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Blog Insight & Commentary

How to Dress for Business Professional Attire 28 Ways

Step aside, boss coming through

Beth Castle
Managing Editor, InHerSight

Woman wearing business professional clothing

When you picture business professional attire, you might remember the first suit you ever owned—probably something you bought in college or right after for job interviews: It was ill-fitting and itchy, and you worried you’d never make it in the working world if you had to dress like this every day. 

But business professional attire today isn’t like that horrible suit at all. It’s much, much more fashionable than that.

Business professional is a step up from business casual and likely on par with what you’d wear to an interview at most workplaces. It’s typically defined as more conservative in cut, color, and pattern, though a lot of those factors are dependent on fit and presentation. As many of the outfit ideas below show, pattern and color can make you stand out in the best way when the clothes are tailored and well-kept.

Tips for choosing business professional attire

  • If you’re unsure how to properly dress for your office, start with neutrals like black, gray, brown, navy, or cream. Work in accessories as you become more comfortable.

  • Make sure all clothes are neat, clean, and tailored. No, you can’t tumble dry the wrinkles out of your clothes, you’ll need an iron or a clothes steamer.

  • In the past, business professional would have required you to remove all facial piercings and cover up tattoos. As culture around this changes, ask your manager—this will now depend on workplace.

  • Save the power clashing for your off-time. Wear jewelry that adds to and doesn’t distract from your outfit.

28 business professional outfit ideas

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Happy Monday! Today, #ontheblog I continue my #journeytoattorney by discussing the second year of law school. This @jcrew suit combination is perfect for the courtroom or the office because it has enough stretch for you to move around freely. I love it! πŸ“Έ @cnarobertsphotoβ €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € •β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € •β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € •β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € •β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € Follow me on the LIKEtoKNOW.it app to get the product details for this look and others http://liketk.it/2E5LR @liketoknow.it β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € •β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € •β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € •β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € #courthousecouture #wiw #professionalfashion #businessprofessional #jcrew #professional #ladylawyer #attorney #lawyer #akalawyer #focused #bookedandbusy #stylechallenge #fashionblogger #houstonblogger #workwear #liketkit #essencefashion #ladylawyersleague #corporateminority #corporatelaw

A post shared by Courtney πŸ’—πŸ’š (@courthousecouture) on

We call this look “courthouse chic.”

Vibe: The public defender.

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Destiny, can't touch my destiny Dem ah try everything Dem ah try take me life But I won't let them get the best of me (best of me) Destiny, can't touch my destiny πŸ”₯ 🎡 πŸ”ŠπŸ”₯ #Destiny #Burna #Mood #Woman #WomenOnTop #Workaholic #WorkAttire #FormalWear #WorkWear #OOTD #FashionBlogger #Fashionnova #Fashionable #Suited #SuitStyle #SuitUp #RezFashion #TheFashionablePharmacist

A post shared by Resego Rabana (@rezzz_gee) on

Yes, my contract does require a company car.

Vibe: The decision-maker.

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βœ”οΈ Be a boss. πŸ‘‰ Have your own business. Become an entrepreneur. Become the CEO of your life. Be the hardest hustler anyones ever seen and accomplish the goals you have always wanted to achieve in this 🌍 β™› βœ”οΈ Date a boss. πŸ‘‰ Find someone who shares your traits. Someone who is as much of a hustler as you. That way you'll know it's genuine and equal. β™› βœ”οΈ Build an empire. πŸ‘‰ Share, and execute on your ideas. Build an empire together and don't let nothing come between you both pursuing your dreams... πŸ’―

A post shared by The Boss Logic Creative Agency (@thebosslogiccreative) on

This boss business woman bringing personality to the board room.

Vibe: The trailblazer.

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“The big challenge is to become all that you have the possibility of becoming. You cannot believe what it does to the human spirit to maximize your human potential and stretch yourself to the limit.” —Jim Rohn #workwear #businesscasual #ootdfashion #9to5chic #ootd #lawyerfashion #attorneyfashion #workfashion #businessfashion #workstyle #workstyleinspiration #9to5style #lawyerstyle #attorneystyle #workwearfashion #businessprofessional #fashionover30 #over30style

A post shared by The Elegant Lawyer (@theelegantlawyer) on

For no-stress dress-up, opt for all-black attire and simple jewelry.

