What To Wear To Work – The Business Causal Looks We Actually Wore And Loved
One thing I miss about going into the office is that feeling you get when you walk in to work knowing you are wearing a really good outfit. Now as I work from home, the only audience I have to witness my outfits is my often sleeping, snoring American bulldog who (rudely) couldn’t care less. It’s been two years since our team has worked from an office, so when we were invited to Albie’s awesome Meridian Experience conference we were almost too excited to pull together some real business casual looks. It was a great excuse to swap leggings and sweatshirts for blazers, blouses, and wide-leg pants. So if you are curious about what the team wore and/or are looking for some “what to wear to work” inspo, we hope this post will help.
Last week at the conference I wore a striped button-up (this one is awesome and new – splurgy but GREAT drape and quality), then combined it with a varsity-style cardigan (I love the Alex Mill version, too). I wanted to get into the balloon pant game and I like these, but honestly, they weren’t worth the price tag. I bought them in New York and I think I got caught up in wanting to be on-trend, and they are cool, but again too expensive as I don’t think they are timeless enough. I’ve worn them 4 times the last month which isn’t nothing. It should be noted Brian is not a fan – they aren’t exactly flattering but that’s OK 🙂
At the “happiness” conference I wore this vest and jacket combo (from Wildfang – 4 years ago but still available) with a T-shirt, distressed jeans, and white pumps and I felt kinda like a badass in it. It felt powerful and casual at the same time.
Lately, I’m leaning into more business casual vibes and in general have replaced my blousey blouses for menswear-inspired button-ups and dare I say “suits”. I love this button-up and find myself wearing it a lot.
1. Classic Linen Shirt | 2. Classic-Fit Soft Gauze Shirt | 3. Cito Stripe Short Sleeve Linen Blend Button-Up Shirt (in case you want short leave for summer:))
This is probably my new favorite outfit combo! That incredible vintage St. John cardigan duster was a gift from an old boss that I interned for in New York. I could not love it more but didn’t have the guts to wear it until last year. Shameful. That baby needed to see the world! But it felt too “flashy” for me which is pretty comical. But I’ve been trying to dress more boldly (at least bold for me) and a structured navy duster with big gold buttons really does it for me. This piece could easily go formal so to make it more casual and fun I paired it with these old Target wide-leg pants that I WISH they still sold and my faux snakeskin boots…that I also wish were still available. Oh, and you can’t see but I have on a dusty light blue sock that is a fun surprise. Took that one from Em:) Lastly, I LOVE wearing 2-3 statement rings because it’s such an easy way to make your outfit more luxe-looking and put together. Mixing high and low, as well as vintage and non-vintage pieces, can really make a fun unique look. Just take a little step outside of your comfort zone because it will likely pay off! Oh, and I did have a thin black tank under in case I got hot but luckily I was totally fine all day:)
Here are a handful of actual vintage St. John dusters as well as a couple of similar (and “less flashy”) options:
1. Vintage St. John Basics Navy Knit Long Sleeve Butt | 2. Vintage St. John Basics Black Knit Classic Mod Coat Dress | 3. St. John Evening Jacket | 4. Linen-Blend Duster Cardigan Sweater | 5. St.John Basics Evening Jacket | 6. Long Cardigan in Cashmere
What, you thought I wasn’t going to have an outfit with one of my beloved shoulder-padded top?? Ha. No way. I wear them so much that I’m pretty sure my friends think I threw away the rest of my other shirts. But I digress. This is a real “jeans and a t-shirt” twist. It’s all about the angled shapes for me. I love the broad shape of the top and the balance it brings to the wide-leg jeans. And since I’m a mere 5’4″, I think it helps that the jeans are slightly cropped so the look doesn’t swallow me up. I do think that my favorite clogs help that too since they’re a few inches tall. And I literally just noticed that the clogs also have a fun angled toe! Now I normally wear this top without a long-sleeved shirt but since I was headed to slightly chilly Seattle, I threw it under. I really like the color contrast that also ties in the shoes. Plus it’s a great option if you want the look of a shoulder pad but have a freezing office or just don’t want to show off your arms. Oh, and if you can get yourself a Caitlin it really finishes off the look in the best way.
This one was REALLY outside of my comfort zone colorwise but I loved it! Again, don’t be afraid to take a risk. They’re just clothes! This blazer was my mom’s that I recently found after cleaning out my dad’s warehouse and the shirt was refound (used to wear it in college) and was actually my dad’s! Sorry Les, it’s mine forever. The shirt was from when Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, was planning to put up stadium lights for night games. My dad grew up next to the stadium and was part of an opposition group called C.U.B.S. – Citizens United for Baseball in the Sunshine. They clearly thought they were clever:) Anyway, a vintage tee, a fun blazer, jeans, and a cool shoe is a very easy and fun way to look put together while still feeling not too dressy.
