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An Outfit for Business Casual or Just Business

“Business Casual” means different things in different offices.  In my Hill office, it meant no jeans, ever.  When I worked at the court, it meant jeans but only with a jacket.  And on campaigns, it means searching a hotel room dresser for a clean candidate t-shirt.  So today’s outfit vacillates from business casual to dressy depending on your office.

This outfit from Alpa Rama is the epitome of relaxed sophistication.  It pairs classic pieces to create an outfit that would be perfect for casual Friday or a travel day in many offices, and a pulled together option for workplaces with more casual dress codes.  And most women already have the foundational pieces (a black sweater, white button-up, and black trousers in their wardrobe).

Coat. Great coats and jackets are the cherry on the sundae that is fall fashion.  This J.Crew Double-Breasted Top Coat comes in four neutral colors to complement any attire.  This darker camel hue is my favorite.

Looking for something under-$150?  This Cole Haan coat has a popped collar, and a more casual style.  I also like this Topshop coat that seemed to be on every blogger’s wishlist last year (be advised it runs a bit big).

Plus-size? This Land’s End coat is nice, though I might swap the buttons for something darker.  Tall ladies should check out this Dorothy Perkins coat, and petites should visit Topshop.

Sweater. A simple black crewneck or v-neck (depending on which is more flattering to you) is a winter wardrobe staple.  I chose this Merino Crewneck Sweater from Banana Republic because it’s machine washable and under-$40.  But if you’re looking for cashmere, Bloomingdale’s in-house line makes a nice sweater.

Prefer v-necks?  This AQUA sweater is a nice option.  Need cotton?  This Nic + Zoe sweater is wool-free.  Plus-size? Charter Club makes a good-quality cashmere sweater at a mid-range price.

Blouse. This outfit called for a classic button-up, but I was feeling something a bit more feminine.  So I chose this Claudie Pierlot blouse with a ruffled collar and cuff.  I also like this under-$80 option from Ann Taylor.

Prefer the classic button up?  Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Shirt is my favorite.

Pants. Are skinny pants in or out?  It’s so hard to tell these days.  Just when it looks like the glossy fashion mags are about to play them off the stage, they reappear.  The lesson?  Wear what you like, and what’s flattering on you.

These Ponte Slim Work Pants are a favorite of many of my friends.  They’re durable, comfortable, and budget friendly.  These NYDJ straight leg pants are also a wonderful choice.

Prefer a wider leg opening?  I bought these Nine West flare legs on a business trip, and they’re a great addition to my wardrobe.

Accessories.  My friend Hitha raves about these sunglasses.  They’re under-$25 and look just like a high-end brand.

The Express belt is a less-expensive version of the Gucci Double-G belt that so many women wear.  But if you’re not into buckles, I would suggest this Talbot’s belt with the discreet black leather buckle.

The bag is a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, which were all the rage two years ago.  If you want this year’s “It Bag,” this Staud bucket is a nice choice.  Need something under-$100?  This Charles & Keith bag has a lot of chic for the price.

Lastly, the shoes in the inspiration photo are a snakeskin, satin moccasin.  Not exactly my first choice for work.  So I swapped them out for these Marc Fisher Anny Flats.  Looking for something in black?  I love the dramatic buckle on these Franco Sarto flats.

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theworkedit / Photo on Unsplash