Business meetings can be stressful – especially if you are unsure as to what to wear.
If you want to look professional, you need to dress appropriately, but it is also important to remain comfortable and warm – particularly in winter.
The key is finding the perfect combination between suitable business attire, and comfortable clothing.
Fortunately for you, we have put together everything you need to know to create the ultimate winter business casual look – all you have to do is choose your favorite, and rest assured that you will be stylish and professional all year round!
What Is Business Casual?
Business casual is a style that combines both formal and informal elements. It’s appropriate for almost every occasion, from business meetings to social events, and is usually characterized by being more relaxed than a suit, but still maintaining an air of professionalism.
How To Rock Business Casual In Winter
Now that you understand how to get dressed properly for business casual, it’s time to show off your new skills.
Here are our favorite looks for winter business casual, including suggestions on how to pull together the complete look for each item.
1. The Classic Blazer
This classic piece has been around forever, and is one of the most versatile pieces you can own – so it is worth spending and investing a little more when you make your purchase.
Pair a black blazer with a simple white dress shirt and dark wash jeans, and you’ll instantly look polished and professional.
This can also be a great piece to smarten up a dress or skirt and can be accessorized with belts and scarves to create unique looks that are both stylish and professional.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the traditional black blazer, then why not go for a smarter option?
A light-colored blazer or lightweight cotton jacket can look just as smart, if not smarter than a black version.
They are also easier to wear in warmer weather, creating a piece that you can wear all year round, and can be worn over many different types of clothing.
For example, why not pair a pale pink blazer with a fitted top and skinny jeans or even a pencil skirt?
2. The White Shirt
White is always a good choice for business casual, as it creates a crisp, modern look that is perfect for any occasion. It can be worn with almost anything and goes well with both formal and casual attire.
If you want to keep things really simple, opt for a plain white button-down shirt, and avoid prints and embellishments.
You can also try pairing a white shirt with other colors, such as red or pastel shades, to create a bolder look.
Make sure that your shirt is super white, bright, and crisp to increase the business-like element of any outfit.
3. The Dress Pants
Dress pants have been around since the beginning of time, but they are still one of the best ways to achieve a sharp and sophisticated look.
Opt for a darker color like navy blue or charcoal gray, and pair these with a white or cream shirt.
Avoid wearing patterned trousers, as this can look messy and unprofessional. Instead, choose solid colors, or select a pair of trousers that match your shoes.
These can then be dressed up or down, depending on your needs, and are a must-have staple to nail that business-casual look.
4. The Skirt
A skirt is another essential piece of business casual attire and should be worn by every woman who wants to appear professional.
Choose a longer style, and pair it with a long-sleeved shirt and flat sandals for a simple but glam business casual look.
Don’t worry about choosing a particular length or feeling limited to choosing longer pieces; shorter skirts will work fine too, especially if paired with a cardigan or jumper.
Skip the high heels and instead opt for a pair of comfortable flats to take the look from overly glamorous to just right for the office.
5. The Cardigan
A cardigan is a fantastic way to add warmth without sacrificing style, and a fitted or more tailored cardigan can instantly help to uplevel an outfit, making it perfect for a business meeting or networking event, without you having to worry about looking overly formal.
Opt for a neutral shade, such as white, black, tan, or brown, and pair it with a dress or skirt, a smart shirt, or even a t-shirt for an instant business-casual aesthetic.
Add some accessories to finish off the look, such as a scarf or necklace.
6. The Trousers
Smart, tailored trousers are a wardrobe essential, and should be owned by everyone who wants to look their very best.
Opt for a pair of tailored trousers, which will give you a slimming effect and help you look slimmer. Choose a darker shade, such as navy or charcoal, and pair them with a white shirt and a coat.
To complete the look, team a pair of trousers with a belt, and accessorize with a watch and statement earrings.
This is perfect for helping you to look the part – and, as a bonus, is guaranteed to help you feel like an absolute powerhouse!
7. The Sweater
Sweaters are a great way to stay warm in cold weather and make a stylish addition to any outfit – including helping you achieve that business-casual chic.
They come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t own at least two different styles.
A knitted sweater is ideal for keeping you warm during colder months, while a pullover is perfect for spring and summer.
