A Guide to Business Casual Outfits for Women

Trying to define what constitutes a business casual outfit for women is no easy task. That is especially because what is considered business casual in one place of business might be considered too casual elsewhere.

So how do you figure it out? Well, let’s start with a baseline. A business outfit takes the formal elements of a business outfit and pairs them with more casual pieces. A good example of this is black skinny leg dress pants with a fun polka-dot top. 

It is believed this whole business casual idea started in California in the 90s and has had office workers confused since then. We’re going to help clear some of that up with our guide to business casual outfits for women. 

A Guide to Business Casual Outfits for Women
Image Source: Lan Lan Corner

Here Is a Simple Guide to Business Casual Outfits for Women

What Are Business Casual Outfits?

When you think of business casual, you’ve got to be thinking about a mix of formal and relaxed. You also can’t go into the upper echelons of formal, nor down to the barrel of relaxed. 

Planning the perfect business casual wardrobe requires you to think of a professional outfit and then deconstruct it. You also need to think about colors. Your formal pieces should be in neutral tones like grey, black, beige.

Then your casual pieces can add touches of color. You should also try to mix tailored pieces with more relaxed and fashion-forward pieces. A good example of that can be a tailored blazer with a lace-detail top.

Please remember that business casual is more about business first and then casual later. Be sure to check with your employer’s handbook so you can have more clarity as to what you should wear.

Business Casual Attire Basics

Now, depending on the occasion and season, the options for women tend to be a little bit varied.

Winter Business Casual Basics

For winter, business casual should include some thick fabrics to keep you warm. Choose to go for the long-sleeves and knitted sweaters.  For cold weather, business casual calls for layering as well.

A cashmere turtleneck is a good option, and it is a versatile point for your 9-5 winter casual look. It also works with everything, both skirts as well as pants. Winter pants can be made from materials like tweed and velvet.

Summer Business Casual Basics

When the warmer months arrive, you should try to introduce some refreshing color palettes to your outfits. Go for breathable and lightweight fabrics such as linen, cotton, and silk. 

During summer, the challenge is in choosing the business casual outfits that offer the right balance between the weather and work appropriateness.

Dresses are a great option for summer outfits because they can be both formal and casual, but you have to be careful. You need to avoid body-hugging dresses as well as those with plunging necklines. 

And don’t forget about length, save the minidresses for the weekends and stick to close-to-the-knee length for work. 

Business Casual Shoes

There are plenty of fantastic ideas for footwear that you can choose from to achieve a casual look. From flats, that do not easily fall out of style to heels that mean business, you have a wide variety of options to choose from.

If you have to buy just one pair of shoes that are office-appropriate, go for a nice chic pair of pointed-toe heels either in nude or black. These are classy and work for both formal and casual and in turn business casual outfits.

They can literally be worn with almost anything and everything in your wardrobe. Luckily, you can still be able to pull off a killer look with some modest height pumps. 

If you are comfortable with ditching heels, then opt for a pair of comfortable flats. Don’t wear strappy shoes and sandals or anything you’d wear on a family weekend at the cottage.

A Guide to Business Casual Outfits for Women
Image Source: Wear Numi


For business casual ideas, it is always good to find out what works and what doesn’t work in the office. These days, you’ve got offices where folks come in with t-shirts and jeans, but that doesn’t mean you should. 

It’s a great idea to stick to a business casual routine even if your office is less formal. You need to dress for success and that means wearing outfits that show you respect yourself as well as your job. 

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