Goood morning! I am on a plane to Napa as we speak 🙂 Huzzah! (See my Napa guide over here if you’re also planning a trip soon, I’ll be updating it with me new reccos after this weekend as well!) Scheduling this post to go live ahead of time for all my “back to the office” girlies. While I know most people are hybrid these days, I’m hearing from a lot more of you that 7 days of working from home in PJ’s is no longer your reality. (On one hand, BOO, on the other, YAY more human interaction!?)
It seems like a lot more office dress codes and work environments are becoming less formal and leaning toward casual or business casual, so that’s obviously good news! If that’s you, I’ve put together 11 outfits for you to find some inspo from today–you can be comfy, cool (or warm in 60 degree AC) and polished all at once. Plus, good news: I own and love many of these things and I wear them outside of a business casual setting/for casual summer outfits too–hooray for versatile wardrobe staples.
Best summer business casual outfits:
STRIPED TOP WITH WHITE PANTS AND WHITE SWEATER
White pants are one of those wardrobe staples that can work for pretty much any dress code. You could make it business formal (ish) with a refined blouse and blazer or go workleisure with an oversized sweater. For that in-between business casual look, try a striped top and a white sweater cardigan. I like that the layers keep it polished, but they’re also great for the differences in temperature from the outside heat and indoor chill. (Nothing worse than 90 outside and 60 inside.)
For shoes, I’d still go with heels, but who needs stilettos these days? A shorter block heel will do the trick. And for the final refining detail, try your favorite shade of lip gloss. I feel like lip color always makes me feel a bit more pulled-together and confident! I love the Merit shades because they’re not TOO much color–perfect for striking that “perfectly undone” or “I woke up like this” balance.
STRIPED TEE SHIRT, BLACK PANTS, & WHITE SWEATER
Here’s another look that uses a striped tee and sweater combo. For this one, I went with a black and white striped tee instead, and wore black pants. You could definitely go with block heels again, but depending on your work environment, that may not feel super practical or comfortable. So, don’t be afraid to go with some white sneakers!
White sneakers are one of my favorite versatile accessories, and keeping them white and nice-looking really isn’t as hard as people think. (See my blog post about keeping white sneakers clean HERE.) And, yes, you can definitely wear white sneakers in a business casual office dress code situation as long as they’re bright and clean.
For accessories, go with gold earrings and a silk scarf. My go-to is to tie it around your neck. You could also tie it around your tote on the handle! Try it both ways and see what you like best! It’s the perfect way to add a little color and texture variety to the look.
WHITE JEANS & STRIPED SHIRT WITH A NECK SCARF
More sneakers for work! For this business casual summer outfit try wide-legged white jeans that same polished striped tee. (You know I’m a sucker for stripes–they make every outfit much cuter.) The loose-fit on both of them is perfect for summer, but it still looks polished enough for work. (Good rule of thumb: if it’s too tight to wear to church with Grandma, it’s too tight for work!) Like I said, wear your white sneakers with these, and make the look more work-appropriate with a silk scarf, a tan tote, and red lip gloss. (A red lip has a magical ability to make you look both more professional and more fun. I like this Ilia formula because it’s a pop of color but not TOO bright that it looks odd with sneakers.)
DENIM SHIRT & WHITE JEANS
I love this business casual look because I think all together it’s really interesting and unexpected, while still being polished and professional. It perfectly follows my juxtaposition rule by combining opposite styles together to create your outfit. I use this style rule often, but it’s especially effective when you’re curating a business casual look, and that’s a naturally contrasting style concept.
The base of the look is white jeans and a denim button-up, rather than denim jeans and a white button-up, which would be more expected. Both of those items are more casual, so to juxtapose further, try wearing loafers, a nice belt, and/or a silk scarf too! For a handbag, you could go a lot of directions, but I like a black tote for this look because it plays on both sides of the casual and professional spectrum. That silk scarf could even be tied around your tote bag to zshush it up a bit.
LINEN DRESS & WHITE SNEAKERS
It’s summer, which means short sleeves and shorter dresses are in. (Also, this one has pockets, so, extra perfect.) Depending on your work environment and the overall vibe you’re going for, you could pair this linen shirt dress with white sneakers, block heels, or even sandals. I like keeping the dress and the shoes white, though, because that monochrome moment helps keep the casual pieces more elevated. (I also love this exact outfit for say, a Europe trip, or use the dress as a beach cover up with some sandals on a beach vacation!) See more ways to style a shirt dress over here.