Pairing a sweater with a collared shirt is a classic combination, which looks traditional, neat, and preppy, and allows you to stay warm in the winter months, while still looking and feeling professional.
8. The Coat
A good coat is a wardrobe essential, not only because they keep us warm throughout the year, but also because they’re versatile enough to wear in many different situations.
You can easily create a business casual look by pairing a jacket with a blouse, skirt, or trousers, and adding a scarf or hat to complete the look.
Classic woolen trenches tend to be a winner – these allow you to stay warm, but are sharp and tailored for a professional silhouette.
For warmer days, choose a lightweight cotton jacket, which will allow you to move around freely and comfortably.
The trick here is to choose a coat or jacket that fits you like a glove and highlights your best features.
Consider using a professional tailor if you find a coat that is just too big – they will be able to adjust and alter your garment to ensure that you have a sharp, neat, elegant coat that will help you stand out for all the right reasons.
9. The Dress
Dresses are a staple piece of clothing for women everywhere, and a dress is a must-have item for anyone who wants to look their best. Whether you prefer dresses in bright colors or pastel shades, there’s a dress for every occasion.
A dress is a versatile option for both work and play and can be worn with everything from jeans to pumps. It’s easy to create a business casual look with a dress, simply add a cardigan or jumper underneath.
If you want to go for something more formal, then opt for a pencil dress or a longline dress, which will help you to look smart and polished, while still remaining comfortable.
10. The Tailored Jeans
Jeans may seem an unusual inclusion on a list of business casual must-haves, but when styled correctly, they can more than earn their place in your wardrobe.
When it comes to choosing a pair of tailored jeans, remember that they need to fit well and flatter your figure.
Choose dark wash denim, which will help you appear slimmer and more toned – these also tend to look more professional and formal, so can be a better option for an office-type setting.
Try to avoid wearing skinny jeans if you are self-conscious about your body, as this style tends to emphasize your hips and thighs, rather than slimming them down, and can lead to you feeling less comfortable and confident.
Opt instead for straight-cut or bootcut jeans, which will draw attention away from areas where you don’t want them.
11. The Accessories
Accessories are perhaps one of the most important parts of your outfit, as they can completely transform how you look.
From scarves and hats to jewelry and handbags, accessories are a quick and easy way to change up your appearance without having to spend hours getting ready.
They can be used to make a simple outfit feel more sophisticated or to give a more elaborate ensemble some added interest.
A simple pair of earrings or statement necklace can be all that you need to stand out from the crowd, allowing a little element of your personality to shine through while remaining professional and suitable for a business casual environment.
Part of the fun of creating your look is playing around with a variety of accessories – you may be surprised at the power that can be found in small changes!
How Do I Create A Business Casual Look?
Creating a business casual look may seem a little intimidating – this is one of those vibes and aesthetics that many people tend to disagree on, and it can be hard to know when you have nailed it.
The trick is to make sure that the clothes you choose come together to create an overall look that suits you, and we have some top tips for you to consider.
Choose Colors Carefully
If you’re looking to create a business casual outfit, you’ll probably want to stick to classic colors like black, navy blue, and white. These colors are timeless and won’t date, making them perfect for any season.
However, if you’re not keen on these traditional hues, there is no harm in trying and experimenting with other colors.
You could opt for a bolder color such as red, or a lighter shade such as pink or turquoise. This will allow you to express yourself and show off your personal style, while still keeping things appropriate and business casual.
It is best to avoid loud, garish patterns or large logos but outside of this, you do have a little freedom to play with color.
Consider Your Shape
The key to creating a business casual look is ensuring that the clothing you wear fits properly.
If you’re curvy, try to avoid baggy tops and trousers, as this can make you look heavier and bulkier. Instead, opt for fitted pieces, which will highlight your best features and keep everything in proportion.
For instance, if you have a large bustline, go for a dress that has a high neckline, so that it doesn’t cover it up.
If you are tall, you might find it tricky to find trousers that fit well, as most standard cuts and lengths usually sit too low on your waist.
To combat this, try opting for pants with a slightly higher rise, which will help to elongate your legs.
By taking some time to truly understand your body shape and type, you will be able to choose clothes that really suit you.
