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What Does Business Casual Mean In Today’s Workplace?

Throughout history what has been the ‘normal’ women’s clothing style has changed significantly. In the 1800’s it was scandalous to show your ankles. As society changed and evolved, so did fashion. The norm for womens fashion became more form fitting and shorter in length. Before long we had entered a time when women wore pants and shorts. While we have come a long way there are still certain unspoken social rules we follow, fashion and otherwise. Certain things are only appropriate in the right situations. It’s not like you’d wear your Sunday best just to go grocery shopping or your bathing suit out for a fancy dinner… At least I don’t do that. But, you get my point. Dressing for the occasion is very important. So how are you dressing for work; a place that you’re spending a lot of your time at?

The most common, and timeless, work outfit is the pantsuit. As you know, I’m obsessed with blazers and tailored pants. This has been my go-to business outfit for years. Another business outfit is the chic pencil skirt and blouse. Both these outfits can be paired with heels to add the finishing touch of ‘professional and put together.’ 

Now, I know I just said these outfits are my go-to, but fashion has evolved and so have some of my work outfits. My modern and updated work wardrobe has the same big ideas of my pantsuits, with just a few small differences. Changing something small, like sneakers instead of heels, can completely redefine an outfit. Keeping the tailored pants and blazer with sneakers is very important. Business outfits are very delicate in the sense that they are one wrong step away from being too casual. So if you’re in a sneakers mood make sure you’re still wearing a pantsuit. 

Another twist I’ve added, especially this summer, is wearing fancier shorts with the traditional blazer and heels. Wearing the traditional pantsuit is a sure fire way to look cute, but isn’t always the most comfortable once the weather starts getting warmer. The only way these types of outfits work is if the shorts are the same material as your blazer. This is a good way to check that you haven’t gone too casual. Make sure to wear heels with this outfit, even if it’s only a small heel or wedge. 

If you’re feeling more casual than usual you can swap out a fancy blouse with a graphic tee. Yes, you read that right! Graphic tees are ok to wear to work again! I know it sounds impossible to be business professional while wearing a graphic tee, but paired with the right shoes and accessories, you can pull it off. For example, you can pair your tee and heels with a skirt, pants, or even those fancy shorts! Whichever you choose it’s smart to add some sort of jacket on top to finish off the look. 

As fall quickly approaches and the weather is getting cooler, you may be wanting to ignore your skirts all together. To help give your work wardrobe more variety you can use some of you jeans for the new business casual! One of the most important things to look out for when you bring jeans into the equation, is to make sure there’s no holes in them. These outfits, like the rest, need to be paired with some kind of heels. Adding a chic blazer makes sure that this outfit is still business casual. 

After seeing my modern work wardrobe I hope you can see that being cute and casual is possible in many work places in this day and age. You can always take your current work wardrobe and make them a little more trendy with your own unique accessories. Bold is beautiful! One way to embrace the boldness is to incorporate plaid into your outfit. As you can see, I am crazy obsessed with this pattern. Because of how popular it is now, it is very easy to find plaid blazers, pants, and skirts nearly anywhere.

Another way to stand out at the office? Fire engine red, baby! Is it getting hot in here or what?

Wearing lots of red is said to improve confidence and make others pay attention to you, and hopefully that means you’ll get the raise you’ve been craving. I love this look I created with this bold suit paired up with my favorite classic Adidas sneakers.

Most of these new business casual outfits are things that are already in your closet! Take advantage of the modern business outfits and reinvent what you already have! Not only are these outfits going to make you feel more confident, but they’re the perfect balance of casual and business for people to see you as the intelligent business woman you are.

With all the changing dress code standards in the work place, is your job the kind where you can show up in a pair of leggings, flip flops, and t shirt and fit right in, or would you be caught dead without a tailored suit?

Photo credit: @colorandgrace // @v.stoimirov

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Grace

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I am an Inner-Power coach. I transform people to get what they want by using their body wisdom to activate their inner-power and remove emotional blocks.

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