Creating a Business Casual Wardrobe

In high school I was really into what I wore. I used to literally plan out an entire months worth of outfits to wear to school so I would avoid repeating identical outfits during that cycle. In college I got a bit more lax about my outfits since as a theater student I was often times wearing workout clothes to class or costumes for whatever scene I was working on. And then after college I entered the fitness industry and uh stopped wearing “normal” clothes to work.

While my new work environment at Yelp is definitely casual as far as attire goes, wearing sweaty workout clothes is no longer acceptable and I of course want to present myself in a mature, classy matter. Truthfully, I was pretty excited to get back to my old, fashionable self. I think wearing Lululemon all day, every day, has sort of warped my self esteem to some extent, and I’m just learning again to get used to myself in jeans, bizarre as that sounds.

This weekend my super patient mama and I hit up Macy’s so I could completely rejuvenate my wardrobe. I sort of felt like I was on an episode of What Not To Wear and had totally been outted for wearing exclusively spandex over the past two years. I was super impressed with the current styles from Bar III and Kensie which basically screamed 24 year old work clothes and recommend checking them out if you need new work outfits.

Whether you’re fresh out of college and need to update that wardrobe of sweat pants, or spent your entire post-college life in workout gear like this gal, here are the simple essentials to creating a business casual wardrobe.

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1. Invest in a few great pairs of jeans.

Jeans, in my opinion, are the foundation to a great business casual wardrobe and skinny jeans are still king in my book.

I’m currently obsessed with JCrew’s toothpick jeans and also love the Gap’s legging jean. If you’re short like me, ankle length jeans are your best friend. Make sure to purchase jeans in a variety of washes– dark wash is my favorite but it’s also good to have at least one lighter pair plus a pair of black jeans.

2. Stock up on the basics

I love love love simple cotton V-neck and scoop-neck t-shirts in fun colors. On their own they are a bit too casual for the work environment, but dressed up with the right accessories and outer wear they are the perfect business casual top– plus they are super comfortable and pretty cheap to purchase. I always have good luck buying basic t-shirts at JCrew, The Gap, Old Navy and Nordstrom- Off the Rack.

3. Have a few “dressier” tanks

Nicer tank tops such as the above one from Vince Camuto make getting dressed in the morning easy. Bonus– they can also double as “weekend wear” with a cute bomber jacket.

4. Casual blazers dress up any look.

One of my most complimented pieces of clothing is a simple turquoise-ish blazer from Kensie. Cute colored blazers are my new favorite article of clothing– it’s a young, fresh and polished look, yet I don’t feel like a 16 year old. Side note, that’s a frequent problem I have since I’m really short and can shop in the juniors section. I have to stop and ask myself if I look 24 whenever I’m trying on clothes.

While a black blazer is essential, mix it up with some fun and funky colors with a plain top underneath. for a youthful but appropriate look.

5. Matches with everything black boots.

I wear my black, knee-high boots almost every day. While I’ve been starting to wear heels at work (after wearing weatherproof shoes during my commute of course) you can’t beat a great pair of black boots with jeans.

 

And now is the fun part– mixing and matching! As I’ve learned from Stacey and Clinton on “What Not To Wear”, stocking your closet with the basics means you can then mix and match to create new outfits with the same pieces.

Question: What are your business casual essentials? 

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