Did you know there’s a way to dress casually while still looking polished? Did you know you can leave a powerful impression, lead your team, and feel comfortable? That’s where women’s corporate casual attire comes in.
As a luxury styling service for high-achieving professionals, we constantly hear clients asking for a dress code like this. But they don’t know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this quick, easy guide to show you how to look professional without trying too hard.
Defining Corporate Casual Attire for Women
The first question we have to answer is, “What on earth is corporate casual attire?”
Unlike well-known dress policies like business casual or business formal, corporate casual doesn’t get a lot of air time. Why? Because a lot of people think you have to pick between being dressed to the nines or weekend wear.
On top of that, so many folks hear the word “corporate” and instantly picture boring, stuff suits.
Let’s put an end to that misconception.
Corporate casual takes the best parts of traditional corporate attire and combines it with a relaxed, modern attitude. It means looking put-together and thoughtful but not formal.
Part of that means dressing according to your personal brand. Aka, you want to be taken seriously without looking like a carbon copy of every other CEO. You want to add your own style spice.
Here’s an example of what we mean:
We have classic elements like the black and white neutral color palette, a high neckline, trousers, and elevated materials.
But, with a contemporary twist (cropped wide-leg pants, open-toed shoes, and a trend-aware handbag.
Corporate Casual Attire Must-Haves for Women
You’ve got a general idea of what corporate casual attire looks like. Now let’s get into the key pieces to have in your closet:
– An elevated Tee
– A sweater
– A dress
– Straight-leg Trousers
We know what some of you are thinking. Boring!
These days, fashion tells you to buy the hottest, trendiest, most out-there thing. In the moment, it feels exciting. But be honest. How many times do you reach for those trendy clothes you bought on a whim?
At Next Level Wardrobe, we believe in investing in timeless, core pieces that you’ll actually wear. It’s all part of our style system: focus on color, fit, and quality over quantity.
That’s why these four simple, timeless pieces make the cut. Think of these pieces as the must-have ingredients for your casual CEO style recipe. They’re the building blocks to great style and endless outfit creation.
Corporate Casual Attire Go-To: The Elevated T-Shirt
Product by rag & bone, shop here.
While a t-shirt may sound too casual for CEO attire, it’s actually an essential that your office wardrobe needs.
You can dress it up or down for any occasion. Here’s why it’s such a workwear staple.
You can layer a blazer over your t-shirt or even a sweater vest for an updated approach to CEO style.
The right t-shirt looks great with any type of bottom whether they are jeans, tailored trousers, or pencil skirts.
So how do you know what t-shirt is worth adding to your corporate casual attire wardrobe?
For starters, check the material. Say no to polyester and opt instead for soft, quality cotton, like Pima.
Next, check out the fit. This is not the time to buy a ten-pack of Hanes tees from Amazon. Those shirts make you look boxy and sloppy. Instead, go for a tee that’s not too baggy or skin-tight.
It should be long enough so that you can tuck it into your pants (tucking is essential!) but not so long that it looks like you’re wearing your dad’s clothes.
A quality, well-fitted tee says you’re in charge and in style.
The Office Sweater
Product by Reiss, shop here.
Does the office draft make you shiver sometimes?
That’s where the perfect-fitting sweater comes in. Comfortable and chic are two things everyone loves and works especially great in the office.
In any event, a sweater that goes with any bottom is a lifesaver when the unexpected occurs. They’re easy, comfy, and most importantly, casual.
We recommend opting for something light, like this grey crew neck from Reiss. Overly bulky styles start to look sloppy and are harder to pair with different bottoms.
Plus, this sweater is light enough that you can still tuck it in for a figure-defining look.
Corporate Casual Attire Staple: The Easy-Going Dress
Product by Reiss, shop here.
A dress that you can pair with heels or sneakers is a must-have closet essential for corporate casual attire.
If you find yourself short on time when getting ready in the morning, this piece is a game changer. What better way to get out the door faster than an easy-going dress and a pair of neutral sneakers?
No matter your office dress code, make sure your dress is at least knee length.
Just because we’re putting a casual twist on CEO style doesn’t mean we’re telling you to wear a mini skirt to work.
A knee-length or midi dress says effortless yet professional.
Pair the outfit with minimal jewelry like a few rings or a necklace and you’re good to go.
The Straight-Leg Trouser
Product by Reiss, shop here.
We’ve all erased the skinny-fit trend from our memories and opted for a more sleek and figure-complementing way.
Straight-leg trousers never go out of style and never look out of place in the office.
Here’s a trick to make sure your trousers are still fitting the casual side of corporate casual attire. Instead of picking a pair in black, go for navy blue instead.
Why? Black trousers tend to read as more traditional. The blue feels more approachable and modern.
You could pair your straight-leg pants with absolutely any top. Try it with your elevated T-shirt and a great women’s blazer for a meeting. Heading to a work lunch? Partner your trousers with a playful blouse and neutral loafers. The possibilities are endless.
Need a little more help pulling off corporate casual attire? Check out NLW’s Executive Image Consulting services. Our team of workwear experts is ready to help you find your style and change your wardrobe for the better.