Wardrobe Capsules for Your Life – Casual Business



So where you work is really casual, jeans are fine, and people often turn up in sneakers or even the clothes they wash the car in?

What people forget about this dress code is they hear the word “casual” and don’t hear “business”.  Yes people, it’s still work and you still need to look respectable and businesslike, even if it is a very casual workplace.

So what to wear?  Here is a capsule with plenty of options, each cardigan can be worn over each top, the jacket and coat also work as a layer over each outfit.

Don’t forget to add some accessories – they are your focal points, which you always want, if you’re distracting someone to be looking at your necklace, then they’re not looking at your thighs are they?

Here with these 12 garments you can easily create over 64 different outfits and looks.  Then change up your accessories for even more options.

Keep your denim on the darker side and with little distressing.
You can wear more pattern and more relaxed fabrics, from suede to denim, from florals to animal prints.
Shoes should still be in good condition, though unlike with most other dress codes, they don’t need to cover the toes.
Stretch knit fabrics are comfortable and appropriate, just make sure that you’re not showing too much skin – such as midriff or too much cleavage, it’s always better in the workplace to keep your shoulders covered too.

What is appropriate in your business casual workplace?


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  • This is pretty much exactly how I dress. Funny to know that I could do it with 12 items instead of the approximately a million items that I have in my overstuffed closet. I'm a professor, not yet far enough along in my career to have lots of administrative duties, and so business casual is the way to go.

  • I love this post! I think its so important to dress apropriately for the workplace! I say leave the demin for casual fridays!

  • Hi Imogen,

    I'm working on my business/casual wardrobe at the moment, but I'm somewhat struggling. I am a "dress girl" and have given up on wearing jeans/separates because it cuts me in half and I'm extremely uncomfortable (waist is 2-3 sizes bigger than hips, which is why I prefer dresses). While building up my wardrobe, I find that the dresses I've been buying are a little more "formal professional" (if this makes sense) and am often asked if I have an "interview" that day (I don't!).

    Do you have any suggestions for dress girls who want to tone down their look into something more casual?

    I also find most dresses to be very low cut. I'm a busy girl and it's quite a struggle for me.



  • I second LPC – no heels for me either. Otherwise the capsule reflects my wardrobe, except for colors. I also keep the skirts long, I find above the knee is too short for a casual environment (unless perhaps worn with untransparent tights).

    Nice to see I am doing pretty much the right thing. I've about 12 tops (including cardigans, not including tank tops) and about 5 bottoms.

    – tall & slim anon

  • Ms Katie Kat – I think if you're in a very casual environment most dresses will seem more dressed up, but what I find in workplaces is that people get used to you wearing whatever you wear and they stop asking questions especially if you just keep telling them that you prefer to wear dresses.

  • I'm really loving these capsules, Imogen! A great help now that I seem to be spending more and more time with clients.

  • I love the individual items you pick..detailed but not too details. I love the colors in this one. I have been trying it…you make it look easy!

  • @tall & slim – I'd definitely say a knit cardigan would! The only problem is finding a good one – I seem to have a bit of trouble finding a good quality basic cardigan though. I guess I'll keep looking. As for flats – as cute as they are, I don't often feel "comfortable" wearing them. I often feel slightly "dumpy" so I wear anything with a wedge or a heel, 2 inches at the most because I like to be comfortable.

    @Imogen – Very true. I think some of my coworkers have gotten used to it, except when I wear this one particular dress – a black shift with a modest V-neckline and a flattering hem length. I often wear this with two of my only blazers, and they're quite "dressed up." I'm trying to find denim blazers and good cardigans – which is a challenge to find for me, for some reason.

    Thanks for the tips, ladies!

  • HI I guess I am retired, a housewife for many years a few years I worked outside the home but as I look at this capsule I believe it is the best one for me. I am mostly at home, one day out on my own to look and shop, church, so my hobby is reading and writing poetry when it strikes me between my eyes. I have a very limited budget of 300 dollars a month and 200 savings, so this idea is super. thanks, I have saved this post on my favourites thanks for everything. Maggie

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