Susan Miller

·Master of Fine Arts in Jewelry Design, Pratt Institute, 2012

·Bachelor of Arts in Gemology, University of California, Los Angeles, May 2005

·Editor-in-Chief, White Victoria (2018 - present)

·Write and research feature articles and profiles for print and online publication

·Contributing Writer, Modern Jeweler and Ornament

·Write and publish freelance articles for IGS and WSJ Magazine

·Jewelry Appraiser (2012 - 2020)

Business casual for women is a style of clothing that is quite popular in the workplace. It allows you to look professional without being overly formal and gives you the freedom to express your style. However, with so many different types and trends in fashion, it cannot be easy to know what sorts of things are acceptable in a business casual setting. 

As a fashion stylist, I have helped women create business casual outfits that look polished, professional, and stylish for many years. In this article, I will share tips and tricks to help you find the perfect business casual look. 

business casual for women

We will discuss what pieces of clothing are appropriate and how to pair them together to create the perfect business casual look. We will also go over some great examples of business casual for women so you can get inspired and build your unique look. 

So if you’re ready to take your professional style up a notch, let’s get started and explore the world of business casual for women. 

Business Casual 2023 FAQs

Can you wear jeans for business casual?

business casual for women

Yes, you can wear jeans for business casual, depending on your workplace’s environment and dress code. Generally, dark-wash straight-leg jeans are most appropriate for business casual. However, you can also opt for trousers, jeans, or bootcut jeans if you prefer a more formal look. 

What shoes count as business casual?

Business casual shoes for women generally include loafers, ballet flats, moccasins, oxfords, and heeled sandals. Stick to neutrals, like black, brown, tan, and navy, for a more professional look. Avoid any shoes with overly flashy or brightly colored accents. 

How should business casual clothing fit?

business casual for women

Business casual clothing for women should always be fitted to your body. Avoid any items that are overly baggy or too tight. A good rule of thumb is to have one finger width of space between the fabric and your body when you move around. It will ensure that you look professional and polished. 

Can you wear dress pants for a business casual?

Yes, dress pants are an excellent option for business casual. However, stick to straight-leg and bootcut styles in darker colors such as navy, black, and grey. Avoid overly bright colors or patterns, and make sure that your dress pants fit properly.

What Is Business Casual for Women?

business casual for women

Business casual for women is a professional style of clothing that is fashionable yet comfortable and appropriate for the office. It typically consists of blouses, pants, skirts and dresses, knits, blazers, and other outerwear pieces. 

In other words, business casual means mixing those formal and less formal garments to create a semi-formal look that fits the occasion. Think of it as a transitional style between work and weekend wear. 

The origins of business casual for women date back to the 1950s when it became popular in workplaces with a more relaxed dress code. Today, business casual is still a popular choice for many women. With the right styling, it can be both professional and stylish. 

What Counts as Business Casual for Women?

business casual for women

Business casual is the ideal combination of formal and informal attire. It’s unnecessary to show up in a full suit; however, sundresses paired with flip-flops are unacceptable. 

Instead, match brilliant pieces such as blazers or trousers in muted tones with more laidback items like patterned shells and leopard print flats for a balanced look.

Here are some typical business casual clothes:

Upper Body 

business casual for women

When searching for business casual tops for women, you can look at blouses, sweaters, and tailored shirts. Look for items with minimal embellishments!

For example, you can try a silk blouse with a classic collar, puff sleeves, and delicate buttons. Tops with long hemlines are ideal for business casual clothing as they provide more coverage.

You can opt for a classic turtleneck sweater or cardigan for cold weather. 

Lower Body

business casual for women

For clothing on the bottom, trousers and knee-length skirts are all suitable options. Choose dark solid colors such as navy, black, or khaki for an elevated look. Avoid tight-fitting clothing and denim. 

For a skirt, opt for something with pleats, pockets, or buttons for an elevated look. If you want to wear pants, pick a tailored pair with a straight or slightly flared leg. Shorts are also acceptable as long they are tailored and not too short. 


business casual for women

Regarding footwear, stick with close-toed shoes such as loafers, oxfords, pumps, or heeled sandals. Avoid open-toed shoes and flip-flops, and steer clear of sneakers and running shoes. Keep the heels at a moderate height to be comfortable when walking around all day. 


business casual for women

Regarding accessorizing, you can wear statement jewelry such as a bright necklace or earrings. Scarves, hats, and handbags can also be used to elevate your look. However, steer clear of anything too colorful or flashy; keep the focus on the clothing. 