You can keep the dress shapeless or consider a casual waist belt for more waist definition. Either looks great! And, for accessories, a silk scarf and a tan tote add some texture and color variety that I think really works. There are lots of scarf colors and prints to choose from, so find the one that you like best and just be creative with it! Don’t think it has to go any one place or be any one thing. Tie it to your bag, tie it around your neck, make it a bracelet, or wear it as a head scarf. It’s totally up to you and your personal style! (Can you tell I’m a big fan of a neck scarf?)
JEANS, WHITE TEE, & BLACK TWEED JACKET
Jeans and a white tee might not seem like the base that creates a work-appropriate look, but trust me, it’s all in the details. A black tweed jacket over your white tee (which, by the way, this one is washable silk, so it’s more elevated than a basic white cotton tee and perfect for work!) gives the look shape and a more corporate-feel, because it’s like a blazer’s second cousin, just a bit more refined. Perfect for a business casual look! Pair your casual (but polished–no rips here!) jeans and white tee further with some chic understated black sandals, a black tote, gold earrings, and of course–a red lip to really pull it all together!
BLACK SILK DRESS & NEUTRAL HEELS OR SANDALS
Business casual in the summer means you can pull out all your dresses, including your LBD. This silk black t-shirt dress is one of my favorites, because the luxury fabric mixed with the low key style makes the piece really versatile (that trusty juxtaposition rule again). May I also mention the t-shirt dress is WASHABLE silk. (I reviewed it over in this blog post!)
To style it, try adding a few other black pieces (black on black is always a go-to for work!) like the black tote bag and black raffia earrings to keep things polished but interesting. Dress up the look with heels, or keep it more casual with nude sandals depending on your office dress code.
FLORAL SKIRT & WHITE BUTTON-UP
I love to wear stripes when I dress business casual, but I also love to wear florals. It’s not too bold or distracting, but it adds a little personality to the look. For this outfit, pair a floral midi skirt and a tucked-in white button-up. A belt can help you define your waist and draw the top in the bottom together, and the lighter tones will contrast the black and make sure it stays summer and not fall/winter. Finally, a black ABLE leather backpack is both stylish and roomy for all your work essentials!
JEANS & WHITE BUTTON-UP
Here’s a simple summer look that you can wear just about anywhere–work included. You just need well-fitting jeans (these cheeky jeans from Everlane are great because they’re polished, on-trend, but still office-appropriate with the slim-fitting straight-leg. Not to mention, they’re easy to style!) and a white button-up. The top is a little oversized, has a high-low hem, and is wrinkle-resistant, meaning you can wear it a lot of different ways and it still looks professional. Tuck it all the way in, do a french tuck, let it hang, add a coat or blazer—feel free to experiment and find your favorite look.
To elevate the outfit, a black belt, and tan sandals go a long way. I love my Madewell leather tote too, because it’s durable, fits a lot of work essentials, and has a zip-top. Most totes just hang open, so appreciate this feature to protect my laptop and whatnot! To finish the look, don’t forget to add some shine to your lips with your fave Merit lip gloss shade.
WHITE BUTTON UP & CREAM TROUSERS
Here’s the same look as above, but with the juxtaposition rule applied a little differently. I went with formal bottoms using the white trousers and toned it down with white sneakers. Instead of the zip-top tote, I went with my equally useful ABLE backpack. Gold hoops polished it all off for another great business casual look!
STRIPED SHIRT & TAN TROUSERS
Another iteration of a trouser outfit: a black and white striped shirt and tan trousers. For shoes, try a minimal strappy black sandals. (A minimal shoe works best, because the pants are a bold statement!) Finally, add a few pieces of gold jewelry to elevate the outfit.
Hope this gives you some inspo on how to create summer work outfits that are cool, fun, and elevated!
I hope you enjoyed this list of summer business casual outfits! If you noticed, many of the pieces were used for multiple outfits, which means you just need a few pieces on this list to create a full work capsule collection.
Want more capsule wardrobe inspo? Head over to my blog post, “How to create a work capsule wardrobe for all seasons.”