Tailored, well-fitting, and well-cut clothes will always look smart and professional, so this is an important step in building a business casual wardrobe.
Choose Your Fabric
When choosing your outfits, it’s always good to keep in mind what fabrics work best for you.
Opt for something that is durable and resistant to wrinkles, such as cotton, linen, or wool. Avoid synthetic materials, as they don’t breathe very well and can cause itchiness and discomfort.
You should also think carefully before choosing something that requires specific cleaning, such as delicates, hand wash, or dry clean only – consider whether you will have time to take care of this and if it would be worth it.
Keep Accessories Simple
Accessories are a great way to add some personality to your outfits without having to spend too much time choosing something new.
A simple necklace or bracelet can transform a plain blouse into something more interesting, or try adding a scarf, tie, or watch, a cute necklace, or a smart pair of earrings.
These items are easy to accessorize, and they can help give your outfit a unique twist, allowing you to express a touch of personality and style, while still remaining professional and smart.
However, it’s important to remember that accessories shouldn’t overpower the rest of your ensemble – instead, they should aim to complement what you are wearing.
Choose accessories that complement the rest of your outfit rather than distract from it; if you have a simple neckline, then a statement necklace can be a great point of focus, while a nice watch or bracelet can complement a short sleeve.
Choose The Right Bag
Your bag can also play a large role in achieving a business casual look, and can really be the secret to pulling together your whole outfit.
There are a number of options available, but you need to make sure that anything you choose is sturdy and comfortable, as well as practical for your needs; there is little sense in having a stunning handbag that nothing fits in, causing you to have to carry your goods!
A leather satchel is a classic choice, as it looks smart and sophisticated, and won’t weigh you down.
Alternatively, you could opt for a smaller shoulder bag, such as a crossbody bag or clutch. These bags are easier to manage and offer maximum convenience.
A backpack is another option, although it may feel bulky and uncomfortable. Try to ensure that it is comfortable and versatile, allowing you to easily move around, and opt for a classic leather style, rather than a more sporty canvas option.
Invest In Quality Shoes
Whether you prefer flats or heels, investing in quality shoes is essential for achieving a business casual look.
Investing in a pair of sturdy black pumps will give you a polished finish, and this is a style that tends to go with everything.
For those days when you need to get out quickly, invest in a pair of slip-on loafers. They are easy to put on and remove, and allow you to walk confidently through the office with ease, while also looking preppy and professional.
For a more formal look, try opting for a pair of court shoes. This style has been popular for many years and is still considered one of the most stylish styles for women. They come in a variety of colors, so you’re bound to find a pair that suits your personal taste.
If you want to wear sandals during the summer months, then go for a flat version, as these tend to be more comfortable and less restrictive – opt for closed toes where possible, as this can look more professional.
Choose A Suitable Suit Jacket
As we mentioned, a jacket is essential for any business casual outfit. You should always opt for a smart-casual jacket or blazer with a button-up collar, and avoid wearing a sports coat.
A good, well-tailored jacket or blazer is perfect for adding a touch of professionalism to any outfit and can keep you warm while still allowing you to look smart.
If All Else Fails, Wear A Dress Shirt With Jeans Or Pants
A dress shirt is not only ideal for dressing down a suit, but it also works perfectly with jeans or trousers, and this can prevent your outfit from becoming too dressy, or too casual.
Opt for a solid color shirt, such as white, blue, gray, black, brown, or navy, and make sure that it fits correctly.
Avoid shirts with patterns or logos on them, as they may distract from the overall appearance of your outfit, and tend to look a little less professional and business-like.
Keep Clothes Clean And Pressed
It’s important to ensure that your clothes are clean and pressed before attending work. This will help prevent stains and creases from appearing on your clothes, which could detract from your overall appearance.
Make sure you iron your clothes when needed, and hang them neatly in your wardrobe so that they don’t become wrinkled.
As you can see, dressing appropriately for work and nailing that business casual aesthetic doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort or style; instead, it means choosing pieces that are both stylish and functional, and which will help you to stand out from the crowd – even when the weather is dreary!
Our top tips will help you achieve that perfect balance, and you can get the job done while looking sensational – everyone’s a winner!