Office casual fashions have changed the way women dress for business. Gone are the prim buttoned-up tailored suits, replaced by more informal styles.
However, office casual apparel may carry comparable price tags to its professional predecessor or even higher costs. Today’s stylish working woman may find she must choose her wardrobe carefully, as even office casual attire can become a significant fashion investment.
Such fashions, of course, must walk the proverbial tightrope between traditional executive styling and casual or back-to-school trends of our youths.
What are the top five must-have fashion items for stylish women to wear on office casual days?
A smashing blazer or jacket upgrades the most basic tee and jeans into a polished, pulled-together office casual ensemble.
Choose from leathers, suedes, tweeds and woolen fabrics for superbly tailored jackets. Taller women could choose classic blazers or longer belted styles, while petite ladies might opt for shorter fitted jackets.
Although stylish ladies’ jackets may be found in bright patterns and prints, a minimal office casual wardrobe can be built from a more understated classic choice. A quality jacket in a solid or nearly solid pattern can be matched with unlimited tees, blouses, camisoles, shirts and tops to create countless office-appropriate outfits.
Even an impeccably tailored vest, constructed of quality fabric, can be a prime staple for the basic office casual wardrobe.
Office casual jeans are entirely different from weekend knock-around jeans. Work-appropriate denims generally sport a darker wash, and they are free from fades, studs and shreds.
Ultra low-rise jeans, wide flares and super-skinny legging-style denims are inappropriate for office casual wear as well.
A proper pair of upscale jeans is an office casual wardrobe essential.
Basic chino-styled khaki pants are staples for any woman’s office casual wardrobe. Today’s styles feature flat fronts (no front pleats), are straight-legged and are hemmed without cuffs. Khaki pants may come in a full range of colors, although neutral colors (like beige, brown, navy, tan or black) may prove most versatile for the working woman.
Save the cargo pants and camouflage attire for weekends.
As an alternative, a stylish woman might select a trouser-styled khaki skirt instead.
Trenches are particularly popular now. Stylish women are sporting these classic coats in nearly any length – from trouser length to mid-calf. Trench coats come in basic beige, khaki, brown and black, but they may also be found in bolder colors like red, purple and royal blue.
Proper fit is essential, of course, for the tailored and usually belted trench.
A pair of well-crafted leather boots is the bedrock of a classic office casual wardrobe for a woman. Boots may be ankle-high, mid-calf, or knee-high. The key is quality, and it does not pay to skimp here. Real leather has breathability and wears well, and most synthetics do not compare for daily use.
Bulky and clunky boots, such as the ultra-comfortable fleece-lined slipper boots, are super for weekends, but not exactly classic office casual footwear.
These five basic pieces form the figurative framework of a well-dressed woman’s office casual wardrobe.
Accessories add versatility to basic apparel, particularly for office casual outfits.
These five wardrobe pieces can become innumerable intriguing outfits when they are properly accessorized with interesting scarves, brooches, necklaces and other well-made accessories.
Add a classy and understated leather belt to complete the tasteful office casual outfit.
Dress-up events call for a few extras.
Of course, for dressy occasions and evening outings, every fashion-savvy woman will likely want to have the classic little black dress in her closet, along with a well-tailored pair of black trousers, a tastefully feminine white blouse and a super red blazer or fitted dress jacket.