your closet! That’s the goal of this business casual guide! I’ve listed 17 business attire essentials that you can mix and match to create a variety of stylish work outfits!
From this list, I created the 20 work outfits in this women’s business casual work outfit guide. But there are so many more outfit combinations that you can create from just these 17 work essentials! I created 20 work outfits as an example of the possibilities!
17 Piece Women Business Casual Essentials Checklist
- V-Neck Pullover Sweater
- Printed Button Down
- Solid Button Down
- Brightly Colored or Printed Long Sleeve
- Sleeveless Shell (V-Neck or High Collar)
- Navy Trousers or Black Trousers
- Light or Dark Gray Trousers
- Solid Colored or Printed Trousers
- Printed or Solid Pencil Skirt
- Neutral (A-Line) Skirt
- Flare Dress
- Sheath Dress
- Navy Blazer or Black Blazer
- Fashion Jacket
- Essential Carryall (Work Tote)
- Thin Scarf
- Dark Leggings
- Skinny Belt
20 Work Outfits for Your Inspiration!
Work Outfit 1: CARDIGAN + SHELL TOP + A-LINE SKIRT + PUMPS
Shop Outfit 1
Because these work outfits are for fall and winter, I’m wearing darker colors, more substantial fabrics, with vibrant accessories.
For Spring and Summer, I’d swap my sweater skirt for a lighter fabric and brighter color. The same goes for the cardigan and some of my trousers.
For the first outfit, I’m wearing an A-line skirt, cardigan, shell top, and pumps. There are a couple of things I did with this outfit to make it look balanced and fun for the office.
First off, I incorporated different fabrics and textures. You can’t tell in the photo, but the top is a light shiny silk fabric with little structure. The skirt is a thicker almost sweater-like fabric, thick, heavy, and very structured. A great contrast to the top.
Lastly, I’m wearing black camel hair pumps. Which is an entirely different texture from the top half of the outfit. These different fabrics and textures are what bring interest to a look and keep it from looking too “office-y.”
I added a pair of emerald stud earrings that match the shell top and added one ring. For business casual attire wear jewelry that shows your personality but is not too over-the-top.
The main item of interest in this work outfit is, of course, the top! If you’re going to wear a printed top make sure that the print or pattern is proportional to your figure. This shell top has a tiny pattern on it, and it goes perfectly with my petite figure. If I were to wear a top with a very large print, it could overwhelm me and create the opposite effect I’m going for. The vice-versa is true as well. If you have a larger frame look for a top with a larger pattern. Proportion is key.
One of the simplest ways to add large amounts of color to an office outfit is with tops and blouses. Your skirts, pants, and jackets can be in neutrals since you wear them more often, but your tops can be the pop of color. Tops are also much more affordable to purchase every year or season.
For example, you can wear the same black, navy, or gray trousers throughout the year but purchase new tops according to the season. This not only saves you money but you get to incorporate different colors and prints that go with the season.
Work Outfit 2: SOLID BUTTON UP + TROUSERS + THIN SCARF + PUMPS
Shop Outfit 2
For this cute work outfit, I did some color coordinating with blue. I’m wearing a light blue button-down with dark blue pants, blue heels, and a violet scarf. The reason these colors look so nice in one outfit is that they are all next to each other on the color wheel. Even the hint of green in the heels. Next time you want to pair colors together look at a color wheel and consider where they are in relation to each other. Are they next to each other, across from each other or do they form a triangle?
You can do this with black, gray, burgundy, or forest green. The color you select depends on the color that looks best on you.
A vibrant scarf is a great and simple way to add color to your office attire. Two things to note about wearing a scarf with your office outfit. Make sure the fabric is on the thinner side (it could even be silk). You don’t want to wear a chunky knit scarf all day, you could get hot, and it gets in the way. Also, make sure it’s also thin regarding width. You’re looking for an oblong scarf, not a square scarf. With a long rectangle/oblong scarf, you’re able to wrap it around your neck (like I did in this outfit) and the scarf will not take over your outfit or get in the way. It’s also not too bulky or too warm for an office environment.
Work Outfit 3: CARDIGAN + SHEATH DRESS + PUMPS
Shop Outfit 3
When wearing professional dresses or skirts for the office, you can wear tights with them. The best options to wear nude or black tights, it’s also the easiest.
