There’s nothing more relieving and equally nerve-racking than hearing that your job has a business casual dress code.
Let me be the first to say: what does that even entail?!
Can you wear jeans or would wearing jeans compromise your professionalism?!
Should you show up to work in a full blazer or risk wearing a plain white tee and be the odd one out?!
With my lifestyle transition in full swing, I’ve had a few opportunities to bask in casual business settings and yet, each and every time I still freak out a little bit. This year I started off the decade with a business trip. And although I was aware of it well-in-advance, time really caught up and got the best of me.
I ended up packing last minute— like 2 hours before my flight… on a SUNDAY when all the stores were conveniently closed— last minute. Yeah, that’s a major face palm moment. Clearly my 2020 vision was to take risks (I digress).
The Quick Guide To Creating Business Casual Outfits
Normally I’m not the one to say that you should care what anybody thinks of you, but in this case not only are you representing yourself, you are representing a company (be it your own or a corporation)…especially on occasion if you are working out of office.
As a woman in the professional world, I can’t help but feel like having to dress business casual feels like you’re standing in a pool of ambiguity. And for that reason, I get a little frazzled. But I can’t lie, I have to give credit to the fact that my last minute scramble is why I came up with this simple formula to nailing last minute business casual outfits.
But first, Let’s Understand The top stress factors before styling business casual outfits for work trips
- Weather uncertainty
- Maximization of suitcase space and avoiding over-packing at all costs (literally)
- Feeling mentally exhausted causing you to be unfocused, unwilling, and tight on time to go out and purchase something to wear
With the biggest issue tied between the lack of trust in the weather app and actually having time to pack before jetting off, it’s a little overwhelming.
Seeing that winter around the world can be extremely variable, I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I went on my work trip to the US. Here’s what I came up with..
OUTFIT DETAILS: LEATHER JACKET – DYNAMITE CLOTHING | TANK TOP – DYNAMITE CLOTHING | PURSE – GLOBO SHOES
A huge consideration for this first outfit was based on the plain fact that I knew there was going to be some sort of physical team building activity.
Spoiler Alert: the activity ended up being GOLFING. (Yes, I golfed in this outfit…I’m terrible at it, but at least I looked stylish???)
Comfort and flexibility were MUSTS when I threw together this fit.
I opted for this cropped (I have a short torso, so it appears full-length on me) lavender leather jacket from Zara, a black-pocketed singlet, ankle-cut dress pants, and black booties.
As this was my day 01 outfit I knew that in essence it was my “ice breaker” outfit. The outfit that was going to break the barriers and answer the unknown…
…aka the factors listed above for those of you who less dramatic than I.
Limited suitcase space for post-work outfits? Take on a full casual flip by swapping the black pocketed singlet for a long-sleeved beige shirt to overset the leather jacket.
As this was my day 02 outfit, I knew that there were no planned team building activities so I took it upon myself crank up the notch on the business attire side.
With this look I opted for a dark grey cropped turtleneck sweater, high waisted full-length dress pants, a Zara peacoat, and 2-inch T-strap heels.
I’m capped at a lovely 5’2” and although I enjoy a nice high heel, I was moreso concerned with keeping balance.
OUTFIT DETAILS: PEACOAT – ZARA | LONG SLEEVE SHIRT – DYNAMITE CLOTHING | DRESS PANTS – MARK’S
Knowing that I had a few networking opportunities during my last work day, I wore this classic black blazer. I rolled up the sleeves and wore cuffed black denim pants to give a more relaxed look.
In doing so, this allowed me to slip into that pool of ambiguity where I wasn’t overly dressed up, but still structured enough to come across professional.
The Secret (But Not So Secret) Formula
(Utilizing basics + Statement pieces + Splash of colour) x (Confidence + Comfort)
Given the fact that time and space was a major constraint for prepping outfits, ensuring maximum usage of a capsule wardrobe can be the ultimate cost and space saver.
The formula above really boils down to understanding how to style basics. Using statement pieces as accents rather than the major focal point will highlight your eye for style and moderation.
Example, cutting back on jewellery and opting for simple bold coats.
The common perception is that basic is boring, but really, it does not have to be that way. By incorporating the right colours paired with comfort and confidence, a once “dull” outfit will become lively and sleek.
Have you ever struggled with dressing with the workplace?
Share with me in the comments below!