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As that return-to-office date slowly creeps up on the calendar, so does the uncertainty about what to wear. Whether your employer has reestablished a new dress code or you're expected to go by the same rules, if you're returning to an office, it's probably time to freshen up your closet with more office-ready apparel. Business-casual clothing should be comfortable, while still helping you achieve a polished look: think blazers, tailored skirts, pantsuits, and sheath dresses that fit well and can be easily mixed and matched with your standard basics.
Putting together a stylish outfit with business-casual attire will require tapping into your existing arsenal of layer-able staples like button-ups and dressy T-shirts. But you don't have to be restricted to an everyday uniform. When shopping for business-casual pieces, items like knee-length skirts and close-toed shoes may be at the top of your list, but you can still incorporate your personality with the right accessories. Work in a designer handbag or your favorite statement jewelry to differentiate your business-casual look.
What Is Business Casual?
The term "business casual" has different definitions depending on the company you work for, your job, and your office location. The easiest way to think of it is as a hybrid way of dressing that's in between formal business attire and casual, everyday wear. It's not essential to wear a full suit, necessarily, but ideally your outfit is still "put together" enough to appear as though you gave your wardrobe some thought. Consider mixing interesting separates and accessories, such as a sleek moto jacket and a new piece of jewelry, or keep it relatively safe in neutral slacks and a patterned blouse. From a style perspective, the business-casual approach allows for workwear that's generally more fashion forward and personality driven.
Business Casual vs. Business Professional
While business casual has room for interpretation and allows you to pull from the casual side of your closet more frequently, business professional is a traditional dress code usually reserved for stricter work environments like government, law, or banking. In this setting, suits, blazers, and shirts are neat (no wrinkles!) and tailored. It's best to avoid overly bright colors and keep accessories to a minimum, except for a simple belt or understated jewelry.
Where to Buy Business-Casual Clothes
Go-to spots for the POPSUGAR fashion team to find stylish business-casual clothes include COS, The Frankie Shop, Club Monaco, Henning, Universal Standard, Misha Nonoo, Tibi, Anine Bing, Nanushka, Vince, Veronica Beard, and Victoria Beckham. Continue reading for a curated selection of business-casual items, in addition to a few styling tips.