How To Finally Nail Business Casual Dressing

For some, one of the biggest pet peeves of working from home is not being able to put your wardrobe full of clothes to good use. Even if you have the option of showing yourself to your colleagues and clients via online meetings, they can barely see what you wear from the waist down. Now that a large part of the world has returned to normalcy and office working is also back in motion, it's time you traded your pajamas for fashionable garments. The world has changed a lot over the past few years and so has fashion, but your dress sense doesn't have to. The clothes you wear, according to Psychologist World, carry impactful messages and project the image of yourself that you want the public to see.

Having said that, you don't have to stay informed of the most sought-out fashion items by season or attend all the fashion weeks there are to know that business casual is the prevailing office dress code. Business casual, per TheStreet, is basically a mix of polished business attires and less formal tweaks. When it comes to business casual, there are many rules, though. For example, instead of a collared shirt, you can wear a tank top under your blazer for a chic but work-appropriate look. But, torn jeans are a straight no-no. 

Don't worry if you're not sure whether the outfit items you have in mind are in bad taste; we're here to help you navigate the esoteric world of office fashion. The key to achieving the business casual look is to know how to mix and match, and we have some fool-proof outfit ideas and styling tips that you can repeat all year long.

Chino pants

A symbol of unstudied glizor and ease of wear, chino pants strike the happy medium between formal and informal, between tailored suit pants and casual pants. The root of chinos harkens back to 1898 during the Spanish-American War when the U.S. armed forces, who were stationed in the Philippines, had their uniforms sourced from Chinese cotton, according to Brooks Brother Magazine. These loose-fitting, plain-fronted pants that feel comfy in the fields and fashionable on formal occasions were given the name "chinos," which is the Spanish word for "China."

After World War II, chino pants grew in popularity and became a fixture in many college students' closets. Boasting lightweight and breathable fabrics that allow comfortable movement, per SANVT, chinos are a symbol of the effortlessly cool American style and a safe bet in any office setting. You can pair chinos with a dress shirt, a polo shirt, a basic tank top, or a V-neck sweater. To complete your stylish, throw-on-and-go ensemble, put on a sports coat or blazer. As a rule of thumb, the lighter the hue, the less formal the piece. Light pastels or beige chinos with a blue striped shirt are a great choice for casual settings, while navy chinos with a white or pink dress shirt give you a timelessly on-trend look.

Sheath dresses

Boasting a fitting silhouette with a straight cut that accentuates your waistline, sheath dresses can help you show off your curves in a classy fashion, according to iFashionGuy. Flattering on the body of those with wide hips and large bust areas, sheath dresses make great investments for your wardrobe regardless of the season. The Wall Street Journal notes that for a snug fit and easy movement, slightly heavy materials with some stretch work best for sheath dresses. For instance, double-faced wool, Ponte knits, or stiff linen blends make great choices of material for sheath dresses.

To obey the business dress code while having fun with layering, go for sheath dresses in solid colors or with small prints with V-neck or crew necklines. Have fun adding a matinée-length pendant for extra flair. To give your outfit a dressier and structured appearance, tie a simple, skinny belt around your waist. When it comes to styling a sheath dress, less is more. If you're a fan of chunky, multi-layered necklaces or bibs, lose the belt. If you can't resist big the allure of belts, double-buckle belts or silk sashes, for instance, leave the necklace at home. 

Your sheath dress should be slightly below the knee length to fit the standard of formality and elegance in many conventional workplaces. If your sheath dress is sleeveless, add a blazer or trapeze coat to complete the style and conceal flabby arms. If jackets aren't your thing, try a dress with three-quarter sleeves.


Comfortable and versatile, sweaters are a timeless fall staple that can go with almost any outfit, per Vogue. From button-back crewneck sweaters to cropped wool-blend sweaters, you can style sweaters with chinos, jeans, or knee-length skirts for a preppy look. If you're a fan of hoodies, which are always in the gray area when it comes to office fashion, you might want to check with your management about your company's dress code before wearing them to work. Hoodies can be a no-go in some companies but accepted in those with a more relaxed culture. 

There are myriad sweaters to choose from, but the most functional ones with which you can experiment a diversity of styles are V-necks and crew neck sweaters, per Hansen's Clothing. For instance, you can wear a V-neck sweater with a tucked-in dress shirt underneath. For an ultimate geek-chic look, put on a tie or a bow. Another way to pull off a warm (but cool) look with a chunky sweater is to wrap it around your shoulder on top of a dress shirt or polo shirt.


You can never go wrong with blazers, be it in a boardroom or a social gathering. While this suit jacket can elevate any attire it pairs with to a level higher than casual and sits well in any setting, its root was actually found in sports. Blazers, according to Renoon, used to be worn by oarsmen at Oxford and Cambridge in the 19th century. From the '90s until now, blazers have been enjoying massive popularity among both men and women. 

Blazers come in all shapes and sizes, from single-breasted that suits all occasions to double-breasted varieties that go well in formal settings. Some types of blazers that you'd want to add to your office wardrobe include side tie blazers, belted blazers, peplum blazers, and open front blazers. Linen blazers and tweed blazers are commonly seen in formal gatherings. Velvet and cotton blazers with a more dynamic feel are also appropriate workplace attire.

From a cool XXL blazer to pair with a crop top to a fitting blazer that flatters your big bust, there are numerous styles to pick from. You can ultimately choose between a full-length or a three-quarter length arm style, per 40+Style. If you choose a full-arm style, make sure the arm length isn't too long or too short. For bottoms, chino pants or wide-leg pants that sit high at the waist are great options for oversized blazers. A pleated skirt or a ruffled midi skirt are less formal but still look sharp.

Oversized shirts

Loose-fitting and comfy, oversized cotton shirts have a low-key cool factor about them. A supersize shirt with a classic white or blue color and striped fabrics come with endless possibilities for high-low dressing, per The Guardian. As a general rule, you need to balance out the look with a slimmer fit from waist down. For example, you might want to pair the shirt with legging, skinny jeans, chino pants, or an A-line skirt. A striped shirt with supersize sleeves, according to Stylist, is an essential that will add tremendous flair to your spring and summer wardrobe. The same style shirt in gingham and checkerboard prints can also add a casual chic feel to your look. Depending on the size of the shirt against your body, you can wear it as a dress and cinch the midsection with a tiny belt, or half-tuck it into your jeans or chinos for an easy-breezy, off-duty aesthetic. You can also wear your oversized shirt like a jacket over a dress with thin shoulder straps.

Sartorial trends are ever-changing. Some of them have gone full circle in a matter of centuries. The key to dressing well is not to spend a fortune on clothes, but to know what your true closet staples are and match them with the right accessories. Only once you've gotten a sense of what goes with what should you decide on additional specifics like brands and price tags.