Building Your Work Wardrobe Basics Part 2

Kheushla Powe

The business casual dress code was established to allow employees to work comfortably in the workplace. It was set for you to be comfortable yet still be professional. I think some people take casual a little too literally. Leggings may be comfortable but they are not appropriate for the office. At all. Absolutely no exceptions. Can you tell this is a sticking point for me? In the second part of building your work wardrobe basics we will go over some guidelines for business casual.

Business casual entails neat yet casual attire. It is more casual than business formal but more formal than smart casual. I’m sorry but jeans are not considered business casual. You may also want to check to see if your office has casual Fridays where jeans can be worn. This is not an option in my office. When starting a new job, be sure to check with your manager or human resources department to find out what is considered appropriate or inappropriate. If that is not an option before the first day, I would go as conservative as possible. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.

Business casual guidelines

The best way to start off when building your business casual basics is to keep it simple.

Here are a few basic guidelines for business casual attire:

  • Make sure any dresses or skirts you purchase are knee length

  • Neutral colors are good first choice for your foundation pieces like blazers, slacks, and skirts

  • Create options by changing up pieces so you can have maximum versatility. Purchase long sleeves, short sleeves, pencil skirts, cardigans, jackets and cropped trousers

  • If wearing a sleeveless top, make sure you have a blazer or cardigan you can throw over for meetings

The basics

To begin building your basics or foundation, you can start with the following:

  • 2 blazers

  • 2 cardigans

  • 3 pair of slacks

  • 3 skirts

  • 8 tops (shirts/blouses)

  • 3 dresses

  • Start with two pairs of shoes (neutral pump or flat, black pump or flat)

Places to find your basics

Banana Republic, J. Crew Factory Store and The Limited are three of favorite spots for finding business casual pieces for work.

  • Banana Republic

  • Banana Republic Factory Store

  • Ann Taylor

  • J. Crew

  • J.Crew Factory

  • H&M

  • TJ Maxx

  • The Limited

  • Express

  • New York & Company

Once you have your basics, be sure each piece has the ability to go with all of your other basic pieces.