A more laid-back approach towards office attire has become the norm, not least due to the rise in home and hybrid working. We explore the new sartorial rules for the workplace and put together some of our favourite casual office outfit ideas to help you rethink your workwear wardrobe.
The last two years have seen a shift in how we work and how we dress in the workplace. This has meant the desire for a more relaxed approach to workwear fashion has become a style in its own right. But, that doesn’t mean you should pack away your high-end designer fashion. Get the casual dress code right, and you can still embrace the slouch while making your workwear stand out.
Your workplace is the best indicator of just how casual you can go. What you don’t want to do is undermine your professionalism for the sake of comfort and fuss-free dressing.
Your office casual style may also need to be functional to ensure it still supports you in your day-to-day working life. For example, check the materials (linen doesn’t necessarily travel well if you spend a lot of time on the road), and make sure any restrictive clothing (such as skinny jeans) is still comfortable if you are sitting at a desk all day.
A more casual approach towards office wear means you can push the ‘workplace uniform’ conventions and express your own unique style. Pops of colour, statement shoes, relaxed, oversized tailoring, and accessories can take a classically casual outfit and turn it into something special.
Adding a few key details to a casual outfit can instantly make office wear chic – and take you from desk to after-work cocktails with minimal effort. Statement earrings will liven up a neutral palette. A fitted blazer teamed with quality jeans can give a more professional vibe. And wide-legged trousers can be worn with flat pumps or sneakers by day then switched up with a pair of colour-pop stilettos.
What you wear when chilling out at home doesn’t necessarily translate into office casual. Avoid wearing worn-out or wash-faded garments, beach flip-flops, and slouchy jogging pants. As you want to still present a professional front, tops, and Ts with graphics and statements, especially if they have the potential to be controversial, are a no-no.
To help you embrace the casual office dress code, here’s how to relax your work outfits without compromising on your individual style.
Comfort, professional, and feelgood – these are the buzzwords for any casual office outfit. Here are our favourite casual office wear pieces for women:
The oversized blazer – a slouchy single-breasted blazer is versatile as it can be dressed up or down. The oversized blazer adds a touch of formality to jeans or leggings, especially teamed with a crisp white T. But get the best fit you can; you want room to move without feeling swamped.
Wide-leg trousers – in a soft, slouchy fabric, the wide-leg gives a nod to more formal tailoring but offers all the comfort of your loungewear. Choose a bold colour such as green or coral and team with a coord T and bright white sneakers and you’ll have casual office attire nailed.
Designer jeans – whether skinny, flared, or boot cut denim is your thing, jeans can look laid-back as well as smart. The trick to jeans for the office is to have another piece that subtly – or not so subtly – elevates them from the out-of-office ordinary. A sublime silk blouse with a pussy bow, a cashmere jumper, or a Balmain boxy jacket can all create a fashion-forward denim delight for your office outfit wardrobe.
Midi-length ditsy dress – soft and flouncy, the tea dress is an all-year-round wardrobe staple and adds a touch of femininity to more casual workwear. And the length – around mid-calf – is elegant as well as playful and works well in a host of office situations. Wear a sharp blazer and ankle boots or team with a smart denim jacket and white pumps when dress-down Friday arrives!
Step back from over-sharp tailoring and embrace a more relaxed vibe with what we think are some of the best casual office styling tips for men:
The sporty blouson jacket – swap a formal blazer for the relaxed cut of a blouson and you can still recreate a more formal look without looking too rigid. Teamed with a crisp white shirt and colour contrast trousers, or wear with a designer T, and this look will also take you through the workwear seasons.
Classics with a casual twist– you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to office wear. You can simply switch out the formal pieces to get that casual smart look. Lightweight materials such as chambray are excellent alternatives to the office shirt, while a relaxed blazer will make you look ‘put together’. Team with slouchy cords, well-cut chinos or a pair of jeans and the boardroom is yours.
The minimalist sneaker – over-branded trainers or footwear that looks like it has come straight from your gym bag can cross the too casual line for the office. But choose your sneakers well and you can be first past the casual office wear post. Minimalist sneaker designs in neutral colours such as navy, caramel, and taupe are perfect for the office. And the beauty of the minimalist sneaker is that it can also be teamed with a suit or blazer for a timeless office casual yet professional look.
While there are many ways to dress for work, the outfits we’ve put together here represent a few of our favourite go-to looks that are perfect for days when you want to feel comfortable but still look pulled together.
We hope you enjoy these ideas and find something in this post that helps you create an outfit for your next office day. How do you like to dress for work when the mood is more relaxed?