Workwear: Business Casual Staples

Recently someone asked about my workwear staples and without hesitation I immediately launched into my go-to list. Overly dramatic hand gestures included. And while I may not be able to share my unnecessarily enthusiastic pantomime here – I swear I’ll have my YouTube channel up & running soon! – What I can share are pictures & recommendations for helping solve this common problem.


Dress Codes:

I for one work in a business casual office, and while it’s easy for the men – The unofficial uniform is slacks & a button-down shirt – For women there’s much more grey area in terms of appropriate dress. And while I’ll admit that I like formality and tend towards classic, traditional styles, there is definitely still room for creativity even if you have a dress code.

Different work environments are going to call for different attire – While a strict business dress code will require suits on a daily basis, an informal workplace may permit jeans. It’s up to you to find, read, and comply with your company’s rules. Today I’ll focus on the middle ground – Business casual – But don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about your specific situation!



Pencil Skirt

Regardless of your age or body type there’s a pencil skirt out there that will make you feel beautiful and, dare I say it, powerful. It’s a flattering style for most and really simple to style. Wardrobe building block #1 in my book!

Recommendations: Basic and Bold

Sheath Dress

What’s great about a sheath is how versatile it is – You can go from casual Friday to business meeting with minimal effort which is a must for any woman-on-the-go.

Recommendations: A classic solid colored sheath is a must as well as a fun, printed version


If you haven’t invested in a great blazer yet I urge you to pick one up as soon as conveniently possible. A cropped black blazer is an essential. The second piece in the blazer family that I’d recommend is the boyfriend {read: oversized} version.

Recommendations: Cropped & Boyfriend



A classic black pump is worth splurging on. You can wear them to work or for play, and investing in a quality pair means having a heels that are comfortable and will last for a handful of seasons.

Recommendations: A basic black pump is a must and a neutral heel will also come in handy


Mixing & matching separates wouldn’t be possible without the perfect slacks. While there are a number of brands out there with great, office-ready slacks at a lower price point, the one thing that I recommend holding out for is the perfect fit. If need be, find a tailor.

Recommendations: Slim fitting, wide leg, and cropped are all great options


For many body types, mine included, finding a perfectly fitting blouse can be a challenge. However, once you track it down you won’t be able to live without it. They go perfectly with everything from jeans to a pencil skirt and can quickly & effortlessly go from day-to-night.

Recommendations: A crisp white button-down is a must, and you can have some fun with prints or bold hues


Something that has been important to me from day one at my office was being taken seriously, and that has been reflected in my dress each day since. So ask yourself – Do I look professional? You can be comfortable. You can be stylish. But you must also be professional if you want to be seen as a professional.

Keep yourself covered. Midriff, thighs, cleavage, and shoulders should be covered. Sorry! No short skirts, no separates that expose your tummy, and no spaghetti straps.

My top two tips when it comes to making your office wardrobe work for you are to: (1) Get a steamer, quality iron, or send your shirts & slacks out to be cleaned & starched, and (2) Find a tailor you like. Cut and fit can change everything. Trust me.

{Pictures from Workwear Pinterest board}

Stay tuned for all the menswear staples next week!

What are your work wardrobe Must Haves?


Join the MCLV Style Insiders to receive daily blog posts emailed to you, a free newsletter featuring personalized fashion tips & exclusive access to giveaways, surveys, and discounts on styling services.

, , , , , , , ,

20 Responses to Workwear: Business Casual Staples

  1. Laurlo

    That look with the navy pencil skirt/white top is so so amazing. I wish my shape lent itself to tucking shirts in; alas, although I am tiny, I don’t have a waist, so I’ve gotta leave the sleek, fully tucked in look to others. Actually, I hadn’t intended to ask a question, but while I’m at it…what are some of your favorite ways to semi-tuck a shirt/blouse? In the early 90s, I remember tucking in my oversized t-shirts and then pulling out an inch or so all around to avoid the Steve Urkel look. Now, though, it’s the 21st century and we have donated our No Fear shirts to Goodwill and learned alternate methods of semi-tucking. I’ve seen people pull off a “front in, back out” look, as well as the hipster favorite of haphazardly (read: super carefully) tucking off to one side in the front. Tell me what you have seen and liked, as well as what clothing works best with a given method. I’m interested in casual and/or workwear. Hooray, thanks! I’ll leave you with this:

    • AHAHAHAHAAAA I Miss you! I like the tucked in front & untucked back look – But it depends on the top and the pants. Send me pictures of the look/pieces & I’ll tell you what to do! <3

  2. love the pencil skirts!

  3. iswarya laxmi

    Hi dear

    Love these work wear styles….

    Following you .. Do follow back


  4. Love the blue coat!

  5. You know I love your blog, but I’m growing more of a fan everyday! I loved this post! Great Information and the Looks you picked are amazing! Loved the Blue Coat!

    Tiago Aleixo

  6. I love this. One of the things I always ask myself when before I leave the house is, “Am I dressed as well or better than the women higher up than me?” Not better in terms of brands or quality of clothing of course, but in terms of professionalism and put-together-ness. xoxo, BA


  1. Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup | IFB - October 31, 2013

    […] Moi Contre La Vie: Workwear: Business Casual Staples […]

  2. Why Don't You? - October 31, 2013

    […] Moi Contre La Vie: Workwear: Business Casual Staples […]

  3. Guess Who Was Featured On IFB Links à la Mode Halloween Edition?! | Storybook Apothecary - October 31, 2013

    […] Moi Contre La Vie: Workwear: Business Casual Staples […]

  4. All That Glitters - October 31, 2013

    […] Moi Contre La Vie: Workwear: Business Casual Staples […]

  5. Links à la Mode for The Spookiest Time of The Year | VERSATILE JOURNAL - November 1, 2013

    […] Moi Contre La Vie: Workwear: Business Casual Staples […]

  6. Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup | - November 1, 2013

    […] Moi Contre La Vie: Workwear: Business Casual Staples […]

  7. Happy Day: Third Times the Charm! | AlysaLovely - November 4, 2013

    […] Moi Contre La Vie: Workwear: Business Casual Staples […]

  8. Links à La Mode – Green Halloween Dress & Lime Green Booties | sannam and style - November 4, 2013

    […] Moi Contre La Vie: Workwear: Business Casual Staples […]

  9. Half Way Through…. :) | lovelifefashionstyle - November 20, 2013

    […] Workwear: Business Casual Staples ( […]

  10. Links à la mode : The IFB Weekly Round Up | My great WordPress blog - September 14, 2014

    […] Moi Contre La Vie: Workwear: Business Casual Staples […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: