STYLE: A Business Casual Wardrobe
Let's talk strategy
This month we focus on a working woman’s business casual wardrobe. Start by thinking about styles that rely less on trends and more on quality over quantity, where less is more.
It’s also about strategy. What you want are pieces that don’t overwhelm you and that make getting dressed more fun. Hopefully, in the end, you will have spent less money — and wasted none of it.
Seasons Come, Seasons Go
Of course, you’ll want and need season-specific pieces. It’s nice to buy clothing you can wear all year long. Not every piece will bridge the gap between spring, summer, fall and winter, but we’ve focused on some that can easily be swapped in and out for different looks.
Throw-on-and-go styles are great for spring and summer, but colder months require more thought and planning. Consider ensembles that get you to the office in the cold, but won’t burn you up once you’ve arrived.
In summer, throwing on a lightweight cardigan or scarf is an easy solution if you work in an air-conditioned office. Make dressing for colder months less overwhelming by reversing the process. Start with a base and layer to keep your core body temperature warm in the extreme cold. Build with thin layers and top with heavier knits and sweaters, blazers or jackets, and a coat. You can remove pieces as needed.
The easiest way to pull a cold-weather look together? Add a scarf. It’s a chic way to roll with temperature fluctuations from outdoor to indoor spaces.
If you like to shop seasonal trends, consider power suits (featuring bold, “I’m-in-charge” shoulders), belted blazers or jackets. Think classic ’70s working girl. Keep an eye out for pleats, tweed, neon, lace, dark florals and soft color palettes, too. Statement outerwear in animal prints like classic leopard and zebra are also big this fall and winter.
All About Separates
Here are examples of key pieces you can use to build a versatile business casual wardrobe. For price-conscious alternatives, email Helen Banzet Wallace at email@example.com. (Photos courtesy of the respective brands. Photos 1 and 8 courtesy of Eve Simone Photography.)
1. Proenza Schouler Deconstructed Blazer | $1,790 | vermillionstyle.com (top of page)
2. Proenza Schouler Striped Jacquard Knit Skirt | $890 | vermillionstyle.com
3. L’AGENCE Marcella Bodysuit (paired with jeans) | $365 | shopbop.com
4. Nili Lotan Benning Trench Coat | $795 | shopbop.com
5. Vince Plaid Wide Leg Pants | $365 | shopbop.com
6. Goldsign The Ultra Wide Leg Trousers | $395 | shopbop.com
8. Tibi Curly Faux Lamb Peacoat in Ivory | $695 | tibi.com