When you’re just starting out with internships or an office job is usually when you look in your closet and realize you have about three business casual outfits. Not really a lot to go on. But then as you begin to search for more *adult* clothes, you realize they’re all pretty dang expensive.
Well, that’s why I’m here to help you find some business casual clothes, either already in your closet, or for a decent price at some of my favorite stores.
Probably Already in Your Closet
We all have some sort of dressy clothes in our closets. Don’t overthink the business casual look, it’s really not that serious. Just don’t show up wearing sweatpants (even dark jeans at a more casual work place every now and then are usually fine).
V-neck/crew neck t-shirt. You don’t need to look super dressy everyday. Casual tops paired with dress pants or a nice skirt is perfectly fine.
Some sort of nice button-up. You really should already have a solid white or blue button-up. A nice button-up goes a long way.
A nice skirt. Please tell me you have some sort of dressy skirt deep in your drawers somewhere. If you don’t like skirts, there’s gotta be a pair of nice pants in there somewhere. Dig deep, friend. If you really can’t find any bottoms suitable for work, I’ll get to where you can find those in a second.
Speaking of bottoms, don’t overthink this either. Slacks and khakis are considered suitable for work. Most skirts are suitable for work.
Some sort of nice dress. There’s a good chance you have a dress hanging somewhere that is okay for work. Think: shift dresses, maxi dresses, fit and flare, etc. Just watch for length.
Business Casual Basics
Okay, now that you’ve taken note of what you can wear that you already have, look at what you need.
Some basics for work wear include:
Dress pants. I used to despise dress pants. They were always too baggy/too short/too long on me. I hated the stiff fabric, and I hated how they the regular length would be too short, while the longer lengths would always be just a little too long. But, I’ve found great (and comfortable!) dress pants from Loft. I usually go for the bi-stretch material, but the others work pretty well too.
Blazer. Okay, I myself do not have a blazer. But, they seem to come in handy, especially in colder weather. Blazers are definitely expensive, but you’ll probably use it a ton in the future, so it’s worth it.
Nice tops. It’s easy to just wear your casual tops if money is tight and you can’t really go looking for all these new clothes. But, it’s still nice to have a few tops for work, especially if you can wear jeans sometimes and need some sort of dressy top.
Flats. Let me tell you, I have quite a history with flats. They are not great for walking, and they have been known to make my feet bleed from time to time. So, it’s important to get a comfortable pair of flats with decent arch support (or maybe loafers if that’s your thing) AND a few pairs of those special no-show socks that you can wear with your flats. I’ve always been kind of confused on what shoes are suitable to wear to work. But after I pretty much destroyed my feet on my first day of my current internship (they were new and hardly broken in, oops), I’ve worn sandals quite a few times and nothing has exploded. So, I’m sure nice sandals and heels are also fine.
Skirts. I’m a big fan of skirts, and a personal favorite of mine is the sidewalk skirt from J. Crew Factory, because they’re a good length and have pockets (yay!). But in the heat of the summer, skirts are usually a go-to for me.
Dresses. I love dresses. You might not love dresses, and that’s totally fine. Honestly, they’re not really necessary for your collection of business casual clothes, unless you work somewhere where you have to super dressed up a lot. But, I’m including them on here because I like them, and they’re so much easier when getting ready in the mornings.
For one of my own summer business casual looks, click here.
For chilly days, check out another way I style business casual here.
Where to Find Cheap Business Casual Clothes
What I usually buy: dress pants, nice tops.
Where to look first: clearance.
What else they have: skirts, dresses, blazers, other nice pants.
J. Crew Factory
What I usually buy: sidewalk skirts, nice tops, button-ups.
Where to look first: pretty much anywhere on the site, because they have deals going on all the time.
What else they have: pencil skirts, midi skirts, blazers, dress pants, work dresses, flats.
What I usually buy: nice tops, dresses, skirts.
Where to look first: deals and clearance.
What else they have: dress pants, flats, blazers, button-ups.
Also, I feel like it’s important to mention that I do not get paid per click on all of these links. I’m linking to these stores because I actually shop here a lot and love their clothes.
Let me know of any places you usually go to for business casual clothing in the comments!