Dress Codes 101: Casual Workwear

Not sure what to wear for a casual work dress code? Look no further - we've got tons of outfit ideas and tips.
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Whether you’re working at your first internship this summer or heading out into the “real world” as a new grad, it’s essential to know and follow the dress code for your workplace. Lucky for you, we’re here to decode some typical types of workwear, from business formal to casual.

Casual workwear

Photo Credit: ELLE

If you've been following along with Dress Codes 101, you've already learned what to wear for an interview, and a business formal or business casual workplace. In this last week, we're covering work attire for a casual dress code. This dress code is fairly common, especially in the tech industry and other up-and-coming fields.

A casual dress code gives you a lot of freedom. You can wear many of the same items you would wear to class, including jeans and t-shirts, and you can express yourself with colors, prints, and accessories. However, there are just a few things to keep in mind to make sure that you still look polished:

  • All  of your clothes should be clean, wrinkle-free, and undamaged (same goes for shoes).
  • Keep it conservative for the workplace. No low-cut or see-through tops, and skirts and dresses should be no shorter than two inches above the knee.
  • Keep makeup and hair light and simple - nothing too distracting!

That said, I love a casual dress code because it leaves endless possibilities! But if it's your first time working in a casual office, here are a few outfit formulas to get you started:

Outfit #1 - Blouse & Dark-Wash Jeans

Casual work black blouse bootcut jeans

Product Info: Blouse, Jeans, Flats, Bag, Necklace

This first look is super-easy, nearly foolproof, and my favorite casual workwear go-to. First, find your nicest pair of dark wash jeans. I like the dressier look of this bootcut pair, but almost any style will work as long as it's dark and has no rips or tears.

Pair them with a blouse in your favorite color or print - I love black because it goes with everything! Just make sure to wear a cami underneath if your blouse is sheer. Lastly, accessorize! A pair of leopard d'Orsay flats, a gold statement necklace, and a color-blocked bag make this simple outfit chic and trendy.

Outfit #2 - Dress & Blazer

Casual workwear dress and blazer

Product Info: Dress, Blazer, Flats, Rings, Bag | Hair Photo: ELLE

This outfit is the perfect way to wear a more casual dress to the office. Almost any dress will work, but try a wrap dress, a shirtdress, or a fit-and-flare dress for a polished look. A blazer and flats in fun summer colors keeps things professional yet chic.

Accessorize with simple gold rings and a faux leather messenger bag. Want to mix up your look? Try styling your hair in a new way - braids are perfect for a casual office and come in lots of variations.

Outfit #3 - Cardigan, Tee, & Ankle Pants

Casual work blue pants gray cardigan

Product Info: Cardigan, Tee, Pants, Scarf, Shoes, Earrings

The great thing about a casual workplace is that you can mix in your favorite casual pieces with more professional attire. For this look, you can pair your favorite basic tee and cardigan with a pair of summer-appropriate ankle length pants.

Add some color and print to the ensemble with a lightweight infinity scarf. Lastly, slip on a cute pair of menswear-inspired oxfords and accessorize with your favorite stud earrings.


Which look is your favorite? What would you wear to a casual office? Do you have any casual workwear tips? Let us know in the comments!

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