There are three main categories of darkness in tights; light, opaque, and ultimate opaque. The style you select is a personal preference, but there are a few things you should consider before purchasing a pair. Look for tights that have an extra-wide waistband, so they smooth the tummy, hips, thighs, and rear.
The darker the tights, the taller, longer, and leaner you’ll appear, especially when paired with black pumps. The black pumps and black tights create one continuous line which can make you appear taller.
If you want to wear a necklace with a dress or blouse with a high neckline, make sure the necklace goes beyond the neckline. The necklace I’m wearing in this outfit is a little longer so, it doesn’t get lost in the dress, it stands out. A long necklace would also look great with this type of neckline.
Because this outfit is more minimalistic, I added a bold necklace, stud earrings, and one large ring to make it more interesting. This not only shows my personality but brings some shine to this professional outfit. Make sure you wear accessories that not only fit the style of the outfit but show your character as well but don’t go overboard either.
Work Outfit 4: PATTERNED BUTTON DOWN + GRAY TROUSERS + SKINNY BELT + PUMPS
Shop Outfit 4
You can have a lot of fun with neutral professional outfits. Playing with different shades and hues of the same color can make work outfits much more interesting than just wearing all black. In this work outfit, I mixed two shades of gray and black and added a touch of brightness with the pumps. The black shiny leather belt adds one more texture and color that ties in the bold cuffs.
Let’s talk briefly about the top. This is one of my favorite buttons downs. I’ve owned it for a little over a year, and it’s an essential in my closet. This top is from the Banana Republic and is from the petite section. It has thinner vertical stripes in contrasting colors, contrasting cuffs, and tucks in nicely. The pattern you select for your tops is very important. If you want something bold and strong, you can look for something similar to the top I’m wearing. Or if you want something a little more feminine look for a button-down in a floral, windowpane, or polka dot pattern.
If you have a button-down with different colored cuffs, make sure to show the contrast! The gray-and-white striped shirt I’m wearing has black cuffs so to show them off I folded them a specific way. I learned this cuff fold from JCrew.
In addition to adding contrast with cuffs, I added a layered semi-statement necklace. It’s a mix of pearls, beads, and rhinestones and I love how feminine it looks against the very structured and somewhat masculine outfit.
As you are beginning to see you can have a lot of fun with women business casual and the rules are much more relaxed than strict professional attire.
Work Outfit 5: SOLID BUTTON DOWN + BLACK TROUSERS + SKINNY SCARF + FLATS
Shop Outfit 5
If you have casual Fridays at your office, you could switch the black pants with dark wash jeans, and you’ll have a stylish and casual office-appropriate outfit for a professional environment.
To give off an end-of-the-week vibe I swapped out the pumps for flats, added a playful scarf, and left my button-down shirt untucked. The flats are cute and fun but still appropriate for the office. I’m wearing two subtle prints; the leopard print flats and a polka dot scarf. The prints in this outfit are far away from each other, so they don’t create a visual clash. You could also wear a floral or plaid scarf instead of a polka dot one.
When wearing two different patterns make sure they are connected by color. The two prints I’m wearing are connected by black; it’s the simplest option but you could also do this with gray, violet, blue, or brown. Coordinating colors in your accessories help bring balance and unity to the outfit.
Scarfs are a great way to add pattern to an otherwise solid-colored outfit! Scarfs come in many different colors, shapes, prints, and lengths so make sure you select one that works for the office. In the Winter they can also keep you warm!
Look for scarves that work for your budget because they can go from $10 to $300 depending on the quality and brand. Here are some cute options that would work for the office and would bring color and pattern to your work outfits.
Ann Taylor has some super stylish options as well.
Work Outfit 6: V-NECK SWEATER + TROUSERS + PUMPS + SCARF
Shop Outfit 6
A powerful tool in your professional wardrobe—that at times is overlooked and underused—is color. Color can make your eyes pop, bring out the color of your hair, and even make you look tan! If you find the colors that work best for you, they can change your entire appearance.
Color is extremely important. The wrong color can make you look pale and even sickly. But when done right, color can change your mood and exude everything from confidence to sensuality. You might be wondering how to find the right colors that will work for you or how to know what colors to pay attention to when shopping and which to avoid. There are many aspects to consider when it comes to color. When evaluating color, you need to consider how it looks against your hair, skin tone, and eyes.
There are so many skin tones that it can be hard to determine exactly what will work for you, but if we start with hair and then adjust depending on your skin tone, we’ll have a much better idea of what colors to start with.
