I’ve heard from many women who want help with business casual style. In particular, either how to adapt outfits to make them appropriate for work (especially with the PMT Challenges outfits) or how to navigate a wardrobe that needs to include business casual as well as non-work style. I think there are a few key go-to components that can make both of these things fairly simple, so today I’m partnering with ModCloth to share a few tips to make it easy to style your tops for both work and play!
ModCloth is full of cute and unique pieces that make your wardrobe a LOT more fun. While ModCloth has casual items, many, many of their pieces fall into the dressy casual realm, so check them out if that’s what you’re looking for!
Let’s talk key things that will allow you to easily remix your pieces between work and play!
1. Start with Dressy Casual Tops
In the Spring Style Profiles I talked about how the Dressy Casual profile transitions fluidly between both casual or business casual, and this outfit and the one below will illustrate the latter.
Look for tops that aren’t jersey material or knits–unless we’re talking sweaters, of course. Also look for tops with special details like prints, a good drape, pleats, lace, buttons, or ruffled sleeves. Both of these characteristics instantly take an outfit up a notch in professionalism or dressiness.
The white top above is a great example of that. It has a looser, flowy drape in addition to ruffled sleeve details, which make it dressier than a plain white cotton t-shirt. For a going out look, I simply paired it with jeans, peep toe booties, and a statement necklace. Then I added this mint bag which is such a pretty color and adds a light, airy spring feel to outfits!
Below you can shop other tops from ModCloth that work in the dressy casual realm but can also be worn in a business casual office with the right pairings. (We’ll talk about those pairings in the rest of this post!)
2. Shoes Can Define an Outfit
I’ve heard Stacy and Clinton say that shoes are the punctuation mark of an outfit. For example, swapping out a pair of sneakers for a pair of heels with the exact same outfit can instantly turn it from casual to date night ready. Shoes can define the outfit, so your shoe choice is one very easy way to make a look more office ready.
In the first outfit for the going out look, I used peep toe booties. But, I would never wear those in a business casual setting. Even in this exact same outfit with olive green slacks (not casual jeans!), it wouldn’t feel appropriate for the office with peep toe booties. These super cute, colorful, loafer-like flats, on the other hand, make the outfit much more professional—but still fun! Then, to make the whole outfit pop, I bookended it with a coral necklace that echoes the orangey coral colors in the shoes.
If you’re looking for some FUN spring flats, ModCloth has a ton! Shop them through the widget below:
3. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Pants
A lot of people get hung up on not being able to wear jeans to the office. While in *some* cases, it’s hard to just switch out jeans for business casual appropriate pants, in most cases it totally works. Especially if you’re starting with a dressy casual top!
In this office friendly look, I paired an olive sweater with grey slacks and yellow accessories. This is very similar to a casual outfit from last month (also with ModCloth) where I paired this same sweater except in lavender with the exact same yellow necklace and yellow flats shown here. (Both of which, btw, I am still loooooving!) The major differences, besides the color of the sweaters, was that in last month’s casual outfit I was wearing jeans, and here I’m wearing pixie pants. That simple swapping of pants goes a loooong way!
(I wish I could have used the same colored pants to illustrate it even more, like white jeans/slacks or grey jeans/slacks. But at 35 weeks pregnant my pant options are limited! This old post on Changing Styles With the Bottom Half does the trick though.)
Shop dress pants though the widget below:
4. Denim Dresses It Down
Lastly, my default way of dressing something down is by adding denim. Whether it’s wearing a pair of jeans or adding a denim jacket, denim totally does the trick!
This is a springy casual look that you could wear to the farmer’s market or out to brunch on the weekend. Not only did I add denim, but I also used tip #2 and swapped the shoes for this incredibly adorable pair of peep toe flats. They are SO CUUUUUTE, and the part around the toe is soft, flexible, and comfortable! Winners for spring!
Hopefully with a few of these tricks you can easily transition more of your pieces between casual and business casual!
Created in partnership with ModCloth
*These pics were taken at 35 weeks pregnant