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The business casual guide for the chic woman

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Featured image: Business casual outfit; printed pleated skirt and yellow top on Stella Uzo of @Jadorefashion

Hi, Chic woman!

Too tired of your having to be fully “suited” up to go to work? Too tired of your fully buttoned tucked-in shirts?

If the company you work for does allow “business casual” you have no reason to fret anymore.

This article is to guide you through your choices of business casuals.

In general, business casual for chic women means slacks (pants that are not jeans) and a blouse or nice top (no seams, no cotton shirts or tank tops), skirt or dress.

The most common combinations often include a beautiful blouse with a black blazer and pants or a blouse with a 3/4 collar and a skirt or tunic up to the knee or longer.

Some offices allow jeans and polo shirts for casual wear, while others have even more flexible definitions. It depends on the standards of your workplace. Here is your answer to whether jeans are considered business casual in the first place.

Trying to examine business casual for chic women can be a bit difficult in today’s work environment and may vary depending on the workplace. Because dressing properly can often make or break a career, it is advisable to follow some simple rules regarding business casual for chic women.

The simplest way to think of business casual is a combination of business professional and casual wear. You do not have to wear a full-on suit as much as a strapless sundress with flip-flops is not appropriate.

For most companies, business casual is an everyday criterion. This dressing style has been shown to cause more productivity and efficiency as employees are relaxed and confident. You can mix elements of more formal business wears, like a blazer, suit skirt or pants, but they do not need to be worn all at the same time.

It is also smart to have most of your business casual clothing be in neutral colors: black, brown, navy, beige, gray and white. Starting with basic pieces in a neutral and then adding pops of color allow you to show your personality and prevent your dress sense from being boring.

When you are dressing for work, keep in mind that the clothes you might wear to the beach, to yoga class, or to run errands aren’t usually acceptable in the business casual environment. Instead choose cool, crisp staples that can be combined such as a neat, pressed shirt topped by a jacket, vest or sweater. Business casual can also mean putting on a cloth that is clean, unwrinkled, and not too tight, baggy, or revealing.

Most employees are not required to change their business wardrobe when they move to a workplace with a business casual dress code. This is because smart casual, business casual and casual dress are the normal dress codes when employees meet friends, go out to dinner, and attend concerts, the kind of events where people want to look nice and presentable.

Tips on business casual for chic women

Understand the dressing pattern in your office.

business casual attire for women

Maybe you like dressing up in formal clothes like sheath dresses, try to include fun shoes, jewelry, and other accessories to make your appearance a more “conservative business casual“.

If you are more comfortable in casual clothes like jeans and want to dress in it, dress in things like comfortable sweater blazers to add to your stylish, professional business casual look.

Find a balance between structured looks, like sheath dresses and more casual, unstructured looks, like waterfall cardigans.

Business casual pants

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Source: Pinterest

Pants are an obvious choice and the primary option for most chic women in the workplace. Make sure that they fit you well, are wrinkle-free, and without frayed hems or ripped seams. There is also a nice selection of colored denim available these days, just make sure the color is pure with no fading, and it’s good to have a bit of stretch in them to make them more comfortable for sitting for long periods of time.

Basic neutrals work best, as they can be paired with a lot of colored tops, but you can opt for a colored pant in a dark muted color like burgundy or forest green. You can also try pinstripes or a small plaid.

Business casual blouses and tops

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To add a pop of color to an outfit, think blouses and tops. There are a lot of choices out there in pretty colors that will complement your skin tone and eyes. Pastels, jewel tones, plaids, muted florals, and prints are all acceptable.

In much more colder months, stick with long or ¾ sleeves; for spring and summer, short or cap sleeves work well, and you can even wear a wide-strapped tank.

Keep your neckline somewhat modest with a collared, boat neck, square neck, or turtleneck. If you dress up with a scoop or V-neck, make sure that cleavage is not on display. Keep your shirt tucked in. If worn out, make sure it covers your waistband by several inches. And it is proper that you must wear a bra, and a tank or camisole if your blouse is at all sheer.

Business casual sweaters

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You can also wear sweaters in a variety of ways, either as a top or over a top if you want to layer, with pants or a skirt, or over a dress. The fit is important here, so try to stay away from anything too baggy or ill-fitted. Fine-gauge knits work best; bulky sweaters not so much.

The basic cardigan worn is a staple in business casual attire, and it can be a simple waist-length. The sweater can have buttons on, no buttons, or simply have a draped front collar. With longer cardigans, you can even use a skinny belt to add some definition and a different appearance to your outfit.

Business casual jackets or blazers

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Jackets or blazers are more of a requirement during colder months for warmth going to and from home, not necessarily to wear in the office since this is business casual attire. But don’t think that means you can throw on that denim jacket and get away with it. You still need your outerwear to be professional looking.

Business casual skirts or dresses

business casual skirt, business casual skirts
Source: jadore Fashion

While pants might be your go-to business casual attire, don’t forget about skirts and dresses. The blouses that you wear with your pants will most likely pair well with a skirt. Try a pencil, A-line, or pleated skirt in a solid, pinstripe or herringbone pattern. Colored skirts are fine, but steer clear of bright colors and prints, particularly floral as they are a little more difficult to wear. If the skirt has a slit, make sure it is a modest slit and appropriate when sitting to prevent embarrassment.

A dress is an easy choice for a business casual attire. It’s one item on and off you go to work. No need to pair bottoms and tops. They also work well with cardigans and blazers when the weather is chillier. Necklines and sleeves should follow the rules noted above for blouses. Hemlines for both skirts and dresses can range from a few inches above the knee to just below the knee.

Business casual shoes

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When it comes to shoes, chic women have a lot of great options. Flats, wedges, heels, boots, and certain sandals can be used with business casual outfits. Flats are comfortable options, worn primarily with  pants. Try a loafer or driving moc, round or pointed toe ballerina style, or even an oxford.

Heels are more typical in a work environment, but keep them around 3 inches or less, to be both appropriate and more comfortable. You can slip your feet into pumps, slingbacks, T-straps, peep-toe or wedged heels.

Maybe you’re in a company that does not allow “business casual”. If you have studied this article properly and do have a good dress sense, there are still really cool ways you can be fully officially dressed and still feel comfortable, you know.

Related: Top websites for every #girlboss

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