The art of dressing for the office can be tricky—you either stick to the norm and look boring, or be a little adventurous and seem like you’re trying too hard. But it doesn’t have to be as complicated, because the key is in finding the right balance by learning how to mix and match. For offices with a smart casual dress code, consider yourself lucky because you have more freedom to play around with different looks. Smart casual is a look between an uptight black, tailored suit, and the casual jeans-and-tee combo. It’s all about going for a more relaxed business attire that’s polished enough to still look office-appropriate.
Learn to invest in quality office basics and pair them with casual pieces, and we promise, you’ll never have to say “I have nothing to wear” ever again. To get you started, try out these outfit formulas:
1. Plain white button-down and pencil skirt
If there’s a piece of clothing absolutely every human being (regardless of gender) should wear, it would have to be a plain white button-down. It can be worn by absolutely anyone and styled in so many ways. For the office, we suggest to pair it with another office staple, a figure-enhancing pencil skirt. The tip here is to get the button down in a size bigger for an oversized look that’s more casual and comfortable. This will also create the right balance since the skirt is on the tighter side. Depending on your work environment, you can either style it with a pair of pumps or ballet flats to complete the look.
TRY: Zara Basic Poplin Shirt, P1,695, available online
TRY: Mango Buckle Wrap Skirt, P1,295, available online
2. Blazer and jeans
Nothing says casual than the combo of a tee and a pair of jeans. Easily make it office-appropriate by layering it with an oversized blazer in a neutral hue, which you can wear and re-wear over and over again. Don’t forget to rock a pair of heels for an extra dose of confidence as you walk into your next meeting! Statement-making, but effortless, this is a must-try ensemble.
TRY: H&M Double-Breasted Jacket, P1,690, available online
3. Monochrome pantsuit
One of the biggest trends for over a year now is a monochrome pantsuit. Gone are the days when black is the only acceptable blazer and trouser combo for work. Today, they’re available in pink, yellow, blue, red and in all fabrics imaginable. Wear it with a pair of heels or sneakers for a fun yet stylish look that will change your workwear game just in time for the new year.
4. White pants and turtleneck or sweater
There is nothing classier than a pair of white trousers, which is why it’s perfect for the office. Instead of doing layers, style it with a tan turtleneck or a knit sweater to fight off the cold in style. White and tan is a sophisticated color combo that can make anyone look put together. While you’re at it, go ahead and accessorize with pearl earrings to complete the look that even Lady Diana would approve.
5. Little Black Dress
A little black dress is another closet staple that you can easily take from work to play. Layer it with an oversized cardigan and a pair of heels on a regular workday, or match it with a pair of white sneakers for casual Fridays.
6. Pleated skirt and a knit sweater
If figure-hugging pencil skirts are not your thing, replace it with an equally office-worthy, but daintier option: a midi pleated skirt. It’s a super cute investment you can wear with sneakers, sandals, ballet flats, and heels! Plus, it will look great with a knit top. Instead of going with something tight or sleeveless, go ahead and pair it with a knit sweater in a complementing hue to add to the cozy factor of a super chic look.
7. A tailored jumpsuit
On days when you can’t be bothered to dress up, an easy-breezy piece you can easily pull out from your closet is a jumpsuit. There are so many options to choose from because they are made in all styles and lengths these days. We suggest you pick a plain tailored one with a collar, and pair it with pumps to up the chic factor. Remember to stick to neutral tones and stay away from anything too bright or printed. Leave the linen and cotton variety for the beach as they wrinkle fast and are too casual for work.
TRY: Zalora Basics Basic Tie Waist Collar Jumpsuit, P879, available online
TRY: Bershka Tencel Jumpsuit, P2,995, available online
Keep these seven looks in your rotation and you’ll be a pro in dressing for the office in no time. Just because you’re working from nine to five, it doesn’t mean you have to look dull. Bid your boring workdays adieu and try these classic combos to add some excitement to your day to day routine. Besides, nothing motivates quite like a new outfit. Right, ladies?