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Blog Guide

19 Ways to Do Business Casual for Women in 2019

How to dress like a boss for the modern workplace

Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza
Content Strategist

Woman dressed in business casual attire

By Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza

Let’s solve it once and for all: What is business casual for women?

As corporate and business dress codes evolve and become more casual, old guidelines like “business” and “business casual” don’t provide the hard-and-fast guidance they used to. Does that mean blazer or no blazer? Heels or flats? Do I need to wear panty hose? Do they even make panty hose anymore?

Ultimately “business casual” may mean different things at different companies, and every woman is going to wear it differently. So instead of prescribing a standard outfit formula, we’re going to show you 19 ways to interpret women's business casual.

A few business casual guidelines

Okay, so we can provide some guidance as to what this means, or rather what biz casual doesn’t mean.

  • Business casual doesn’t usually call for showing a lot of skin. Mini skirts, midi shirts, short shorts, and super low-cut tops are typically not the best choice for the workplace.

  • If you’re going to do a T-shirt (which can work for business casual, see below), make sure it has some shape to it. That baggy “Corporate Team Building 2015” shirt doesn’t qualify.

  • Business casual doesn’t usually include shorts. No denim shorts, no basic JCrew chino shorts, etc. Most office environments won’t really allow for shorts, so it’s best to feel out office culture and environment first. If shorts do work for your office’s definition of business casual, Britt Lathrece below will show you how to do them right.

  • Jeans. Whether jeans qualify for this dress code will differ with every office, so the best thing to do is just observe the office dress code or ask your manager or an HR rep if jeans are appropriate. Some offices may allow jeans but ask that they not have holes in them.

19 women who rock the business casual look

Erini Christina does business casual with patterned jacquard crop pants, open-toe espadrilles, and a sleeveless navy top.

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Monday ✔️

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Tae, showing us how.

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Outfit of the Day for 4th of July @tommyhilfiger #TommyAdaptive 📷: @simplyinglish • • • • • #4thofjuly #america #ootd #valiantbeauty #heels #beautiful #modeling #model #beauty #wheelchairbeauty #fashionblogger #rollingforchange #diversity #disability #stylist #rollingtomakeadifference #imgmodels #willyscouts #tier1modelmanagement #dreams #heels #nymmscoutingtour #valiantbeauty #fashion #supermodel #slay #disabled #amazing #novababe #nyfw #inspiration

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Business casual with a pop of color.

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self-confidence is the only outfit which can't be ordered, bought or lend. But as confidence is the best outfit for anybody: rock it and own it!✨ #hijabi #hijabibloggers #hijabista #modest #hijabstyle #hijabstyle_lookbook #hijabismycrown #hijabismylife #modesty #casual #hijabfashion #hijabi_bloggers #hijabiselegant #hijabtutorial #sevisworld #jumpsuit #hijabers #hijabs #fathersday #germany #stuttgart #turkey #hijaboutfit #hijaboutfitoftheday #hijabmodern @hijabstyleicon @hijabi_bloggers

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Give me all your queen power in that ivory jumpsuit and ankle-strap heeled sandals, Sunny Zhang. The faux wrap on the top of that suit dresses up the look. This goes straight from desk to drinks.

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A weekday morning at @starbucks PC: a beautiful photographer @sensenv . . . #instagoodmyphoto #moodygrams #photooftheday #moodyportraits #moodyports #portrait #portraitphotography #starbuckscoffee #newyork #eastvillage #modelingphotography #modelings #clubmonaco #peoplescreatives #houseoftones #createyourhype #womenphotographer #warm #summerday #businesscasual #stuartweitzman #约拍 #街拍

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Yes, you can do a T-shirt, Taylor.

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First day back at work and feeling like a woman again! Being a SAHM is the most difficult job in the world and I am so happy to have a bit of me time back. Today I’m wearing this dark green skirt from @hm and my graphic tee is from @zara ❤️. Heels are @sam_edelman from @nordstrom 👏 I usually pick up any elastic waisted skirt I can find because they accommodate bodies through weight loss, pregnancy, food babies, etc! Such a solid addition to work wardrobes! #hm #workwear #nordstrom #zara #businesscasual

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Do not miss that electric lime clutch. That acid wash jacket brings the casual to this business situation.

