Tuesday Outfit: Bright, Business Casual

Dec 6, 2023

Several of you have sent e-mails and DMs asking for more business casual and casual work attire for women in senior roles and management.  Offices are leaving professional attire behind in favor of denim and what one reader described as “dressy workout clothes.”  So how do you dress like the boss when you need to fit in?

This look from Pinterest strikes the right balance between dressy and casual.  It’s cool enough to be casual.  It’s also dressy enough to be a little more dressed up than your direct reports.  Plus, the color combination is unique and fun.

The Blazer //  Orange is a different color for a blazer, but it would look great with blues, greys, and other shades of orange.  This blazer from Reiss is a little spendy, but it fits so beautifully.  For something less expensive, try this one or this <$50 one.  Plus-size?  Nordstrom has you covered.

This look would work with any color blazer.  Ann Taylor has this great dark violet blazer and this green one right now.  And, of course, there’s always pink.

The Tee // Finding a cool graphic tee that isn’t too colorful and is work appropriate was not an easy task.  This Paris one from H&M definitely fits the bill.  This one from J.Crew Factory with a travel scene on it is also nice.  For a bit of high-fashion, try this Comme des Garcons tee or this Clare V. tee.

The Jeans // Skinny leg denim has fallen out of favor, but if you still love it, keep wearing it.  I’ve returned to my wide leg and flare roots.  But these boyfriend jeans from AG are a nice compromise.  This pair is a nice plus size option.

Right now, the best place to shop for denim is Nordstrom Rack.  They have lots of styles and brands at fabulous prices. I bought these Mother jeans (for 50% off) the second I saw them.

The Shoes // Adidas Sambas are the sneaker of choice right now.  They’re everywhere.  This pair, in a neutral black and white, are awesome.  This black and navy pair keep going into my Amazon cart, but there are a several color ways to pick from.  The low profile shoe is great for any wardrobe.  Plus, they’re very comfortable.  These would make an awesome gift for a college student, a sister-in-law or a friend who is hard to shop for.  They will wear them, I promise.

The Accessories // I started with these well-made, mid-price gold earrings from Quince. The pyramid style is modern but versatile.  I also like these diamond and gold huggie, oblong hoops.

This bag from Madewell is the bucket bag that can do no wrong.  It’s perfect for any wardrobe.  It’s cool enough, but won’t break the bank.  If you want something with a little something extra, I like the twisted handle on this bag from Neiman Marcus.

Cool sunglasses are an easy add to any wardrobe.  These hexagon shaped Ray-Bans are an updated classic.  The Rack is also a great place to find sunglasses.  This Burberry pair would make a nice gift.

The Styling // I would keep the hair and makeup easy and casual.  Wear your hair how you normally do.  If you want to wear it up, a ponytail would be my choice, because if you’re going for relaxed an updo is too severe.  I would also wear a simple face of makeup.  If you’re looking for an easy tutorial, I send this one to new job seekers.

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  1. Sharon K says:

    Yes! This is exactly the post I needed. I’m in my mid-30s and in the C-suite for an organization that skews a bit older. Our CEO recently changed the dress code to be more casual, but I’m also the same age as some of my direct reports’ kids. When I wear anything other than jeans, they always ask why I’m so dressed up. More of these posts, please!

  2. Emily says:

    That makeup tutorial was very helpful for me, a 40 year old woman who could not figure out why my makeup never looked as current as influencers.

  3. E says:

    How do we feel about ripped jeans in a business casual setting? I usually try and stay away from them for the office, but this photo seems to still convey “cool but professional” with a ripped jean.

  4. Laura says:

    Do the Sambas run TTS?

  5. E says:

    I’m petite and finding that all blazers these days are either too long (“boyfriend blazer” style) or too boxy (shoulder pads / 1980s inspired) to be flattering on my shape. Any suggestions? Even in petite sizes, these styles just don’t work for me. Looking for more informal options like what you posted here.

  6. Erin says:

    My office is business casual and hybrid schedule but NO JEANS. My biggest challenge is finding work pants that fit and that I like, and coordinating my pants with shoes (I can’t/don’t want to wear heels). Any suggestions for pants looks without jeans are appreciated!

    • M says:

      Old Navy’s pixie pant (I’m partial to the navy color) looks great with a casual shoe and can strike the balance between casual and elevated but not be jeans. The quality is the same as J Crew’s version and better than their Factory version in my opinion.

    • Judy says:

      Same – no jeans!

    • CLSVA says:

      I don’t want to wear jeans when I’m in the office all the time too, so I just bought these and LOVE them. They are super comfortable, can be dressed up or down, and are a good weight that they “fall” well. I’ve worn them with flats, low heels and sneakers. Highly recommend:
      https://www.universalstandard.com/products/audrey-tailored-ponte-pants-evening-forest

      Those are the forest green ones, but they come in a variety of colors. I like the navy and black cherry as well, if you’re looking for non-black.

  7. M. M. Patterson says:

    That’s great for “casual Friday”, but some tips for the rest of the week?

  8. Deb says:

    Love this! My challenge is that I’m always cold. “Work vest” recommendations or just don’t do it? Thanks!

  9. AC says:

    Appreciate the business casual! I switched from more business dress to an ed tech casual environment and can never find anything to model my wardrobe off of.

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