How to Style Corporate Workwear for Business Casual

business casual

With work environments getting more and more casual, mastering the business casual dress code is more important than ever.  Few people have the means to go out and start over with their wardrobes, and there still might be times that a more professional look is needed.  If you are changing jobs and need to downgrade your look while still keeping it appropriate, or if your current workplace environment is allowing for a more relaxed style of dress, take a look at these tips.

How to Style Corporate Workwear for Business Casual

#1- Break a suit apart

business casual
You may not need a suit any longer (or you need one on the rare occasion), but the components of a suit can certainly be used to create perfect business casual looks.  I broke this grey suit from J. Crew apart to style two looks.  On the left, the jacket elevates the appearance of the jeans outfit and the pants is more dressed down with a basic sweater.

To create the denim and blazer look, the J. Crew jacket is styled with a pair of jeans from Madewell, basic sweater from L.K. Bennett, orange loafers from Kristin Cavallari, necklace from Tory Burch and bag from Madewell.

On the right, I styled the tailored pants with a burgundy sweater from Banana Republic, nude pumps from Michael Kors, scarf from Ann Taylor, olive bag from Topshop and earrings from Anna Beck.

#2- Make a pencil skirt more casual

business casual

Pencil skirts can look quite dressy and conservative if styled in conservative and dressy ways.  Take away the pumps and blazer from the look, however, and a pencil skirt can easily look business casual.  I styled this navy pencil skirt from BOSS Hugo Boss with a more casual sweater from Nordstrom and finished the look with brown block heel booties from 1.state, brown opaque tights from Spanx, cognac bag from Tory Burch and hoop earrings from Macy’s.

#3- Blend conservative with casual

business casualWhen you pair super conservative with casual pieces a middle ground is created.  Often seen as corporate, I paired these classic pinstripe trousers with a denim shirt from J. Crew and a cardigan that could easily go from work to weekend.  It’s the pairing of the corporate and the casual that makes an outfit look business casual appropriate.  To finish this look for work, I added these heeled loafers from Halogen, burgundy bag from Sole Society and layered necklace from Bp. from Nordstrom.

A change in dress code does not have to mean a change in wardrobe.  With these tips you will be able to shake up what you already own.

  • #2 is an ongoing challenge!! Great tip!

  • tgchi13

    I’ve been allowed to dress business casual but as of Feb 1st have to wear a polo in red or blue and I’m going to be lost for style all over again 🙄

  • emf43

    Great tips, although this would be even too dressy for my workplace, where jeans almost everyday is the norm, even for the president and CEO (I work for a tech company). I was even told when I started that being too dressy made me look unapproachable and to be more casual! I would love to see tips on how too look polished, professional, and approachable in such an environment.