Thursday, October 17, 2013

Business Casual Without Slacks, Pencil Skirts, or Blazers

You might remember this outfit from the Fall Items Two Ways post with Conversation Pieces.  (Or maybe you don't because you're not a creepy stalker like me--I remember like every single one of Kendi's outfits, even from years ago.  Like I said, creepy stalker.)

I finally wore it this weekend for a recruitment night for the organization I work with.  Since my organization is so casual my attire has a lot of flexibility, and I thought this was a fun way to do business casual without slacks, a pencil skirt, or a blazer.  On the note of business casual, since it seems to be a confusing and ambiguous definition for all of us, I really like this pin on decoding dress codes.  Even though no one ever says "smart casual" I like the illustration to compare the differences between business/smart casual and business/informal, etc.  If you know your organization is more on the casual side, I'd follow the "business casual" laid out in that pin.  If your org is a little more dressy I would consider "business casual" what this pin calls "smart casual."  What do you think, is this helpful?  Which one applies to your work environment?

Shirt #2 is hard to see - it's J.Crew Factory with some stretch.  Option #1 is an extra 40% off, options 2 and 3 are both 30% off!

Links to Shop:
Tops - one  |  two  |  three  |  four
Shoes - one  |  two  |  three

Shop for the Look:
Dress: H&M (similar, similar--sale for $9!)
Top: c/o Conversation Pieces (exact--code PMTFreeShip, similar, similar)
Shoes: Target (exact, similar, similar)
Tote: c/o Conversation Pieces (exact--code PMTFreeShip, similar, similar, similar)


  1. I love dresses, so this is right up my alley!

  2. Love this outfit. Gorgeous way you styled this simple black and white striped dress.



  3. Smart casual is how we say it here in the UK. Smart here refers to dressing neatly/business like.

  4. My work environment is my bedroom, except when my work environment is the street or my patio and I have to dress in a way that matches whatever product I'm modeling, lol. My dress code is "jeans and a t-shirt." But this is very interesting!

  5. I actually love "smart casual". I've once heard it called "snappy casual". I think sI mart casual is a great guideline for those that work somewhere that say they are casual. I thinks it's always best to step it up a notch to look more professional & I think it's easier to go from casual to smart casual than up business casual. With smart casual, you can really have fun with fashion & trends, and also show your personality.
    I am still in graduate school, but plan on teaching college (where the dress code is very relaxed). I envision myself dressing "smart casual".

  6. Ugh. Business casual is so hard for me... but it's how I try to dress every day for work. I should probably invest in a white oxford shirt at some point.
    xx Abby | a geek tragedy

  7. I like "smart casual" too. I really liked the distinction between smart casual and business casual, because I think that's where things get fuzzy for "business casual." Usually when we say "business causal" it can range from what that pin calls "smart casual" to "business casual" and the distinction is helpful.

  8. I think the biggest difference is if your workplace is more conservative (opt for business casual) or offers room for expression (you can experiment with smart casual)

  9. I loved the outfit and the post! I love the idea of "smart casual". I have never heard that term before, but it is perfect to describe a teacher's attire!

  10. I really love this outfit! The black/white + cognac and the pop of red just work!

  11. HappinessatmidlifeThursday, October 17, 2013

    There's no business casual in my office but I would wear this any day of the week. Love it! And I really love the pop of red!


  12. I think it might be a cultural thing, because we use the term smart casual a lot. South Africa in general is a pretty relaxed country when it comes to attire (that is how I find it anyway...) and smart casual is usually what we would wear to weddings or a dinner.

  13. I like the shirt layered under this dress! Really nice look :)

    My office is definitely business causal - most people wear jeans any day, although I try to reserve them for casual Fridays as I often meet with other areas in the company that aren't so casual.

    Away From The Blue

  14. I really like your outfit! I've been doing this lately as a fashion formula - neutral coloured outfit with the pop of colour or pattern in a large summery tote (it's Spring come Summer in Australia!). I get to use my large colourful bags without them having to compete with my outfits :) Cute.

  15. Love the pin on decoding dress codes, as well as the looks! I'm a creepy fashion blog stalker, too. Even though Kendi and I are friends now, T still teases me about stalking her until she became my friend. Shh...don't tell.

  16. I love dresses layered over oxfords! Great look pretty lady!


    Enter to win my Stella&Dot giftcard giveaway!

  17. Your outfits are wonderful - simple, but still cute and modest and not too over the top. Thanks for sharing! :)

  18. Hi Audrey, love your blog! I have a question. In your opinion, can I wear the striped top in the winter? I just purchased the one with the yellow cuffs and I feel it looks like something that should be worn in the spring or summer. What do you think?

  19. I love this outfit, Audrey! It is casually professional (does that even make sense?) and I love how versatile that dress is! I'll need to take note of this outfit so I can recreate it one of these days :)

  20. In australia, people do use the term smart casual (though no one really knows what it means or follows it anyway :P) I would think business casual more dressy than smart casual though? (As smart casual is usually used for social invitations such as engagement party or christmas work party)


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