When adding color to an outfit, they will be one of three things:
A Base Color: The base color is typically neutral and in your more tailored pieces, like bottoms, skirts, and suits. These pieces usually have longevity and are in colors that won’t go out of style anytime soon.
An Accent Color: The accent color is the colors in your tops, blouses, and sweaters but can also be things like blazers, cardigans, etc. These colors can be neutral shades or colorful ones. In this outfit example, the sweater I’m wearing is a bright accent color and would look just as good with black pants as it does with the gray ones I paired it with.
A Pop Color: The pop color is the color that adds that final touch to an outfit, and usually the part that most women neglect. Typically, the pop is the smallest percentage of the outfit like jewelry, shoes, scarves, belts, etc. The pop color always complements the accent color, either tonally or as a great contrast shade.
To translate it to an outfit example, my gray pants are the base color, the sweater is the accent color, and the scarf is the added pop of color. When putting together, your next outfit considers how your separates act as neutrals or pops of color.
Style Tip: If you try on a blouse or dress and it fits like a glove, but something still feels off, it’s probably the color.
Another type of scarf you could wear to work is silk square scarves. Consider it as a piece of jewelry and wear it to add drama and oomph!
They are perfect when you want to add color or pattern to a solid outfit. The one I’m wearing in this outfit is from LOFT. I bought this specific scarf because it has a bold pattern and it has a variety of colors that I normally wear as solid separates, like navy, blue, pink, and gray, so it matches all of the essentials that I already own.
This is an important note: make sure the silk scarf you buy has colors that match your separates.
Color Tip: The best thing you can do when working to find your go-to colors is to head to a craft store that sells fabrics. Bring a friend and a mirror and hold different color fabrics up to your face. Since craft stores have every color in every hue, you’ll be able to find a color specifically for you. You’ll be amazed how different blue-green, as opposed to olive green, can look against your skin and hair color.
Work Outfit 7: BLAZER + TROUSERS + PUMPS + PRINTED LONG SLEEVE
I went for it when it came to my printed long sleeve top! In this outfit, I paired it with an all-black outfit to make it stand out! The bold colors and print make it the center of my outfit and still shines even though it is surrounded by a dark neutral.
If you want to go bold with a print and color but are not 100% comfortable yet, try layering and pairing it with neutrals as I did in this outfit.
If possible, have one of the colors from your print match the neutral you wear it with. For example, the printed professional top has black in it so I wore black separates, which is why it all looks so nice together.
Every woman, whether a dark brunette or a pale redhead, should have at her disposal a range of favorable colors that encompass light neutrals, soft and cheerful hues, and super vibrant pops of color that make a bold statement.
We’re going to start with finding the right colors for you based on your hair color. Hair color falls into four broad categories: blonde, brunette/black, redhead, and silver. These create a great base to start with. Once you know what colors look great with your hair color, you’ll be able to see if they look nice against your skin tone, then add color accents to bring out your eyes.
Since skin color has such variety and even changes from Winter to Summer depending on whether you tan or not, you’ll need to evaluate each piece against your face, but we’ll go into some general guidelines.
Do remember this: when you find the right color for you, you’ll know. You’ll look in the mirror, and a huge smile will appear. You’ll know the feeling when you find a piece that you’re just in love with, and that’s how I want you to feel all the time. Never settle for subpar clothing in colors that don’t compliment you!
Note: The hair colors I refer to below apply to natural hair colors. If you dye your hair, look at the section that applies to the color you dye your hair. However, if you have dark skin and you dye your hair blonde, the same considerations might not apply.
Important note, I’m recommending the BEST colors for your hair and skin tone. It’s the colors that will most flatter you and make you look your best! If you’re a pale redhead don’t think that you can never wear black, it’s just not the best color for you.
Something that many people tell me is that I look good in everything, and as much as I wish this were true, the reason I get these compliments is that I only wear what looks good on me! If the color doesn’t flatter or a dress doesn’t fit me like a glove I don’t wear it! Style + fit + color = perfect outfit.
Best Colors for Blondes
Blondes need to be wary of strong colors. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear them; it just means you need to find the right bold for you. You don’t want the colors to overwhelm you, but on the other hand, you want the clothes you wear to bring out the natural highlights of your blonde hair and make your eyes pop!
