As you may know, I recently returned to work after maternity leave and made the decision to start my own company. I used to work in an office requiring more formal business attire but this change meant I now needed some simple business casual outfit ideas. If you’re in a mama in a similar situation, simply returning to work after having the summer off, or just want some business casual outfit ideas, my blog post has got you covered!
The transition from maternity leave to the office can be daunting, but with the right business casual outfit ideas, you can confidently step back into the work environment. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore simple business casual outfit ideas that cater to your comfort, style, and the specific looks you’re interested in. Let’s dive into a world of effortless and stylish workwear that’s perfect for your return to work.
Simple Business Casual Outfit Ideas
Understanding the Casual Dress Code and Your Work Environment
Before we jump into outfit ideas, let’s clarify the “casual dress code” and what it means in your work environment. Understanding your company’s office dress codes is crucial. In some workplaces, “casual” means blue jeans and a t-shirt, while in others, it’s a step below traditional business attire.
Example: If your office leans towards a more relaxed casual look, consider pairing a button-up shirt with dress pants for a polished yet comfortable appearance.
You can wear sneakers with dresses, and look stylish. Read my Ideas to Style Summer Outfits post.
Building Your Casual Wardrobe
To ensure you’re always dressed for success, you’ll want to build a well-rounded “casual wardrobe” that complements your style and body type. This wardrobe will serve as the foundation for your return-to-work outfits. The good news is having a few great classic, casual pieces is the easiest way to have a wardrobe that lasts the seasons.
Example: A versatile casual wardrobe might include neutral-colored dress pants that can be paired with various bright-colored blouses, allowing you to mix and match effortlessly.
Mix and Match Staples for Women
Now, let’s explore some key staples that can form the basis of your business casual outfits:
- Button-Down Shirt: A classic button-down shirt is a must-have in any work wardrobe. It can be dressed up with tailored pants or down with jeans for a more casual style.
- Example: Pair a crisp white button-down shirt with navy dress pants for a timeless and sophisticated look.
- Dress Pants: High-quality dress pants are the backbone of business casual attire. Opt for well-fitted, comfortable options that flatter your body type.
- Example: Choose a pair of black dress pants that can be worn with both bright and neutral-colored tops, offering versatility for various occasions.
- Bright Colors: Don’t be afraid to inject some personality into your outfits with bright colors. They can add vibrancy to your work wardrobe.
- Example: Try a bold, bright red blouse paired with charcoal-gray dress pants for a chic and confident look.
- Neutral Colors: Neutral colors are the building blocks of any outfit. They create a cohesive and polished appearance.
- Example: Mix and match beige dress pants with a soft blush button-down shirt for an understated yet elegant ensemble.
Dressing for Your Body Type
Every body is unique, and finding the right outfit that complements your body type is key to feeling confident at work.
Example: If you have an hourglass figure, consider a wrap-style blouse with a belt to highlight your waist when paired with dress pants.
Casual Friday Inspiration
Casual Fridays are a welcome break from the traditional workweek attire. It’s a chance to embrace a more relaxed casual style.
Example: For Casual Fridays, try dark denim jeans with a black blazer and a casual knit top. Add a personal touch with accessories that reflect your personal style.
Staying True to Your Personal Style
Ultimately, your return to work should be an opportunity to express your personal style. Remember that you can adhere to the casual dress code while still showcasing your unique fashion preferences.
Example: If you have a bohemian personal style, incorporate flowy, printed blouses with relaxed-fit dress pants for a boho-chic business casual look.
Casual Shoes: A Staple for Simple Business Casual Outfits
Sneakers can – and absolutely should – be worn with business casual outfits. They can add a touch of comfort and modernity to your look. The brand new Vessi SoHo – just launched September 20! – is exactly what you’re looking for. Inspired by a classic urban sneaker style, the Soho is a sleek design with the added magic of being 100% waterproof. If you live in the Pacific Northwest like I do, this is SO important when you’re literally running between appointments, daycare pickup and dogwalks.
Are Vessi shoes 100% waterproof? I reviewed them to find out.