The best accessory to wear is pearl jewelry, which can instantly give you a professional look. For example, a string of pearls or pearl studs can add an elegant touch to any outfit. 

The above items should be the basis for any business casual wardrobe. Remember the four components of fit, color or print, clothing pieces, and accessories when putting together your outfit. 

What Is Not Acceptable Business Casual Attire?

business casual for women

Business casual should never be confused with casual clothing, a professional dressing style. As such, certain items are considered inappropriate and should be avoided. 

Here are some common items that must be avoided:

T-shirts, Tank Tops, or Cropped Tops 

business casual for women

If you are going for a business casual look, avoid any T-shirts, tank tops, or cropped tops. These garments can quickly come off as too informal for the workplace. 

Flip-Flops or Sandals 

Flip-flops and sandals are not considered appropriate for the workplace. Therefore, they should be avoided, especially if you are attending an important meeting or presenting. 

Visible Undergarments

business casual for women

Undergarments should never be visible, even if they match the color of your outfit. Wear items that are well-fitted and opaque to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions. 

Ripped or Distressed Clothing

Any ripped or distressed clothing is considered too casual for the workplace, even if paired with a blazer. However, this type of clothing gives off a more relaxed vibe, so opt for something more polished and professional. 

Leggings or Yoga Pants 

business casual for women

Although leggings and yoga pants are comfortable, they should not be worn to the office. Instead, opt for trousers or tailored shorts to maintain a professional look. 

Excessive Makeup or Fragrances 

It is important to keep makeup and fragrances minimal, as they can be distracting in the workplace. As such, try to avoid anything too bright or overpowering. 

Cut-Off Jeans 

business casual for women

Cut-off jeans are too casual for the workplace, so they must be avoided. Opt for tailored trousers or knee-length skirts that provide more coverage. 

Bright Colors or Patterns 

When selecting clothing for business casual attire, stick with classic colors such as navy, black, and khaki. Avoid bright colors or loud patterns, as they can be distracting. 

Overall, it is essential to remember that the goal of business casual is to look professional and put together. Therefore, avoid items that are too casual or flashy, and focus on pieces that elevate your look.

Where to Shop for Business Casual Clothing?

business casual for women

When shopping for business casual attire, many online and brick-and-mortar stores specialize in this type of clothing. Popular stores such as Banana Republic, & Other Stories, J.Crew, and Mango offer classic pieces that will fit into a business casual wardrobe. You can also find great deals at thrift stores or vintage boutiques. 

Plenty of websites offer affordable and stylish items for those on a budget. Here are some popular websites:

· ASOS - ASOS has a wide range of on-trend items, from blazers to trousers. You can even find designer pieces at discounted prices. 

· ZARA - ZARA is known for its stylish basics, perfect for creating a business casual wardrobe. 

· H&M - This brand has an array of affordable pieces, from patterned blouses to tailored trousers. 

· Old Navy - Old Navy has a variety of stylish and affordable items in various sizes and colors. 

· GAP - This website has classic pieces that will always stay in style. You can find quality items for a reasonable price, from blazers to trousers.

· Tommy Hilfiger - Tommy Hilfiger is a great place to shop for classic pieces that will last you for years. 

· Lulus - Here, you can find various on-trend items at affordable prices. 

· Ann Taylor - This brand has timeless pieces perfect for a business casual wardrobe. 

When shopping for business casual attire, the goal is to find stylish and comfortable items. Remember to select pieces that fit your body type and flatter your figure. With a few key elements, you can create an array of looks perfect for the workplace. 

business casual for women

Bottom Line

Business casual attire is a great way to look polished and professional. However, avoiding items that are too casual or flashy can create a classic and timeless look. 

Be sure to select items that fit your body type, flatter your figure, and are comfortable, as you will be wearing them all day long. You can build an array of looks perfect for the office with a few key pieces. 

Use this guide to help you curate the perfect business casual wardrobe. Now that you have the basics, you can look stylish and feel confident as you tackle each workday. So take the time to invest in your wardrobe, and you will always be prepared for any business occasion!