Since blondes are usually paler, black against their naturally soft palette can wash out the wearer. Switch your black neutral for a navy instead. Navy is much more flattering for a blonde, and if you have blue or green eyes, the navy will make your eyes pop while flattering your skin tone. In addition to navy, lighter neutrals such as camel and beige are fantastic options for women with blonde hair. Camel and beige bring harmony to your entire look and hair and skin look radiant.
Best Colors for Brunettes and Black Hair
This is the category I fall in. I have naturally dark hair and my skin tans easily. If you’re a brunette or have black hair, you have a larger range of colors to play with. Your dark strands need some bright and bold colors.
This category includes multiple nationalities, so skin tones vary. A general rule to keep in mind is that the darker your skin tone, the bolder and brighter you can go, and you also get the option to play with lighter colors as well, like pastels and even beige and camel.
If you’re a brunette with a light skin tone, it’s difficult to wear pastels and light neutrals. Stay away from beige as it will make you look washed out and create an unflattering nude look. Opposite from blondes, black, gray, and white are great neutral options.
Jewel tones are fabulous on brunettes, no matter the nationality.
Best Colors for Redheads
Green, navy, and cream look fabulous on a redhead. Like blondes, redheads need to proceed with caution when it comes to color. Their bright red strands take center stage, and the color of their clothes needs to complement their hair, skin, and eye color.
With pale redheads, the cream will almost always look better than stark white, and navy is a better color to wear than black. These are your dark and light neutrals. Also, opt to wear a soft cream or camel instead of a pastel pink or blue. Your bright red locks will overpower pastels.
Green and red are on the opposite side of the color wheel, so they are true complementary colors, which is why green is the perfect option for redheads.
Best Colors for Silver and White Hair
When you get older, you either keep your hair natural and embrace your silver, white, or salt-and-pepper hair, or you dye it. For those of you who love your transformed locks, here are some color rules to keep in mind.
Some of the best colors for gray hair are slightly muted hues. It’s like you took the bright colors and dimmed them down a bit. This includes colors such as lavender, seafoam green, slate blue, and silver.
White is your best neutral. Crisp white will look fantastic against your silver locks and it’s a classic. An outfit combination could be a stark white button-down blouse paired with midnight blue trousers and a red handbag.
As I mentioned with blondes, brunettes, and redheads, there are as many shades of gray hair and once you understand the base colors that you should play with, experiment and see what actually looks best on you. This could be wearing crimson red instead or brick red.
Work Outfit 8: BUTTON DOWN + PENCIL SKIRT + PUMPS
I love a dark pair of tights during the Winter, they not only keep you warm but look very stylish if done correctly. When you pair black tights and black heels you’ll create an uninterrupted line. This can make you appear taller, leaner, and make your legs looks skinnier too!
If you do want to wear tights to the office there are a few dos and don’ts you should follow!
- Don’t wear socks with your leggings! That’s reserved for young school girls.
- Don’t wear tights with holes!
- For the office stick with dark hues; black, navy, and even burgundy.
- The darker, the better! Always select thick over thin tights. Thick tights are more slimming and sleeker looking.
- Have the color of your tights match your skirt/dress or your shoes. If I were to wear navy tights I would either wear a navy skirt or navy heels. Burgundy tights, I’d wear a burgundy dress or burgundy shoes. It works best when the colors touch. If you’re wondering, yes you can wear black shoes, black leggings, and a black skirt or dress.
Work Outfit 9: FLARE DRESS + FASHION JACKET + PUMPS
Professional flare dresses are really flattering because they copy an hourglass shape, even if the woman wearing them has a different body shape.
In addition to all its benefits, flare dresses are incredibly easy to wear! They can be dressed up or down, worn to work, and even on the weekends. Get one in a solid color, as I did, or you can purchase one with a nice print.
The business dress I’m wearing is sleeveless, it’s still office appropriate but to make it, even more, winter-ready, I added a striped fashion jacket. When adding a jacket to a flare dress make sure it’s not very long. Ideally, you want it to be a cropped jacket, but a little longer still works.
There is a lot of color in this outfit, but the color tone is muted, which is why it’s not overwhelming. To keep an outfit in balance when wearing two colored pieces make sure they are in the same color tone.
To complete this work look, I added a long necklace and long earrings. The accessories play with the long structure of the outfit and keep the eyes moving up and down. Because of the horizontally striped jacket, I avoided wearing a large statement necklace that would make the top half of the outfit very bulky. Think long, clean lines.
