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dressy outfits for the office: from casual to formal

July 3, 2023

Working ladies know that it’s essential to have a variety of looks in your closet for different professional occasions. Each work environment has its own dress code and vibe, but having a few professional looks to rely on will help you stay on top of your work fashion game. Putting together dressy outfits for the office doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to rush off and buy an armload of new business suits. With a few key pieces, you can create office looks that range from casual to formal. Here’s how!

about cabi

Cabi is a direct-to-consumer fashion company that aims to help women create versatile wardrobes. All of our pieces are thoughtfully designed so they can be mixed and matched with other pieces from our Collections. The best reason to shop at cabi, though, is that each shopper is matched with a personal Stylist.

Your Stylist will get to know you and your fashion sense so they can make personalized recommendations. Just tell them the look you’re going for and your Stylist can help you make it a reality, like finding stylish, yet professional, looks for the office.

office dress codes deciphered

Depending on the business, offices adopt different dress codes to best accommodate their employees and the work environment. Whether you’ve been in the office for a while or are a newbie, here are some terms you should know.

  • Casual: relaxed, but still presentable. You might be allowed to wear jeans daily, but you should pair them with a nice top and accessories to still look polished.
  • Business casual: professional, but still relaxed. Think button-down shirts, midi or maxi dresses, cardigans, blazers, and slacks. Closed-toed shoes and chic accessories complete the look.
  • Business formal: This dress code is conservative and usually calls for business suits, skirts, or other modest attire. Neutral colors and accessories help to convey the professionalism of the workplace, especially at events.

Knowing your company’s dress code can help your cabi Stylist pick out the best options for you.

casual office outfits

While casual means relaxed, always double-check with your employer when it comes to the dos and don’ts of the company’s dress code. Your employer still wants you to look somewhat professional, so you’ll probably want to save the graphic tees and ripped jeans for the weekend.

When it comes to choosing bottoms, go for khakis, slacks, or dark jeans without embellishments. Tops can be colorful or have patterns and prints that aren’t too distracting. When it comes to style, you can never go wrong with a classic button-down, sweater, or turtleneck. If you want to wear a dress, make sure it’s at least knee-length.

When you browse cabi’s casual Collection, you’ll find a lot of pieces that fit the bill. From blouses with subtle prints to comfy pullovers, to stylish jeans, all of these items can be combined with countless others to create fresh, new looks. Cabi’s casual Collection has versatile looks that you can wear to the office by day and then out to drinks after work with friends with no need to change in between.

business casual office outfits

Business casual is a step up in formality from casual office wear but still not all-out professional. Industries like education, tech, or creative agencies often adopt a business casual dress code to maintain a professional feel while not being too stuffy. The great thing about this dress code is that there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to building outfits since all you need are some key pieces to build up your wardrobe.

On the bottom, you can choose from khakis, slacks, chinos, or dressy skirts that fall to at least the knee. Jeans typically aren’t an option unless your employer okays it or for casual office days. On top, you can pair blouses or sweaters with jackets and blazers, or try out a maxi dress. Whatever pieces you choose, polished makeup and hair paired with the right jewelry and accessories can finish off the look fabulously.

business formal office outfits

Business formal is the most professional office dress code, so there isn’t as much room for expressing yourself through fashion here. Women can wear either slacks or skirts in dark or neutral colors. The skirt should at least hit your knee. Whichever you choose, pair it with a blouse or button-down and a matching blazer or suitcoat.

Your accessories shouldn’t make too much of a statement, either. Pick a bracelet, necklace, or fine watch, in addition to a pair of classic earrings.

tips for transitioning from casual to formal office settings

As you can see, there’s some potential overlap in these three office dress codes. Owning a few key cabi pieces can help you build up a nice capsule wardrobe of office looks that you can dress up or down depending on what the occasion calls for. For example, owning a couple of blazers, blouses, and slacks or chinos can help you create both professional and somewhat casual looks for different office dress codes.

the role of accessories in office outfits

Investing in the right accessories can also help you change up your look in a pinch. Pick out some bags, belts, and scarves that look professional and that can work with a number of outfits. This can help you add a bit of personality to your outfits and either dress them up or down, too. If you know that your office dress code swings to the more conservative side, you’ll want to opt for chic accessories in neutral colors that accent the outfit but don’t draw too much attention. If your dress code is more casual, adding a pop of color with a fun bag, scarf, or even jewelry is a nice touch.

Don’t forget the footwear! Investing in a few pairs of flats or pumps that you can wear to different work events and environments can save you money in the long run. Stay away from sandals unless you know that your office permits them in warm weather.

find your office looks at cabi

Cabi’s Collection was made to constantly create new looks from just a few key pieces. Your cabi Stylist can help you put together the perfect professional wardrobe, no matter what your office’s dress code is. Your Stylist is a fashion expert who is there to help you look and feel your best so your professionalism always shines through!