Pinterest Mondays: Smart Casual

rsz_screen_shot_2014-03-10_at_124421_am1. Vince Long Sleeve Tee ($95) // 2. Lanvin Textured Pencil ($766) // 3. Michael Kors Flex Pump ($99) // 4. Ray-Ban Wayfarers ($150) // 5. Nicholas Gold Plate Belt ($120) // 6. Vince Camuto Jace Satchel ($298) // 7. Athena Ela Scarf ($368) // 8. Nyla Star Chain Bracelet ($70), Kate Spade Locked Bracelet ($65) and Michael Kors Bradshaw Watch ($250) // 9. G. Pressed Ring ($55) and Pressed Taner Ring ($25)

Many women work in offices that fall somewhere between business casual and conservative attire, a dress code that I’ve heard referred to as “smart casual.”  Today’s Pinterest outfit found on Riches for Rags, with a relaxed tee and a slim-fitting pencil, is an excellent illustration of this style.

My advice for wearing t-shirts at work is three-pronged.  First, don’t wear a t-shirt under a suit.  If you need to wear a business suit, you need a better blouse to go with it.  Second, make sure that the t-shirt is a heavy material that isn’t see through or too snug.  Third, wear a t-shirt bra, smoothness is critical.  I like this Wacoal Smooth Complexion bra.

I like these Vince tees because they’re a good thickness and very soft.  If you’d like something in a lower price point, this Bowery tee from Gap is a great alternative at $13.  I know some of you own J.Crew t-shirts, but I find them to be too thin for the office.  I like a bit more weight for work.

Since Lanvin is out of most price ranges, substitute this Hugo Boss Vida skirt is on sale at Off 5th for $84 with most sizes still available.  If you want something with a bit of texture, this under-$75 Aqua pencil skirt is a good choice.  Plus-size?  The only option I could find was this Eileen Fisher skirt.

When you’re dealing with two simple pieces in neutral colors, choosing accessories that add style and flare without overwhelming the look can be a challenge.  I like how she used the scarf, with shades of blue and orange, to bring the purse into the outfit and add more color.  For a less-expensive option, this Olsenboye tribal-print scarf is a great $20 alternative.

The shoes are the “nude” pumps that many women wear all spring and summer long.  These Michael Kors Flex pumps are very comfortable in either the 3.5″ height or the 2.25″ height.  I cannot recommend them enough.

As for the rest of the accessories, I like the relaxed-cool that the Wayfarers bring to the look and the gold plate belt.  Need a cheaper belt?  This ASOS plate belt is under-$30.

This outfit is perfect for offices that hover between casual and conservative.  It’s also a good choice for when your casual wardrobe needs a jolt or for a casual Monday in a more conservative office.

Leave a Reply to Belle · cancel comment


  1. JD says:

    When you wear a belt over a waistband that lacks belt loops, how do you keep the belt in place? It always rides up when I try it, especially when I move from sitting to standing. I find myself constantly readjusting it.

    March 10, 2014/Reply
    • DontBlameTheKids says:

      I was just about to ask that! I see it suggested everywhere, but I can’t seem to make it work.

      March 10, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      This is a question of fit. If it’s a belt that has holes punched in it for the buckle, buy a belt hole puncher (Amazon has them) so you can get the new hole right where you need it. If it doesn’t a cobbler can move the buckle or snaps for you. If you still have trouble, buy stretchy elastic belts instead, so they will stay snugly in place.

      March 10, 2014/Reply
    • Amy Trundell says:

      Safety pins:

      March 11, 2014/Reply
      • Belle says:

        That’s clever.

        March 11, 2014/Reply
  2. Amanda says:

    The limited does a similar belt for $25!

    March 10, 2014/Reply
  3. Cammy says:

    If you can wear a nice t-shirt with a pencil skirt and have it look good enough for work, I don’t see why you shouldn’t wear a nice, fitted t-shirt under a suit. You can dress it up with a scarf or necklace. I find a t-shirt much more manageable than a blouse: it stays in place, is less likely to come untucked and feels smooth against the jacket.

    March 10, 2014/Reply