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You know the dress that you love but can only wear once every six months cause it’s “fancy”? ⁣ ⁣ I believe we should use the “good china” everyday and that means wear that fancy dress to Target! lol⁣ ⁣ To ensure that people don’t look at you crazy I’ve created a YouTube video on “How to Style a Party Dress in 5 Looks” 🥂 ⁣ ⁣ Check it out and let your girl all about it in the comments. ⁣ ⁣ Xoxo ⁣CanDe ⁣ ⁣ To shop this photo:⁣⁣⁣⁣ 1️⃣ Download the @liketoknow.it and follow me @CanDesLand⁣⁣⁣⁣ 2️⃣ Screenshoot my photos and open up the app. All product details will automatically open up.⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣#xoq http://liketk.it/2BPw8 #liketkit #LTKcurves #LTKunder100

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Perfect for fall and winter. Take this from the office to dinner.

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Well my hair just did not want to cooperate 🙄 . . . Turtleneck: @stitchescanada Skirt: @dynamiteclothing Heels: @callitspring Bag: @callitspring Watch: @fossil . . . 📸: @thadsha #torontoblogger #blogger #browngirlblogger #fashionblogger #ootd #ootn #ootdfashion #fashion #fashioninspo #unfairandlovely #melanin #melaninpoppin #dynamitestyle #dynamiteclothing #ootdguide #zarawomen #stitchescanada #callitspring #fossilwatch #whattowear #plussizefashion #plusblogger #ootdgram #humpday

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A blazer is never wrong.

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#Repost @moonflowernalo ・・・ #queer black draco. #fullmoonharvest . . . . 📸: @charliefeet #qwear #queerfashion #queerstyle

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Bright green, navy dots. A little heel.

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I’m twirling into the weekend with this cute skirt from @jessica_london_style. We made it y’all. Happy Friday, loves 💛💛. #imwithjessica #jessicalondonstyle 📸: @black_legend1.0 . . Top: @macys Skirt: @jessica_london_style Shoes: @justfabonline #plussizeblogger #bodypositive

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Homegirl showing us how to do monochrome like she owns the place. Dressed up with a few accent pieces and we are ready for this.

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Off to work 👩🏼‍💻 Die neue Woche startet und wieder fragt man sich, was man an so einem warmen Tag in‘s Büro anziehen soll. Genau zu diesem Thema findet ihr auf www.cestlevi.blog einen Beitrag mit Tipps für den sommerlichen Businesslook und könnt mit wenigen Klicks diesen Look nachkaufen. #cestlevifashion | unbezahlte Werbung

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Leopard print is always right. Always.

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Autumn hues @seedheritage - thanks so much for Mother’s Day love today #fashion #styleover50

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YES, please. Yoana does color and class with those high-waisted slacks and shoulder ruffles we’d like to sleep in.

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The weekend is finally here 🎉 . . . . Trousers same as yesterday @zara , top @coast_stores . . . . #pencildress #pencilskirt #redfashion #allred #officedress #mididress #workdress #elegantdress #elegantstyle #whatiworetowork #classylady #officewear #workstyle #officewear #workwear #workfashion #officeoutfit #workchic #fbloggersuk #prettylittleiiinspo #elegant #elegance #outfitidea #corporatestyle #officechic #wearthisnext #fashionworld #womenstreetstyle #womenoutfit #ootdsubmit

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This is how to do business casual with a kick crop.

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Pay attention to the details. @bally #ballycollective

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This. Is. How. You. Break. The. Rules. If anyone can elevate shorts to business casual it’s Britt Lathrece.

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Ladies, pay close attention, because this outfit is how you tastefully get away with wearing shorts in a corporate work environment! — - Here’s the scoop, this playsuit is another vintage find, but has a fun backstory. I recently went shopping with my girl @leen_leen67, who picked this outfit out (y’all she for real found the diamond in the rough, Aladdin style) and said didn’t you see this? It literally screams Britt! And the rest is history 📸: @hannahschweissphotography

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A moment of silence for Shaheen’s jumpsuit moment, please.

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Told y’all I was into this jumpsuit 💯 Off to Let’s Dance Louisville to watch @a_southerndrawl with my girl @louwhatwear 💃🏽 @liketoknow.it http://liketk.it/2Cvty #liketkit #LTKstyletip #everlane #everlanewomen #jumpsuit

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An ivory blazer, nautical stripes, a little heel.

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I used to worry so much about having my social media’s looking a certain way, appealing to the crowd that I started my account with back in 2012.... but the truth is, we change, we grow and evolve. Don’t ever let anything keep you prisoner to your past. You are allowed to change. My goals are totally different than they used to be. I’m driven by purpose now and I want to fulfill that, in whatever way God leads me to! 1️⃣ Be authentic 2️⃣Follow your purpose ( no matter how unrealistic it seems) 3️⃣Self doubt is of the enemy( don’t listen to it) 4️⃣Trust the process and have faith #livebyfaith #businesscasual #curlyhairinfluencer #accountability #businessfashion #downtowndallas #afrolatina #marketing #socialmediastrategist #authenticity

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We all need more grommets on our business casual strappy sandals.

