Business-Casual Style Recipe to Dress to Impress

Even if you work in a profession where the dress code is more formal, there’s usually one day a week when it’s acceptable to wear something slightly more relaxed.

If you are in a position of high authority, how do you create a stylish, more low-key outfit that still says you mean business?

Check out this simple, business-casual style recipe for gals who want to dress to impress!

gray sweaterdress with scarf and boots for casual business style look

1. Start with a Sweater Dress

By the nature of the knit, a soft, cozy sweater dress is more laid back than a formal business suit or structured dress, and is an excellent choice for a more casual corporate day.  Choose a sweater dress in a neutral, solid color like navy, black, burgundy, gray, brown, or even dark green or plum to keep your outfit conservative.

This soft gray one has a simple cut, is not too tight, and reads casual but conservative. If you need shapewear to keep things smooth, go for it! I like the open bust, mid thigh body suits.

To keep the look refined, accessorize with a long gold necklace or, in this case, a scarf. It gives the outfit a punch without looking gaudy.


2. Add a Blazer 

A sweater dress on its own is fine for a business casual day. But if a meeting suddenly comes up and you want to dress up your sweater dress, slip on a jacket. Fit is the key. A boxy jacket can make you look matronly, so look for jackets darts and that nip in the waist, creating contour.  The more fitted the blazer, the more feminine it looks.

Remember that the blazer is a business attire essential for women over 40 because it adds structure to your softer, rounder 40+ body and projects authority.


casual business style look - navy dress with tall brown boots and brown bag


3. Give It The Boot!

A simple, tall boot will take you far! Choose good quality leather boots that are streamlined and free of edgy hardware like studs or chains are the best boots to wear to the office.

Short booties are trendy but they are not always flattering. Try wearing dark, opaque stockings with short booties for a more professional look.


Causal business style look - gray sweaterdress with tan suede boots and ivory tote bag.


4. It’s In The Bag!

A leather tote is a modern briefcase.  The size and shape of a sleek leather tote give it a casual but professional feel that pulls your outfit together.

5. Wear Quality Jewelry

Classic, elegant gold or silver pieces are more professional than colored costume jewelry and will make a casual business look appear more elegant. Less is more for boss ladies!

What do you wear when dressing for a casual business day? Please comment below and let me know.


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2 thoughts on “Business-Casual Style Recipe to Dress to Impress

  1. Hi Deborah,

    I so love your emails and look forward to them. I am just in a dilemma – I am attending a business conference (Nashville – next week – getting cold) and am not sure what is business-casual appropriate anymore.

    Please Help!!
    Thanks. Jacquie.

    1. Hi Jacquie,
      It is crazy, isn’t it, all these labels. They are trying to say to come casual but not sloppy. So not a suit or a dress in a rich dark color, but not jeans either. You could wear simple clothing in a bright color, print, or some nice pants with a blouse or sweater. My go-to for this type is a print wrap dress in a cheery color or a sweater dress. I always feel classy but relaxed in that. It’s always appropriate. I hope that helps. Cheers, Deborah

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