6 Work Wardrobe Essentials To Create Endless Business Casual Outfits | Swift Wellness (2023)

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There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to the perfect outfit for work. But, the best workwear wardrobe needs to include items that complement your body type and suit the kind of office environment you're working in. But, no matter the office style, deciding what to wear to the office shouldn’t cost a fortune. In fact, we argue that there are only six true essentials that you need to create a workwear capsule wardrobe.

Whether you're looking for a work wardrobe that's professional or business casual, here are some tips on how to dress for your workplace and fit your personal style, all while staying on budget.

What Are the Different Styles of Work Appropriate Clothes?

There are a lot of different kinds of work environments. Finding the appropriate clothes for your office all depends on what your workplace is like. If you're working in an office, it's important to be aware of the dress code policy. You don't want to show up for job interview looking like you just got off the runway! (Or, maybe you do, but that’s another story.)

What is Formal Business Attire?

Formal business attire is a suit and tie for men. When considering professional clothes for women, it's a good idea to wear either a pant-suit or a dress that reaches the knee or just above it. You always want to be wearing formal, closed-toe shoes like pumps, loafers, or flats. Hair must be neat and out of your face, with minimal jewelry or accessories.

What is Business Casual?

Business casual is the "middle-ground" between formal business attire and casual work clothes, a style often referred to as ‘dressy casual’ or ‘smart casual.’ If your office has a business casual dress code, then there are more options on what you can wear. Most offices will fall into a business casual environment, so following these rules will allow you to transition work clothes to new office environments if you were to switch roles or jobs, entirely.

While business casual is more relaxed than formal attire, it errs more on the side of ‘business’ and less on the side of ‘casual.’ A simple question to ask yourself when considering business casual outfits: Does this feel professional?

What Clothing Is Considered Business Casual for Women?

What Clothing Is Not Considered Business Casual?

While the rules are more flexible in the business casual style of dress, it’s important to avoid anything too relaxed or informal.

Items to avoid include:

  • Leggings, yoga pants, joggers, or similar

  • Shorts

  • Pajamas

  • Overly distressed, faded, or destroyed fabrics

  • Jeans (unless specified)

  • Graphic tees

  • Sandals, flip flops, or open toed shoes

  • Mini skirts

  • Low cut or revealing clothing

  • Sneakers (unless specified)

What is Casual Attire?

Casual work clothes are the complete opposite of formal business attire. It's best to go with jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers for casual work outfits— no suits and ties here! If the company is more laid back and allows for a more casual atmosphere, then you're not going to want to show up wearing a dress pants and blouse, but it's still probably best if you didn't wear ripped jeans, either.

If the dress code is casual, then you have a lot of different options available to you. This can be anything from jeans and a nice top to a nice pair of trousers with a blouse. If others in the office tend to wear business casual outfits during regular work hours, however, this may be a simple sign to make sure to avoid being too casual.

Can I Wear What I Want?

There are some places where whatever you wear is fine as long as you're wearing it. This may be a college environment where you really can wear whatever you want as long as it's not too revealing or see-through. However, that doesn’t mean that you should. Allow yourself to express your unique fashion style with your work clothes, while still ensuring that you present yourself in the best possible manner.

To avoid confusion, most places will let everyone know what the dress code is before they ever go in. This makes it super easy to find out ahead of time so you can fit your work wardrobe around it.

How to Dress for a Job Interview

Job interviews are one of the most important aspects of working anywhere. While you want to make sure that you look great and feel confident going into your meeting, but it's also important to be yourself. However, just like creating a work wardrobe around your office attire, there are a few tried and true rules to follow when it comes to interviewing for the job that you want.

What Do I Wear for a Job Interview?

For your interview, the best course of action is to research the company ahead of time. This ensures that you will wear something that fits in with the company’s culture and is appropriate. If you have only had casual attire jobs in the past, you don’t want to assume that a new job will be, too!

If you do not have many workwear outfits in your closet, create one go-to interview outfit. This should be professional looking, such as a structured blazer and a blouse, paired with a nice pair of trousers or skirt.

What Not to Wear For Your Job Interview

Whether consciously or unconsciously, you are constantly being examined by those you work for and those that you work with. Your outward appearance can portray the importance that you place in minor details—such as if your shirt is tucked in—or the extra step taken to have a clean, pressed shirt. Each tiny detail can be a factor in your interview, just as much as the qualifications on your resume.

No matter what style of office attire is acceptable, there are still going to be certain items that you aren't going to want to wear for your interview. Your interview is often the first (and only) time that you have to impress your future employer so you need to make the most of it.

Items to Avoid Wearing to An Interview:

Leggings, yoga pants, joggers, or similar

Is There a "Perfect" Work Outfit?

No! There is no "perfect" business casual outfit for the office because it's all about finding the right fit and comfort level for the environment you're working in. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all equation for each style of dress, each office will vary, too. What matters most is that your workwear wardrobe is a reflection of your personal style and makes you feel confident when entering the office.

6 Business Casual Essentials For Women To Create The Best Office Outfits

The perfect work wardrobe is all about choosing items that fit your body type and the environment you're working in. You want to be comfortable, but it's also important for you to put together an outfit that will look professional. However, workwear—even business casual pieces—can quickly add up. Even though many of us work Monday through Friday, it’s unlikely that we need an extensive wardrobe for our job. By creating work outfits around these six key workwear staples, you can build a capsule wardrobe that will provide endless looks, while saving you money.

What Your Work Wardrobe Should Consist Of

The following six business casual essentials should create the foundation of your work wardrobe:

  1. A pencil skirt (more formal) or midi skirt (more casual)

  2. A blazer or jacket

  3. A basic, neutral colored dress

  4. Tailored pants

  5. Dressy shoes that are comfortable for walking in

  6. Solid-color dress shirts

Why Did We Choose These Business Casual Outfits?

Each of these pieces are great on their own because they will flatter most body types. Business casual shoes, black blazers, dress pants, shirts, and long pencil skirts are classic wardrobe pieces that will fit most business dress codes. And, if you put them together in the right way, you can create an extensive list of business casual work outfits quickly and easily each morning. Not only does this take the stress and hassle out of finding an office outfit to wear each day, but who doesn’t love to save money at the same time?

Business Casual Outfit Ideas for Women

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