Your career is arguably one of the biggest aspects of your life. And the long and the short of it is, you can't achieve your dreams when you don't show up for yourself. That includes the way you look.
No matter where you work, there's a rise in casual work environments these days.
It's long been proven that your wardrobe influences your attitude. This is why your everyday work style has a bigger impact on your career than you think. Even if you don't work in the corporate world, the past few years introduced a bevy of networking workshops, seminars, and conferences for almost every industry. It's no surprise that the wardrobe for these events mirrors that of the working world.
I would love to spend my mornings sipping coffee and catching up on the latest news instead of scrambling around my house picking the perfect yet effortless work look. Turns out, you don't need an endless closet to be stylish at work, especially in the world of smart casual.
Look 1: Denim + Blazer
Smart casual is an elevation of your everyday style and, for many, that includes denim. This is not only a fundamental piece of clothing when building a smart-casual wardrobe, but it's also extremely affordable. The versatile nature of denim makes it simple to mix it up by alternating combinations to create fresh looks effortlessly. This look offers the most comfort, flexibility, and sustainability. You can update this look over the seasons by adding or subtracting layers, playing with heavier or lighter fabrics, and adding the right seasonal footwear.
While style experts will tell you to stick to dark, non-distressed denim, personally I believe you can have a bit more fun. It has to be styled a bit differently (adding a more modest top to spice up the professionalism, for instance), a rule to keep in mind is less is more. You don't want to teeter the line too much.
Look 2: Midi Skirt + Loose-Fitting Top
The comeback of tea-length skirts and sneakers allow for an extra look in the smart causal box. This is a more polished look than the first one but it still allows for the same ease and comfort. You can reserve this look for a client meeting or out of office lunch; pair it with your favorite flats for that annual review you're prepping for. An essential aspect of pulling off this look is to dress it down. A chunky sweater, long-line cardigan, or loose-fitting tee is what categorizes this as smart casual. Don't overdo it and risk losing the "casual" part.
Look 3: Cigarette Pants + Loose-Fitting Tee
The most polished of the looks, this is a fan favorite for the constant meeting-goer. In reality, this would be completely "business" if not for the loose and relaxed fit of the cigarette pants. Since it means an athletic silhouette, there's a sense of ease and comfort that accompanies the style. Like the prior look, you can dress this down to make it even chicer. Instead of flats, opt for white sneakers or loafers. This adds fun and a bit of mystery, having your coworkers asking, "Who is that impeccably styled woman?"
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Featured image by Tom Foltz