I’m pro red blazers and in case you are now too here are some cute options:
I know what you are thinking… this doesn’t look like a conference setting! And you’re right. As fate would have it, I ended up getting Covid days before the conference so I stayed home and had a bunch of FOMO (fear of missing out). But when Jess told me I should still participate in this business casual post, it was a good motivator to actually put on the real outfits I was planning on wearing. I haven’t done business casual in over two years so I felt a little rusty at first and even convinced myself that I don’t own anything that would be considered “business casual”. But once I started playing around I realized I have more than enough to get by (as long as jeans are allowed–they are allowed right??).
Anything wide-leg feels business casual to me so these Nili Lotan x Target jeans (sadly sold out) really called to me. I paired them with a plain black tee and then layered with a chore coat and block heels and felt very cute and ready-for-the-office.
As you can tell by the wrinkles I haven’t pulled these bad boys out of my drawer in what feels like years. These are also a Nili Lotan x Target collab and yes, another wide leg with the same plain black tee. I am a big believer in wearing the same articles of clothing over and over so if we were in the office, my lovely coworkers would see this t-shirt (and probably this outfit) A LOT. A matching blazer over this would be really cute too but I don’t have that. Maybe it’s time to get one?? You tell me.
This feels like a Wednesday office look. Picture this: it’s mid-week, you’re feeling a little stressed and ready for Friday, so patterned pants may be the only thing to lift your mood. These pants in particular (sold out in this pattern but still available in other colors here) are SO comfortable and have so much stretch so sitting in them is a breeze. I paired them with a simple mens button-up from Goodwill and my trusty GH Bass Weejuns.
This is a very “me” outfit. If I were in the office every day, I realistically would have 5 or so button-ups that I’d rotate with jeans every day of the week. The shoes are my cherished vintage Manolo Blahnik‘s and what my mom would call “sitting shoes”. They are very hard to walk in but I love them and I do have a desk job so if we were in the office, I can see myself wearing them every once in a while (with flats in my purse just in case).
Did you think I’d leave you without a blazer look?? I could never. Again, as long as jeans are acceptable this is such an easy look to pull together but still a looks-like-you-tried outfit. I dressed up the jeans with heels and paired the same black tee with a vintage blazer. This is a business casual outfit formula I would repeat over and over. I’d also wear loafers with this exact outfit if I didn’t feel like struggling to walk all day 🙂
I’ve been on the hunt for a good wide-leg trouser for quite some time now, and I’ve officially fallen in love with the effortless pant from Aritzia. They come in like 100 colors and are so comfortable. I was thrilled when I tried on this pair and it was a perfect fit. Don’t size down on these (I tried on a 2 and they gave me a camel toe no one should ever have to witness) but the size 4 (which is my usual size) was a perfect fit. I highly recommend!
This look was what I wore when we spoke on the panel at the Meridian Experience conference (which was SO much fun). This shirt is the perfect shirt to go from the office to date night. I love the way that it drapes and the sleeves are so good…it’s the perfect “peasant/romantic/renaissance-esque” top without going too overboard. It’s still modern, super lightweight and I love the color scheme and square neckline. 10/10 for a top like this…it’s the real star of the show here.
Ah, my go-to dress yet again on this blog. I firmly believe everyone needs a dress like this. You can wear it for EVERYTHING. For example, I literally wore this to the conference and then straight to the airport…that’s how comfy, flowy and easy it is. Plus it’s SO lightweight that you don’t get too too hot in it, but it’s still long sleeve so you don’t get cold really either. Gah, I love this dress. Of course, I bought it full price for $75 and now it’s like $20…SMH. Get this dress. It’s amazing for every single occasion and everyone is probably sick of seeing me wear it and link it all the time but sorry not sorry!
This is actually what I wore to our panel at Meridian before a gnarly case of food poisoning and a lingering kidney infection landed me in urgent care for the weekend. (Let me know if you guys wanna see a slideshow of my “sick as a dog and sleeping nonstop for 4 days” fashion picks, because that’s more my expertise.) I went with an ice skating leotard as my base layer (why spend money on bodysuits when I’ve spent 20 years patronizing Capezio?) which worked out way better than expected – something about this fabric is awesome at keeping you warm OR cool, which I love. I paired it with a pretty simple leopard midi – this one is from Farm Rio, but there are tons available out there! Footwear-wise, I had to go with my trusty Charlotte Stone clogs. (Someone at the conference asked how many pairs I had and I thiiiink it’s at least 10 – being so tall makes me feel really in charge, you know?) It’s not groundbreaking or particularly like, fresh and chic, but it did make me feel comfortable while sitting in front of 100 people and that’s all I really wanted 🙂
And that’s a wrap! We hope you enjoyed our “EHD does business casual” journey and stay tuned for a FULL post on the incredible Meridian Experience conference. xx
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