Vibe: The project lead.

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I HAVE AN EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT: (I forgot to make it on my work insta but if you follow me on FB too you’ve already seen this!!πŸ€ͺ) After nearly 3 years of working as an Admissions Representative.....πŸ™ˆπŸ₯**DRUM ROLL**πŸ₯I have been promoted to Associate Director of Admissions!!! AHHHHH!! #Goals πŸ₯³β£ -⁣ -⁣ In my time as an Admissions Representative I’ve been able to help HUNDREDS of Military Spouses, Active Duty and Vets pursue their education and make countless relationships along the way!! Nothing in the world makes me more happy than being able to watch someone else make themselves PROUD!!πŸ₯°πŸ™Œβ£ -⁣ -⁣ I officially started my NEW position with the college almost 2 weeks ago now, as a manger for the Instagram Admissions Department Team!πŸŒŸπŸ˜±πŸ’œThat ALSO means if you want to stay in touch... I’ll be on here a lot more. So, please follow me in my journey!πŸ™πŸΌ I feel SOO lucky to be working with such amazing ladies, getting to do all things Social Media, AND continuing to work toward one common goal of helping others!! ⁣ -⁣ -⁣ The universe really does incredible things. Believe in yourself and you’re half way there! πŸ’« 🌍 ⁣ #HappyGirl #LifeIsSoGood πŸ¦„

A post shared by A L E X A N D R A (@milsowifehappylife) on

Blazers and knits make chilly offices year-round bliss.

Vibe: I’ll take that raise now.

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πšƒπš›πšŠπš—πšœπš™πšŠπš›πšŽπš—πš π™Όπš˜πš–πšŽπš—πš: Even after 6 years of practice, starting at a new hospital, in a new specialty has my confidence shaken a bit. That’s when it’s time to hit that power pose and remind yourself how far you’ve come. #Adβ € β € Wearing pants that can take me from work wear to yoga bae is an extra confidence booster. @betabrand_hq's Plentiful-Pocket Dress Pant Yoga Pants have 8 pockets, wears perfect with a blouse or scrub top and they’re comfy enough to move in. I love that my phone fits so easily in the pockets.β € β € Use code ONYI for 20% off any style or color of Betabrand's Dress Pant Yoga Pants.β € β € Wearing a Petite Medium #MyBetas

A post shared by Onyi | Mom & Lifestyle Blogger (@sincerelyonyi) on

Traditional yet playful.

Vibe: I own my own business.

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And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.” Iain Thomas #workwear #businesscasual #ootdfashion #9to5chic #ootd #lawyerfashion #attorneyfashion #workfashion #businessfashion #workstyle #workstyleinspiration #9to5style #lawyerstyle #attorneystyle #workwearfashion #businessprofessional #fashionover30 #over30style

A post shared by The Elegant Lawyer (@theelegantlawyer) on

Forest green is the new black

Vibe: One day, this company could be yours.

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Some days, my husband takes my photo and I’m amazed at how tall and leggy I appear. And other times like this, I look exactly my 5’3” self. πŸ˜‚ High heels aren’t going to change it either! This look published on WO2 this morning and I encourage you to go check it out. Sure, everything except the shoes were gifted to me but I go into why I chose them and continue to wear them. For example these pants: they’re part of a lady tux I wore for a sponsored post with @talbotsofficial back in 2017. I love the suit so much I’ve had it tailored twice to work with my changing body. Go through my archives and there are several posts of me wearing the suit or the pieces separately. The bag was a holiday gift from an affiliate company and continues to be one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe. The jewelry is from @realm and it is so unique, stylish, and beautiful I craft outfits around it to be able to wear it more often. And this blouse is a new arrival from @universalstandard. I share on WO2 not only how I styled it here but previous ways and details on quality, fit, and care. I receive free clothing as part of my job, but with it I try to offer detailed and useful reviews, multiple styling options, and choose carefully so I can wear the pieces over and over again. I truly believe you achiever greater style with fewer items in your closet and I hope to showcase that through my outfit posts. That you don’t need my wardrobe, but hopefully my ideas will inspire you to see your closet with fresh eyes. But back to this look: this blouse is luxe and beautiful and machine washable and available sizes 00-40. It looks pretty tucked in or left out. These pants are old but the past two holiday seasons Talbots has offered essentially the same lady tux separates in regular, petite, and plus sizes and it’s one of the best items in my closet. These shoes are years old, cost $35 on ASOS and are some of the most comfortable heels I own. And I’m always down for a clutch purse that adds style while also being a conversation starter; I found similar on Etsy and link to it. Stop on by WO2 I look forward to seeing you!