Work Outfit 10: BUTTON DOWN + V-NECK SWEATER + TROUSERS + FLATS
shop outfit 10
When your feet are cold in the winter, but you don’t want to wear socks wear tights under your pants or stockings. In this outfit, I wore black tights under my black pants. This not only kept me warm but it creates a pretty cool look.
This professional outfit, like the one with the pencil skirt, gives you one uninterrupted line. Here I connected the black tights with the black pants and topped it off with a pointy toe flat. If you want to appear taller always opt for a pointy toe rather than a round toe. You will look 10 times sleeker.
I layered my striped button-down with contrasting cuffs under my bright V-neck sweater. This lets the stripes peek out from underneath and I get a bold color added to my work outfit.
I did a couple of things in this business outfit to keep it interesting. I wore two subtle patterns, the striped shirt, and the leopard-print flats. I made a sharp contrast with the bright pink and black pants and added some bold rings and small hoop earrings to accessorize the outfit.
Work Outfit 11: PRINTED BLOUSE + TROUSERS + BELT + PUMPS
To balance a loud pattern, choose neutral, solid colors everywhere else: black, dark blue, brown, and gray. Think of everything else as the frame for the garment you want to showcase. Choosing dark hues that contrast with your print makes most designs pop. In this case, less is more.
Of course, the blouse is the center of my outfit. To keep this outfit from being too over the top, I paired it with gray trousers, black pumps and added a gold necklace for fun.
Since the blouse has a loose fit, I added a skinny belt to accentuate my waist. If I were to layer with a blazer, then I wouldn’t have added a belt, as in my previous outfit. Adding a belt also made the outfit slightly more structured.
I don’t usually wear flowy blouses because they don’t always look nice on my petite figure, at times it looks like I’m drowning in the shirt. I tried on three sizes before I purchased this shirt to make sure it was the right fit. I bought it in petite.
Work Outfit 12: FASHION JACKET + SHELL TOP + TROUSERS + FLATS
When you first look at this outfit do you notice that I’m wearing three different prints and each item is in a different color? But even with the different colors and prints the outfit still looks refined and stylish, not at all overwhelming. Let me break down how I put together this outfit.
I first started by selecting one piece I knew I wanted to wear, the silk shell top. Since I only have a few essentials to work with this made adding the rest of the items easier. With my essentials, I only have three options to layer, a black blazer, fashion jacket, or long cardigan. From these three items’ options, I selected the fashion jacket. I knew the jacket would work perfectly because the bolder stripes contrast the small print on the shell top. And the color of the top and jacket border each other on the color wheel, they are analogous colors, so I knew the colors would match.
Another little detail I paid attention to was the collar of the jacket, it’s a flat collarless jacket, which means the jacket outlines the high neck of the top and ruffles on the front of the top. The jacket perfectly shows off the shell top.
Once I had the top half of the outfit complete, I added a pair of black trousers to add a neutral base to the outfit. Black worked better than gray or my printed trousers because I already had a lot of color going on. I needed a darker base to bring balance to this outfit.
Finally, I added a pair of leopard print flats. A added the leopard print way at the bottom of the outfit because I wanted to create some distance between the prints. The distance was achieved with the black trousers.
Work Outfit 13: DRESS + BLAZER + PUMPS
Classy and professional go hand in hand. Being classy in the workplace is a must!
Work Outfit 14: CARDIGAN + V-NECK SWEATER + TROUSERS + FLATS
We purchase professional essentials so we can wear them over and over. We want to use them for years to come, but to make them last, we need to take care of them. If you care about your clothes, they will last longer.
Caring for clothes starts from the beginning. When clothes shopping, look for clues that an item is made to last; price isn’t the only indicator. Pay attention to tight seams and buttons. If the material is overly thin, or you see loose threads, buttons, or snags, those are clues that an item may not be very well made.
If you know you hate hand washing and line drying, avoid buying clothes that require special care. You’d be better off spending your money on sturdier items. In fact, looking at laundering instructions is part of my shopping process. Even if it’s a steal, a piece that requires dry cleaning could cost more in the long run – especially if you choose to ignore care instructions and end up ruining it.
Always check the instructions on the tag and make sure to follow them. The tag is not just there to be itchy, it serves a purpose.
Here are some tips on how you can make your professional clothes last longer.
