A Guide to Business Casual Style in the Summer


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It’s hard enough getting dressed during the hottest days of the year; to then have to worry about looking presentable for work. It may be a lot to juggle, but not impossible to put an outfit together that‘s professional, stylish, and adaptable. From finding new ways to style your denim for casual summer Fridays to stocking up on dresses to get you out the door quickly, and pairing midi skirts with leather jackets. I will be sharing with you tips on how to put together your everyday favorites and create perfect business casual outfits this summer.

What is Business Casual?

“Business” signifies suits and pencil skirts, while casual serves up images of shirts, khakis, cotton, and sneakers. So, how do we put them together, so we can reach a middle ground? Business casual takes a step down from professional office attire, allowing for flat, nice shirts, a cute dress here and there, and sneakers. It’s a deconstructed version of the professional wardrobe, where suit jackets, button downs, and pencil skirts are liberated from their normal pairings and allowed to interact with other elements of your wardrobe. Keep in mind, every office is different so make sure your following the proper dress code.

The Office Dress

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Summertime calls for easy-wearing go-to dresses in soft hues at least once a week. Women's wrap dresses remain a wardrobe staple in many different variations that range from classic to trendy. Wrap dresses are a top favorite, especially for work because they’re helpful for when you need to look extra polished, like say a big meeting or interview. Pair this withered rose dress with nude heels and you’re ready for business.

The Blazer

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A good women’s blazer makes you look put-together, even if you’re just wearing it with sneakers and a t-shirt. But, if your workplace is fairly buttoned-up, you probably wear at least one a week, so why not make it fun? Although blazers were originally meant for the workplace, you can now rock them for pretty much any occasion, from brunch to date night. I’d go for a colorful monochromatic blazer layered over a patterned top or dress. The key is to match the blazer with one of the colors on the blouse.

The Wide-Legged Trouser

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Take a break from your everyday stretchy black pants and enjoy the sophistication of a cotton wide-leg pant. They are just as office-friendly as your regular skinny trousers, this wide-leg silhouette will breath new life into your pant-and-shirt rotation. Not only are they good for the office but women’s wide-leg pants are perfect for a day-to-night look, so if you have any plans after work these are your go-to. And if you’re trying to expand your pants collection beyond black, a dark green is a nice baby step.

The Pencil Skirt

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Skip the regular tight black pencil skirt and go bold in a brightly colored or patterned pencil skirt to spice up your work wardrobe. Go for a sleek skirt that you can easily transition from the office to after-work drinks. The pencil skirt style has a way of looking feminine, professional, and sexy, all at the same time. Think romantic ruffles, eye-catching prints, and contemporary fabrics. These special details make a classic skirt feel fresh and exciting. Style this cheetah print pencil skirt with a white simple blouse and a blazer.

The Blouse

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Let’s trade in our button-downs for an office-friendly top that’s elevated but still comfortable. Feel confident and look polished in a well-styled, printed work blouse paired with women’s black trousers or a pencil skirt. These blouses are easy and effortlessly elegant, the perfect work-to-weekend style.

The Little Black Dress

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When it comes to work attire, the little black dress is always your safest bet. Add simple, good quality pumps and a handbag, tiny pearl or diamond stud earrings and stack some gold/silver bangles on your wrist for a modern finish. You can also add a dash of color to your black dress with shoes, belt, silk scarf or a statement necklace. I suggest choosing two pieces to keep your ensemble sophisticated.

The Button-Down

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No more adding white button-downs to your wardrobe, instead, let’s go for a cool office-friendly alternative that won’t bore you to death. What were once considered classic and recurring garments to wear to work have been replaced with floral prints, polka dots, and bold colors – to spruce up your work life!

The Sophisticated Jean

For those of you who have the advantage of denim being a five-days-a-week affair, and not just limited to Fridays – the sophisticated jean option is for you. Keep in mind that when it comes to wearing jeans in the office, they shouldn’t be frayed, distressed, patched, or overly washed. They must play well with blazers, cardigans, and flats. I’d go for a dark, streamlined pair as you still want to keep it professional but stylish.

Do’s and Don’ts for Office Fashion in the Summer

When the summer comes along, it’s important to update your office wardrobe without overdoing it. Try to stay on trend without looking inappropriate or overly casual at work as it’s still an office setting.
Relax a little. Wear lighter fabrics like cottons and linens in creams and khakis to achieve a relaxed business casual look in the summer. Work casual pieces into your normal work attire, by pairing a t-shirt and a blazer or dark-wash jeans and a professional blouse.

Not Too Casual. Shorts are never appropriate in the office because they look too laid back and can reveal too much. Tank tops are also a no go.

Dress up. Summer dresses are flattering and help you keep cool on humid days. Go for those in light or bright colors and soft, friendly patterns.

Don’t Under Dress. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. You should avoid spaghetti-strapped and strapless dresses and those that reveal too much of the chest, shoulders and back.

No Flip Flops. Flips flops are never appropriate in the office. Too-casual or strappy sandals are also a no-no, and if the shoes are too high to walk in comfortably, leave them at home.

Do accessorize. Use accessories to brighten and update your look. Start off with your basic staples as the foundation, and then add items like an electric-colored belt, a necklace or warm-toned bold lipstick.


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