Business casual can be a confusing term, as it will tend to vary
from one workplace to another. Ultimately though, as the savvy and
style-conscious employee you are, erring on the side of business over casual is
the way to go. Following are four items and accessories that highlight your
professionalism while also leaving you looking cool and feeling comfortable for
the day’s work ahead.
1. Pants – Wool, Khakis, and Denim
For men, pants are essential for the business casual wardrobe. It may sound obvious, but yours truly showed up to my first ever job interview wearing a pair of shorts. I ended up getting the job, but the hiring manager informed me “don’t ever wear shorts to a job interview again.” Lesson learned.
When it comes to pants, wool and khaki are generally a good choice
for business casual workplaces. Wool pants come in a variety of colors and
styles, and they can really button down the professional end of the business
casual look. Khakis are more on the casual side but are still generally
considered a go-to in business casual workplace environments. Jeans, on the
other hand, lie on the cusp between business casual and plain old casual. If
you are going to wear jeans, go with dark wash and save the “distressed
look” (store-bought or naturally acquired) for the weekends.
2. Button-Down Shirts
A button-down shirt will get you by in just about any workplace, but not all button-down shirts are created equal. Stay away from patterns that are too loud or designs that are overly trendy. Instead, stick with classic colors such as white or light blue, in either solid or subtle patterns. You can get away with other colors, but don’t go too big. Think light green or lavender. Keep in mind that your goal is to look professional, not necessarily to make a bold fashion statement.
3. To Tie or Not to Tie
One of the perceived benefits of the business casual wardrobe is
the fact that you aren’t required to wear a tie. This doesn’t mean you can’t
incorporate the tie into your more casual outfits to lend them a more
professional look. For example, if your workplace allows jeans as part of your
business casual wardrobe, combining a neat pair of dark-washed jeans with a
sharp button-down shirt and tie, and adding a pullover sweater, can create a
sophisticated, professional looking style.
4. Getting the Right Fit and Style
All the style elements in the world won’t create a sophisticated look if your clothing doesn’t fit properly. Working with a stylist can save you a ton of time putting together your wardrobe, and there are a number of websites that feature articles on seasonal and regional styles. Once a stylist understands your fashion sense and knows your measurements, they can put together new outfits for you with ease, and they can field questions you might have about the best way to rock a given look.
Putting together the right wardrobe might seem like a hassle, but
once you’ve got it dialed in, understanding how to dress business casual for
work will help you feel more professional, comfortable, and ready to dive in to
the day’s work ahead.
Jeans are great. They are comfortable, hard wearing, and suitable for any casual situation. Unfortunately, for many of us, the sheer convenience of throwing on a pair of jeans in the morning can lead to them becoming something of a uniform. Yes, you know it’s summer and maybe you should get your legs out or try some of the beautiful sundresses that are in the stores, but why bother when your trusty jeans are hanging right there (or, more realistically, draped over a chair in your bedroom where you took them off last night)?
Wearing jeans as standard is the norm for a lot of women, but just because they are your go to thing for all but formal occasions, doesn’t mean you have to look boring. If you want to embrace your jeans habit, forget those plain tanks, boring t-shirts and bland sweaters and choose tops that make you look on trend, sexy and interesting. Here are three styles to consider using to create great jeans based outfits:
The dolman sleeve dress (or batwing dress) is all the rage this year, but you can take elements of that style to create good jeans looks too. A dolman sleeve is one that comes out from the waist and then tapers in around the elbow, and it is an interesting and flattering design feature that looks great on tops as well as dresses. You can choose casual dolman tops in prints like stripes for a more fashionable alternative to a normal jersey top, or evening styles in silky or flowy fabrics to wear on a night out (with your ‘going out’ jeans).
A cowl neck is a very loose, drapey high neck – imagine a very oversized roll neck. It drapes down creating the effect of a lower neckline (which, if you are busty, you will know looks way better than a high neckline on you!), while still effectively keeping you covered up. It is a chic and sophisticated style that is very flattering, and if you miss the winter because it’s too hot to accessorize with scarves in summer, you can get that same effect on your neckline without an added accessory. Again, choose jersey fabrics or light knits for daytime, or something silky with a slight stretch for evening. Sleeve length is up to you, though sleeveless cowl necks can be great for summer and also work well under jackets when it gets cooler.
A lightweight, semi transparent kimono style cardigan in a fabric like chiffon can be the perfect casual cover up with jeans, and it is a look that is really in style this summer. Wear it as is, or belt it for a more streamlined look. Choose pretty prints or lace detailing to add femininity and interest, and wear over simple, pretty camisole tops for a great summer jeans look – also works well with the shorts you made by cutting off last year’s jeans!
If you love wearing jeans but don’t want to look boring, pick tops that are in interesting, fashionable cuts and make these the focal point of your outfit!
Marks & Spencer have launched Sculpt and Lift jeansthat allows you to cheat your way to the perfect perky bottom.
For those hoping to transform the untoned bottom into something Kim Kardashian would be proud of, the Sculpt and Lift jeans could be the answer.
M&S Sculpt and Lift jeans use back stitching and new fabric to lift the bottom for a sculpted silhouette
The design features back stitching which claims to enhance the bottom for a better shape, while clever pocket placement gives the illusion of more pertness.
They also promise not to lose their magical lifting power after being thrown in the washing machine as a so-called ‘high power stretch fabric’ claims to retain its ‘great shape’ no matter how many times it is washed.
The jeans are available in three styles, skinny, straight leg and boot leg.
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