Work Outfit 15: FLARE DRESS + BLAZER + PUMPS
We all need to wear clothes; we might as well look good in them! I work hard to put my most stylish foot forward. I don’t always “dress up,” but I always try to look presentable. I think this is important not only for our self-confidence but our life as a whole!
With this women’s business casual outfit guide, I know you’re learning some useful style tips that will help you in getting ready in a reasonable time and develop a wardrobe where EVERYTHING works. And yes, I mean everything! Like any other skill you took effort in learning, it will get easier and become second nature.
The base of this outfit is the professional dress! I could have just worn the dress by itself and it would have been fine, but I wanted to show you how a few accessories dramatically change up an outfit.
The three primary colors of this outfit are green, blue, and black. I added a skinny blue belt to emphasize my waist, I layered on a black blazer for structure and to cover my arms since it’s cold. To carry on the blue theme, I wore blue pumps with a hint of green, this ties in both colors :). The silk scarf around my neck adds a feminine touch and panache to my outfit. Lastly, a watch, ring, and stud earrings complete the look.
There are a couple of stylish ways you could wear this scarf as you’ve seen throughout these work outfits! It’s a great affordable option for the office.
Work Outfit 16: PENCIL SKIRT + BLAZER V-NECK SWEATER + PUMPS
What’s the one piece you should splurge on for your career?
You should splurge on the staples that will be the workhorses of your closet — good shoes, a great pencil (or A-line) skirt, black trousers, the perfect black dress to go under jackets, and an elegant bag. Although not always the rule, spending more on the staples will help ensure garment longevity.
Also, investment means different things to different people. It could be a $100 blazer to one person but a $500 blazer to another. The first thing you need to set is a budget. I suggest doing some research on which pieces you wear over and over again, those workhorses. Write your list and then research how much those pieces usually cost.
The essentials from this business casual outfit guide are those items you’ll wear over and over again, but it might not work for your budget to spend a couple of hundred dollars for each piece. Look at the list and highlight the ones you know you’ll wear a couple of times a week.
My workhorses are; black blazer, black and gray trousers, black pumps, a button-down shirt, and a flare dress. These are my super essentials. I’m ok with investing between $200 to $350
per item to ensure its longevity.
While in college I invested in my first black blazer and black trousers. I spent $325 on the blazer and $250 on the trousers. I LOVED them, I wanted to wear them all the time, and they were my go-to basics for about eight years. I would still be wearing them but the blazer accidentally made its way into the washer and was destroyed, and the black trousers had a stain that wouldn’t come off. So all in all they were worth the investment.
The same idea applies to items that are not professional as well. On my first trip to Paris, I was on a mission to find the perfect pair of brown boots. I was ready to spend a shiny quarter on them, and I did. I bought the boots in 2009, and I still own and wear them. They are scuffed, and I’ve had the heel repaired once, but I love them now as much as I did the day I bought them. Spend your money wisely!
Work Outfit 17: BLAZER + BUTTON DOWN + TROUSERS + PUMPS
If you need to dress up for a meeting or for an interview with higher management you definitely have the means to do so with the essentials from the list! Here I combined my most “professional” items to create a stylish and badass outfit! My main essentials are in all black, so instead of going with a floral or pink top, I decided to wear a bold striped shirt to give a bolder feel. I added a statement necklace and stud earrings to complete the look!
What about wearing flannel and plaid in professional work outfits?
I think it depends on what you pair the plaid with and what pieces that you wear in plaid. When wearing plaid or flannel items make sure you pair them with a classy pencil skirt or well-tailored trouser pants. You need to balance the casual nature of plaid with something simple, classic, and chic. Khaki pants are more on the casual side, so pairing them with a casual print, like plaid, would make the outfit overall pretty casual looking. It’s best to pair the plaid item with solid darker items. A plaid shirt with black trousers, a plaid skirt with a solid sweater.
Remember to color coordinate as well. There are two ways to color coordinate your plaid. You can either select colors from the plaid pattern and wear them on the other items. For example; if you wear a plaid pattern that is in blue and burgundy you could pull the burgundy color and wear it in your sweater. If you’re wearing a plaid that has blue and green, you could take the blue from the pattern and wear it in your trousers. Or you could pair your plaid with base neutrals like black, white, gray, or cream.
When wearing plaid to the office stay away from hairstyles you would pair with plaid on the farm (ponytail, braiding, etc.) Go more formal and unexpected with a high bun, a French twist, or in waves!