The key to successfully incorporating sneakers into business casual attire is to choose the right type of sneakers and pair them thoughtfully with your outfit. Here are some tips on how to do it:
- Choose the Right Sneakers: Opt for clean, low-profile sneakers in classic colors like white, black, gray, or navy. I’m in love with the new Vessi SoHo, a classic urban sneaker style shoe that comes in White, Dune Beige, Asphalt Black (black with white soles), and Asphalt Black on Black. Avoid overly sporty or flashy styles, as they may not align well with the business casual aesthetic.
- Pair with Appropriate Bottoms: Sneakers work well when paired with dress pants. I personally love a bright white sneaker with a slim fit pant. This combination offers a nice contrast between the more formal pants and the casual sneakers.
- Balance with a Polished Top: To maintain the business casual look, balance the casualness of the sneakers with a well-pressed button-down shirt, blouse, classic black turtleneck or a structured blazer. This contrast creates a sophisticated yet relaxed appearance.
- Mind the Occasion: Consider the specific occasion and dress code. While sneakers can be perfect for everyday business casual wear, you might want to opt for more traditional footwear like high heels or even ballet flats for important meetings or formal events.
- Accessorize Smartly: Elevate your overall look with the right accessories. A nice watch, belt, or statement jewelry can help tie the outfit together and make it look intentional.
- Keep Them Clean: Since sneakers are more casual, it’s essential to keep them clean and well-maintained. Regularly clean the soles and upper fabric to ensure they look presentable. The Vessi SoHo is the first sneaker made with vegan leather, making cleaning a breeze.
Here’s an example of how to incorporate sneakers into a business casual outfit:
- Pair clean white sneakers with slim-fit black pants.
- Add a tucked-in pastel-colored blouse, a button-down shirt, or a black turtleneck.
- Top it off with a camel coloured coat or a tailored blazer in a complementary color.
- Accessorize with a belt and a wristwatch.
Remember, the appropriateness of sneakers in a business casual setting may vary depending on your workplace’s specific dress code and culture. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to observe what your colleagues wear or consult your company’s dress code policy. Ultimately, when done thoughtfully, sneakers can be a stylish and comfortable addition to your business casual wardrobe.
I wrote an honest review about Vessi Shoes last year. Read it!
Your Questions About Simple Business Casual Outfit Ideas, Answered:
What to wear when going back to the office?
When returning to the office, opt for comfortable yet professional attire that aligns with the casual dress code of your workplace. Consider versatile staples like a well-fitted button-down shirt paired with dress pants. You can add a pop of style with bright or neutral colors, depending on your preference. Prioritize outfits that make you feel confident and reflect your personal style while ensuring they’re suitable for your work environment.
What to wear to the office in 2023?
In 2023, office fashion continues to evolve towards comfort and versatility. Embrace modern interpretations of business casual attire, such as combining relaxed blouses with tailored trousers or midi dresses with blazers. Keep an eye on fashion trends to incorporate contemporary elements into your outfits, and consider eco-friendly and sustainable fashion choices if possible.
What should I wear on my first day back in the office?
Your first day back in the office is a special occasion. Opt for an outfit that balances professionalism with comfort. A classic button-down shirt paired with well-fitting dress pants or a midi dress with a blazer can be excellent choices. Choose a color palette that suits your style, and don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes as you might be adjusting to a more active day.
What should I wear to return to work?
When returning to work, your wardrobe should consist of versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched. Ensure you have essential items like button-down shirts, dress pants, and blouses. Experiment with bright and neutral colors to add personality to your outfits while maintaining professionalism. Prioritize comfort and confidence in your choices.
How can I look stylish at work?
To look stylish at work, start with a well-curated wardrobe of business casual essentials. Pay attention to fit, as well-fitting clothes instantly elevate your look. Experiment with accessories, such as statement necklaces or scarves, to add flair to your outfits. Stay updated on fashion trends, but remember to maintain professionalism in your choices. Confidence is key, so wear what makes you feel great, and your style will shine through.
Business Casual Outfit Ideas for Your Return to Work
Your return to work can be an exciting journey of self-expression through fashion. By understanding the casual dress code, building a versatile casual wardrobe, and choosing staple pieces like the button-down shirt and dress pants, you can effortlessly create simple business casual outfit ideas that align with your body type, personal style, and workplace environment. Remember, confidence is the ultimate accessory, so wear your outfits with pride as you embark on this new chapter in your career.
Welcome back to the office in style!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Vessi Shoes. However, all opinions expressed are my own. #VessiAmbassador
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