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Putting together a solid business casual outfit for work can be challenging. Usually, the dress code is governed only by some loose guidelines: don’t wear tank tops or flip-flops or tight or revealing clothes. And the only thing you know for certain is you shouldn’t wear a power suit or gym clothes.

Most women deal with this lack of guidelines by checking out what everyone else wears. That is a decent strategy, as long as you model your wardrobe after the right women. A better route is to be the fashionista others want to mimic. Use this list of business casual fashion recipes to get there.

Conservative Jeans + Oxford Shirt + Jacket + Heels

This is a no-fail look, assuming your pieces aren’t overly embellished. The underlying lesson here is about how to dress up your casual pieces (the jeans in this case) so they’re work-appropriate. It’s absolutely OK to team a pair of jeans with heels and a button-down top. It’s not OK to wear a T-shirt dress with sneakers and then try to compensate with expensive jewelry.

Comfort is key, but keep your look polished. Find a good balance. Think about dressing down your formal wear vs. dressing up your casual wear.

Muted Ensemble + Updo + Lip Color

A standard outfit goes from forgettable to memorable when you top it off with the right hair and makeup. If your wardrobe offers mostly low-key outfits, show off your style in your beauty routine. It shouldn’t be intricate or overdone, but take a few minutes to put your hair in a topknot and swipe on a bold-ish lipstick. It’s quick to do, even if you’re running late, and shows more professionalism than running out with wet or dirty hair (if you have long hair, dry shampoo and a bun are your best friends).


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