You can also add plaid to your wardrobe with accessories. Try a plaid handbag or a plaid paid pair of flats. They add an instant trend update to an existing work look.
Work Outfit 18: SHELL TOP + CARDIGAN TROUSERS + PUMPS
Work Outfit 19: PATTERNED BLOUSE + BLAZER + SKIRT + PUMPS
At times I like to try different hairstyles. I usually like to wear my hair in a low or high ponytail or just down. But when I get brave and have time, I like to change it up and try something new, like in this look. Your hairstyle does make a huge difference in your overall style.
Wearing your hair up versus down can dramatically change up your look. How do you normally wear your hair? If you feel tired of wearing it the same way, why not try a new hairstyle? Try a completely different hairstyle and see how you like it.
If you have any specific questions about fit, style, prints, or color please send leave them in the comments below!
Work Outfit 20: BLAZER + V-NECK SWEATER + TROUSERS + PUMPS
I hope you have learned a lot with this women’s business casual outfit guide! I tried to put in as much information as I could and show you how you could really make the most from your work outfits.
I know it’s a lot of information to read at once so many sure you save this post for future reference and pin the images to your works outfits board on Pinterest!
If you have any other questions about what to wear to work, women business casual, work outfits, or anything else, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!
Hi! If I wanted to give outfit #2 a try, but my solid button down is a pale pink instead of blue, what color pants and scarf should I go with?
You are a fashion genius! Thank you for your winter checklist. I start working with a law firm Monday and needed this article!
This is excellent. There are so many good examples for a variety of offices, life styles, and age groups. Also I have to commend you for recognizing a variety of complexions instead of just fair skin! That is rare. Thanks for all these great tips.
could you link the gray print dress with the black cardigan outfit, and the printed pencil skirt with the blue button down? Thanks!
Thank you for all the tips!
Great job! Would be great if you could package and sell all these items for one price. And include outfit pics. Trust me you would get lots of buyers. There are those of us who are not savvy enough to shop nor have the time to put great outfits like this together!
camille olelaToni Davila
I disagree with your comment that blondes can wear camel and beige. I have blonde hair and camel looks awful on me. It clashes with blonde hair and makes highlights look brassy. I’d go for jewel tones instead.
Superb dissection of business wear, especially how to balance different elements within each outfit
The office outfits you share very nice, the tips you share help me a lot.
What brand and/or store did you get your button ups from? Particularly the solid blue one.
Can you tell me where you got your pink sweater, tweed skirt, and leopard flats?
This was such a refreshing read.. it’s hard mid-career to find a good balance and things that won’t get so quickly outdated. I agree with the Austinite.. I work in tech in Boulder- and we definitely have a mixed bag here.. and since it’s Boulder literally everything goes.. but this was such a good blend with really useful pieces, looks and ideas. Thank you!
Tiffany Yates Martin
This article is phenomenal–thank you. Like a couple of others, though, I could use suggestions on what shops to go to for quality workhorse pieces. Thank you for this great advice! (And you have a marvelous sense of style.)
I love all the photos, ideas, and tips you share! This post was just what I needed to get some great ideas for how to use what I have already, and a few items to add into my wardrobe. Thanks so much for writing this!
I need some tips on where to shop. I love your outfits, but I have trouble putting things together when I go shopping. Where do you usually shop for the essentials?
Great inspiration! Lot of work behind …:)
Hi! I’m a fellow Austinite and you’ve probably noticed a lot of workplaces here, especially in tech have gone to a casual dress code. I started a new job several months ago and dressed similar to what you show here (which is nice and classy BTW), but it is considered way overdressed where I work, and I get asked if I am interviewing! What tips to do you have for fitting in to a much more casual office where jeans every day is the norm but you still want to look polished?
Look at JoLynne Shane’s blog. She can style jeans and a polished casual look better than anyone on the Internet.
Rose Ann Selvana
thanks this is awesome! I just need to find a great way to rock my office life! as I have read in The Beauty Insiders, office clothes does not need to be boring or bland, thanks for this, this is great
I came upon your blog a couple of years ago and have really enjoyed your personal style, style tips and ideas.
However, this post about “20 work outfits with 17 pieces” was SO timely!
I am a transgender female who is going “full-time” soon and have been looking for a way to get a work wardrobe together before the “big” day. Needless to say, dressing for work is a BIT different for women than men. Ha Ha
This post has been a HUGE help and I cannot thank you enough.
I Enjoyed this….