A post shared by Alison Gary | Wardrobe Oxygen (@wardrobe_oxygen) on

How sweet is her curly haired ’do with that subtle cowl neck?

Vibe: Don’t underestimate me.

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I love it when color adds a flare to my skirt (pun intended). New post on the blog today about why you need more than a black pencil skirt for work. Link in bio πŸ€— ———— Skirt:@nyandcompany πŸ“Έ: @essianaaf . . . . . #profashionaldame #ootdworkwear #officestyle #officeoutfit #corporateoutfit #girlboss #bosschick #chicworkchick #dressforsuccess #officelook #workfashionblogger #bossbabe #workchic #workfashion #dressforwork #businesswoman #businesswear #workattire #corporatechic #whatiworetowork #weartowork #womeninbusiness #workfashionblogger #9to5chic #workootd #workfashioninspo #workskirt #ipreview

A post shared by Ms. Anyoh (@profashional_dame) on

Here, Ms. Anyoh proves business professional doesn’t have to be boring. Vibe: Color me promoted.

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What color is this suit? Pink or purple. Please don't do like my 7 years old daughter and give me fancy name😁😁😁 ---- If you're curious on what color my daughter thnks this suit is, check my stories. ---- This post is still on my blog.

A post shared by BukkyDare Pay less 2 look good (@bukkydare) on

This monochrome stunner makes every presentation a showstopper.

Vibe: It’s power hour.

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Happy Monday Dames! Be so happy that when others look at you, they become happy too. ———— I have had so many questions about my work pants, so I am thinking about writing a blog on my favorite pants for work. Let me know if you have any more questions. ———— Sending you good vibes this week and always πŸ€— . . . . . #profashionaldame #ootdworkwear #officestyle #officeoutfit #corporateoutfit #girlboss #bosschick #chicworkchick #dressforsuccess #officelook #workfashionblogger #bossbabe #workchic #workfashion #dressforwork #businesswoman #businesswear #workattire #corporatechic #iamnyandco #expresslife #whatiworetowork #weartowork #womeninbusiness #workfashionblogger #9to5chic #workootd #workfashioninspo

A post shared by Ms. Anyoh (@profashional_dame) on

High waist, animal prints, and a look that says, “Yes, I will make partner one day.”

Vibe: The standout candidate.

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Dare to be bold! #fashion #fashionpost #fashiongram #fashionista #fashionlover #fashionaddict #fashionable #fearless #womanincharge #empowerment #style #mystyle #stylish #whatIwore #lookoftheday #ootd #ootdhijab #fashionhijab #hijabstyle #brave #parsonsxteenvogue #parsonsschoolofdesign #highheels #photooftheday #fashionphotography #thisisellezahra

A post shared by Elle Zahra (@itsellezahra) on

Every accessory matters.

Vibe: The disrupter.

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photo credit @women_work_attire Credits @_simplistic_eleganceβ €β €β €β € .β €β €β €β €β €β €β € .β €β €β €β €β €β €β € .β €β €β €β €β €β €β € #corporatestyle #chickworkchic #workwear #9to5style #discoverunder10k #fashionstatement #corporatestyle #fashioninspo #fashionaddict #everydaystyle #realoutfitgram #ladyboss #ootd #girlboss #whattowear #corporatewear #corporate #workattire #suits #office #9to5 #corporatestyle

A post shared by Slav Dimitrov (@halfoff_women_clothes) on

This belted trench is the creme de la cream.

