I loved working on my smart casual wardrobe post, and have been referring back to it often for fail-proof outfit combos! I got several requests for a workwear version and what pieces to look for when just starting out. The pieces for me are pretty similar, but I made a few updates from last time to suit a business casual dress code.
Below are a few of my most-worn item types from over the years that mix and match really well. I made sure to include affordable and also some premium options for different budgets.
PS – our popular Edited Pieces reversible belts will be restocking (and a mini is coming very soon), so be sure to sign up for email notifications!
After finding the most flattering cuts that work for you, I’d start with the colors black, tan, and a lighter beige or cream (my most worn pant color, actually). If you prefer cooler tones, try grey and navy instead of brown tones. If your office is more smart casual, then you can simply do similar colors in denim.
For me, cropped slim ankle pants used to be my practical default. For a slightly updated look and looser fit, the J.Crew straight or Theory pants linked below are awesome options that also work well with flats!
- Wide leg trousers – Abercrombie pants. These are gorgeous in crepe.
- Slim ankle pants – For no alterations needed on petites, I love the J.Crew Cameron and WHBM Comfort Stretch. I’m also a fan of these viral Zara pants – note: very high rise and I hemmed them.
- Straight leg pants – J.Crew Kate pants are an updated classic.
- Premium pick – Theory pull on crepe pants. These are so good! They hit below my ankles, and fit me similar to the J.Crew Kate but with a half elastic waistband and a lighter weight, drapey crepe. Note, these in 00 fits looser everywhere than J.Crew Cameron in 00P.
- Tailored Lightweight Wool blazer – J.Crew (on sale!) in petites and camel, black, navy
- Relaxed Fit blazer – Abercrombie, in petites and 5+ colors
- Sweater blazer – J.Crew (oversized) and J.Crew Factory (petite sizing and closer fit)
- Black + Cream sweater jacket – Express. Love this one so much! XS is a little long in the sleeves but doesn’t bother me.
- Trench coat – J.Crew and J.Crew Factory for a shorter trench in petites. The Drop for a long lightweight trench pictured above (but hemming needed on petites)
- Premium Pick – Theory blazers, such as their open blazer which has a shrunken, petite-friendly fit. I just need to fold the sleeves under an inch or two but you can’t really tell (or, get it shortened).
Ribbed fitted tops in black and cream are some of my most worn basics. To build your tops collection, I also love blouses with a nice fluid drape, but also some with structure i.e. a little more “crisp” button up shirt. All of these tops are versatile for wearing with denim and other bottoms outside of work, too!
- Fitted Layering Tops + Tanks – Abercrombie tee and tank, and Reformation.
- Draped shell – Ann Taylor, great tank alternative that isn’t fitted to the body and looks a little dressier
- White drape blouse – Ann Taylor, have this in 2 colors
- Blue button-up shirt – Everlane, have this in white + stripes. J.Crew has a blue one with feminine details very similar to the one I own.
- Premium Pick – Sezane striped blouse, drape blouse. Size 0 fits me with longer sleeves
- Premium Pick – MM Lafleur sleeveless top – understated elegance. Have in XS
- Nude Pumps – Sam Edelman, Ann Taylor
- 2-Tone Flats – Old Zara are pictured in the collage. Similar: Steve Madden, Asos.
- Loafers – Sam Edelman, love and have black + neutral. So comfy!
- Premium Pick – Sarah Flint pumps and flats (SARAHFLINT-JEAN50 for $50 off first order)
- Reversible belts – our Edited Pieces belts were designed to be super versatile!
- Neutral tote – Naghedi, would recommend the Medium size for work.
- Black tote bag – H&M, great value for under $40 with a zipper
- Premium Pick – Goyard bag to add print to solid outfits. Used this as my work tote for years! See my review & comparison post of their styles.