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minimalist fashion: the ins and outs of paring down

minimalist fashion: the ins and outs of paring down

what does business casual for women even mean?

by: Maria Del Russo

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November 6, 2020

What do business casual outfits for women look like? Well, that answer depends entirely on a bunch of different factors. In the past, business casual dressing was still incredibly buttoned-up — I’m talking khaki pants, button-down shirts, and pantyhose. It was slightly loosened up from the formal suits and dresses women used to wear, sure. But there wasn’t a lot of room for expression.

Now, things are a little different. Business casual attire is much less strict and much more open to creativity. Depending on which industry you work in, even athleisure can be considered business casual attire.

The beauty of this type of dressing is that it transitions seamlessly from day to night, making it easy to go from a business lunch to drinks with friends.

Sounds easy, right? But in fact, dressing business casual can sometimes cause more stress than just having a formal work uniform. Having so many options can be overwhelming, and everyone’s idea of what “casual” means is different. That’s why having a capsule wardrobe full of polished, tailored pieces that are also insanely comfortable is ideal. You can mix and match versatile pieces, which helps to make them more formal or more casual, depending on what your work day requires.

Still confused? Take a deep breath — I got you. Ahead, I’m laying out business casual outfits by city. Because let’s face it, business casual in New York and LA are completely different.

The Best Business Casual Outfits By City

New York

When in doubt, it’s a good idea to go polished and tailored in New York City. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Athleisure-inspired outfits can still look pulled together enough for an office. And when in doubt, look for darker colors — like navy or black. They go with everything and won’t get dirty on the subway, which is a win-win. A few examples of business casual outfits for the Big Apple include:

  • A jumpsuit paired with a stretchy blazer is streamlined and cool. You can pair this with sneakers, loafers, or kitten heels, depending on what your office vibe is like.
  • One of my personal favorite outfits for a business casual look is jeans with a simple tee shirt, topped off with an interesting blazer. Heels make this look extra chic, and makes this outfit one that easily transitions to a cocktail bar with friends.

 

Los Angeles

LA dressing is much, much different than any other city. The laid back, California vibe is in full effect in Los Angeles — but that doesn’t mean you can roll up in your pajamas. Look for lightweight, colorful pieces that stand out on their own. If your office allows for open-toed shoes, pair them with your favorite business casual outfit. But make sure to pack an oversized scarf — things can get chilly in a hurry, and there’s nothing women in Los Angeles love more than a cute scarf to help keep them warm.

  • Think leggings are too casual for the office? The right pair, like this high-waisted option, can actually work, so long as they’re paired with a tush-covering top. This oversized button-down (which is lightweight enough for warmer weather), paired with a chic pair of flats, has a decidedly ‘90s twist. The best part? You can wear your sports bra under it, making it a great transitional outfit for your group hike or yoga class post-business hours.
  • When the weather dips below 70 degrees, a transitional dress, like this mockneck, long-sleeved dress, is a perfect option to toss on. Your shoes can really help move this look from day to night. Try a pair of espadrilles for dinner, or some sleek sandals for a beachside hangout.

 

San Francisco

In the heart of the tech boom, business casual tends to skew a bit more toward the “business” side of things. But there is still plenty of fun to be had with your dressing. The biggest thing to keep in mind are the microclimates of SF. Temperatures can shift by 10 degrees or more from morning to night, making transitional dressing your BFF.

  • A jumpsuit in an interesting material, like our lovely satin, says “pulled together” and “creative” — a sweet spot in the tech world. Top it off with a swingy sweater if things get a little chilly when you’re headed to a burrito dinner in The Mission.
  • Try your own spin on the classic Silicone Valley turtleneck with our sweatshirt version, which looks just as perfect paired with cropped pants as it does with jeans. The best part? This outfit also works great for sharing a microbrew in Richmond after work.

 

Miami

Don’t think the steamy Miami heat and business casual dressing go together? Think again. It’s all about taking your skin-baring outfits and making them a little more polished. But don’t worry — these outfits look just as cool in the office as they do at the hottest club in town.

  • When in doubt, opt for a dress — like this tailored v-neck option. If your office is a little more conservative, an easy knit can be tossed on from 9-5, and then shed for a night of dancing.
  • Pajama-like dressing is all the rage right now, with people showing up to the coolest clubs and restaurants in head-to-toe cozy wear. The best way to make a comfy (and cool) outfit like this work is by making it monochrome. Pick a pair of satin pants and a satin tee in a similar color. You’ll be shocked by how cool, comfortable, and confident you’ll be.

In general, though, functional and versatile business casual outfits for women are your best bet. They go straight from the office, to the airplane, to the couch, freeing you up to do more with less.

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