Vibe: There’s no need to ask for references.

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Winter seperates series: Neautrals are trending at the moment. Here is my winter take. Love the movement in that bag! πŸ“Έ:@emilyblackphotography #businesscasual #businessstyle #professionalwomen #professional #professionalstyle #business #winterfashion #winter #fashion #workattire #workwear #accessories #leather #fringe #boots

A post shared by Rai Jones (@sauv_blancsocialist) on

It’s the outfit we always dream we can pull off—and then we do.

Vibe: These boots are for ladder climbing.

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Think differently! It’s your super power!β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € πŸ’ͺβ €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € Advice from professional women: β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € πŸ‘©πŸ»‍πŸ’Όβ €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € “Embrace the power of being a female. You think differently than others, and there is nothing that should cause you to shy away from that.“β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € πŸ’«β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € #protiptuesday πŸ™Œ

A post shared by Jill Leslie (@jilliepants) on

Her other suit is a lawsuit.

Vibe: Fearless leader.

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Business Meeting Monday πŸ’Όβ£ ⁣ For all my girlfriends who work in business professional environments, how hard it is it find a fabulous navy pantsuit?! ⁣ ⁣ The Chance Wide Leg pant is so flattering & gives you legs for days! πŸŽ‰πŸ€ŸπŸΌ I paired it back to the Smooch Cami everyone is just in love with + the Chance Jacket, which goes with everything! 🀩 To finish off the look, I added the Flaunt Scarf for a fun girly look - also a total must have from this collection πŸ’πŸ»‍♀️⁣ ⁣ Love this look? Shop the link in my bio πŸ’»β£ ⁣ #smoochcami #chancewideleg #chancejacket #businessattire #businessprofessional #officeoutfit #flauntscarf #livecollorfully #cabistylist #cabi #ootd #fashionblogger #fashion #wardrobebuilder #stylist #personalstylist #cabispring2019 #getthelook #passionforfashion #fashionfinder #fashionaddict #fashionpost #fashionlover #fashionstyle #outfitoftheday #lookoftheday #outfitpost #todayimwearing

A post shared by Cristette Cadriel (@ccstylesyou) on

Oh, how we love an ascot.

Vibe: Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

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Proudly South African πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡¦ How can I not be when great things are happening around us. πŸ˜ƒ Outfit: #madeinsouthafrica

A post shared by Londile Black (@londileblack) on

A pop of color dresses up versatile basics.

Vibe: I’m leading this meeting.

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The more queer women recover from the femme/stud dichotomy, the more they are discovering a love for fluid presentations. Article link in bio! @dnacoqueerstyleblog πŸ“Έ @gabkirsch . . . . . . #femme #stud #lesbianstyle #lesbianfashion #queerstyle #queerfashion #suits #queersuits #qwear

A post shared by Qwear (@qwearfashion) on

Perfectly put together double-breasted plaid.

Vibe: Management material.

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I hope that everyone had a safe and amazing Fourth!!! My shoes are under $30 @liketoknow.it @tommyhilfiger http://liketk.it/2D6wz #liketkit #ltkunder50 #fourthofjuly #july4th #ootd #tommyadaptive #beautiful

A post shared by TaeMcKenzie (@tae_mckenzie) on

It’s the blue pumps that give this outfit lift.

Vibe: The best boss you’ve ever had.

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Again with the colors combinations;-) you can almost do anything with a black dress as a canvas!!! Super cute @dressbarn cheetah duster, and add a flair of any colors! I decided orange today with this earrings/belt/shoe combo!!! #curvyworkwear #biggirlslayage #thisiswhatadoctorlookslike #surgeonmon #twinmama

A post shared by Curvy Workwear (@curvyworkwear) on

Business professional is a cinch.

Vibe: CEOs just wanna have fun.

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The lovely @gwenhyfarartemis in a three-piece #suit with contrast lining!

A post shared by King & Allen Bespoke Tailors (@kingandallen) on

This three-piece is the power move.

Vibe: Expert brand manager.