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business pro-fesh with a twist 💼 bill wears the same outfit everyday 😂 jeans, button up and a suit jacket. i, on the other hand, wear whatever i feel like that day. some days i wear girly dresses, some days i wear more “buttoned up” outfits like this 🙈 — outfit details: @liketoknow.it #liketkit http://liketk.it/2Cyp3 . . . . . #workwear #workwearstyle #workwearfashion #businesscasual #girlboss #everydaystyle #streetstyled #americanstyle #mystyle #outfitinspo #outfittoday #outfitdetails #outfitsideas #outfitblog

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THIS is how to wear a yellow heel—like you invented the color itself.

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IT’S A GIVEAWAY! ✨ @modcloth is giving away a $500 gift card(!!) for you and a friend and i’m wayyy excited about it! earlier this month, in celebration of intl women’s day, @modcloth released a few short films about women who have worked extremely hard to get to where they are. it’s time for you to nominate a woman who has carved her own path and has inspired you. - TO ENTER: it’s so easy, y’all. just post a photo of an amazing gal on your instagram, tag @modcloth and use the hashtag #ownyourown - i can’t wait to see who has inspired you 💕 for more info and to see who has inspired me, check out my stories! happy winning, cuties!!! - #modclothsquad #ad #modcloth #plussizefashion #plussizemodel #psootd #crlookoftheday #seattle_igers #bopo #effyourbeautystandards #andigetdressed #plusmodel #psootd

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Business casual for a rainy day.

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It’s #WorkwearWednesday so you know I had to come with a style tip: Transition your winter looks into spring by adding fresh accessories 🌸 I styled this sweater and polka dot pant combo a few posts ago with wintry grays and thick textures. Now I’m pairing it with a khaki trench and tortoise caged bag for a totally different look perfect for easing your way into warm weather ☀️ Shop My Work Looks and much more by following me on the @liketoknow.it app (@nenaevans) or by clicking the link in my bio! http://liketk.it/2zM3W #liketkit #LTKsalealert #LTKitbag #LTKshoecrush #LTKstyletip #LTKunder50 #LTKunder100 . . . . . #ootdworkwear #itsbanana #chicworkchick #jewul #corporatefashion #corporatestyle #workwearwednesday #officestyle #officefashion #workwear #professionalstyle #styleinspo #discoverunder5k #fashionblogger #bloggerstyle #outfitinspo #richmondblogger #rva #bossgirlbloggers #takenote #takenoteblog

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Best places to buy women’s business casual clothes

Boden

Boden knows how to dress a woman’s body. They have some of the most flattering dress styles out there, plus plenty of bright colors and patterns. Get right to it in their workwear section.

Ann Taylor / LOFT Plus / LOFT

Okay, Ann Taylor gets a lot of crap, but this brand is a solid and consistent choice for business casual basics. Plus, its sister company, LOFT just added sizes up to 26.

Eloquii

If you love a good dress or a pencil skirt, try Eloquii. We love their yummy day-to-night looks made specifically for sizes 14 to 28.

CoEdition

Browse CoEdition’s wear to work section—we love their ultra versatile wrap tops.

M.M.LaFleur

Woman owned, woman designed. Classic and timeless wardrobe pieces and plenty of business casual looks. Shop online with their Bento box or make an appointment at one of their showrooms.

Everlane

Love San Fran–inspired basics? So does Everlane. They sell everything from ponte work pants and silk blouses to basics tees and the world’s best blazers (no, really). They have lots of non-gender-conforming styles as well. Use Everlane to build the perfect base wardrobe.

Banana Republic

Banana republic is killing it with dresses this year. Plus they always have some excellent blazers non-gender-conforming options, and eye-catching accessories.

Stitch Fix

No time for the store? Have your biz cas wardrobe sent directly to you. Inclusive sizing up to 24W and 3X.

ModCloth

For those who like a link funk in their wardrobe—old school think girly dresses and retro silhouettes—ModCloth is a great solution.

Talbots

Talbots offers a slew of versatile wardrobe options no matter your work environment or off-duty style.

Gap

The gap has plenty of looks and cuts for those who like comfort and denim. So much great denim!

Poshmark

Hate paying retail prices? Find gently used business casual options in all your favorite brands on this resale app.

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