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Corporate goff (Pro tip: if u hate ur job wear a body suit and a jumpsuit at the same time and u can spend an extra 15 minutes away from ur desk every time you have to pee) #shavedbrows#allblack#ootd#sheer#meshtop#jumpsuit#workwear#whatiwore#altfashion#alternative#fashion#gothgf

A post shared by Rowan (@rosiekaposie) on

A rarity: The elusive business professional open-toe look.

Vibe: Young, qualified, and competitive.

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Happy #WorkWearWednesday Everyone! Having a little bit of witchy vibes for work today πŸ˜‚ but once again I love midi skirts for work. Pairing sweaters with a skirt is also a super easy way to transition your work wardrobe into fall and this sweater is thin enough I can throw a blazer over if needed for a meeting. Shop this look at http://liketk.it/2Eabu #liketkit #ltkunder50 #workstyle #workwear #workwearstyle #workootd #allblackoutfit #allblackeverything #amazonfashion #amazon #hm #nordstrom #target #ootd #style #fashion #blogger #styleblogger #fashionblogger #detroitblogger #michiganblogger #midwestblogger #midwestbloggers #darlingdetroiter

A post shared by Darling Detroiter (@darlingdetroiter) on

Have we mentioned black is very, very easy to dress up?

Vibe: Laid back but powerful.

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I’ve decided to share more of my work outfits with you all because that’s what I wear most days and sometimes I think my outfits are really cute! Here’s to hoping you all do too! πŸ˜…πŸ™Œ So here is my “Work Wear Wednesday” look and you guys this blazer is the most comfortable thing ever! The material is super light and it it not restricting at all in the arms— Huge plus! Better than that, right now it’s less than $10, but hurry only sizes S and M left! You can instantly shop my looks by following me on the LIKEtoKNOW.it app @liketoknow.it #liketkit #LTKcurves #LTKsalealert #LTKunder50 #LTKworkwear

A post shared by βž•Beeβž• (@romanticrealiststyle) on

This blazer is giving us Pretty in Pink feels.

Vibe: The networker.

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Happy Wednesday πŸ’• This might be my favorite work outfit to date, the subtle pops of color make it make it feel very feminine and put together! I linked my exact pants and also a similar style that is half the price!! http://liketk.it/2E9Mt @liketoknow.it #liketkit #LTKworkwear #LTKunder100 #thetechionistaworkwear

A post shared by Isabel | The Techionista (@thetechionista) on

Simply chipper, from her topknot to her pointed toes.

Vibe: Social media whiz.

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Happy Workwear Wednesday!! βš–οΈπŸ’• Does this dress look familiar? 🧐 It should! I wore it as part of this exact monochromatic look to work last week and then later in the week posted a pic of it styled with a chambray shirt. Wait.... omg....Could this be the most versatile $22 dress ever?? πŸ€”πŸ˜³ I’ve shared two ways to wear it, and over on the blog I’m sharing several more, including some ideas to help you transition into fall!β˜ΊοΈπŸ‚ . And speaking of fall... I have it on good authority from an inside source😎 that pumpkin spice is coming back to Starbucks VERY soon.🀫😏 How do we feel about that?? I mean, I feel like a badass for knowing πŸ€“ but I meant what do y’all think about it coming back in August? Too soon? Not soon enough? I know at least one of my favorite followers will be VERY happy.πŸ˜‰ . . ⭐️Three ways to shop my looks⭐️ 1️⃣ Follow me on the free @liketoknow.it app (HEELSANDVALLEYS) 2️⃣ Use the link in my bio (and please open it in your browser, not your appπŸ™πŸΌ) 3️⃣Screenshot this picπŸ“² http://liketk.it/2E9Hd #liketkit @liketoknow.it #LTKunder50 #LTKworkwear #LTKstyletip #LTKitbag #LTKcurves #heelsandvalleys #workwearwednesday

A post shared by 𝕃𝔸ℕ𝔻𝔼ℝ (@heelsandvalleys) on

We can’t believe she gets away with wearing silk in Texas either.

Vibe: I’m meeting a client for dinner. It’s Tesla.

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