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Runway to Boardroom: 8 Ideas for Trendy Business Casual Outfits

Runway to Boardroom: 8 Ideas for Trendy Business Casual Outfits For generations, a tried-and-true marker of adulthood was swapping kid clothes for a work wardrobe. Flouncy dresses gave way to...

Runway to Boardroom: 8 Ideas for Trendy Business Casual Outfits

For generations, a tried-and-true marker of adulthood was swapping kid clothes for a work wardrobe. Flouncy dresses gave way to pencil skirts and hoodies became blazers, in the name of maintaining the all-important business casual dress code.

That big two-word term, "business casual," brings a ton of outfit inspiration to mind. It's also a total oxymoron. Casual clothing is what you pick out for yourself and wear while relaxing and recharging: It's all about you. Placing "business" in front of "casual" brings in workplace expectations, professionalism, others' opinions. How can you maintain your personal style while meeting a professional dress code? Don't be afraid to craft more daring and trendy business casual outfits.

What Are Trendy Business Casual Outfits?

Business casual has shifted over the past few decades, and it's always been more of an abstract concept than a strict set of fashion do's and don'ts. The vibe of each workplace's casual dress can vary wildly, with creative industries hewing almost entirely casual and conservative industries, such as finance or law, remaining formal.

In general, though, workplace dressing is less structured than it used to be. Personal expression isn't simply allowed; it's encouraged. If you're not excited about what you wear to work, it may be time for a trendy yet work-appropriate capsule wardrobe.

The Benefits of Dressing Trendy at Work

Everyone has heard some variation of the phrase "dress for the job you want, not the job you have." Building a work wardrobe can feel like a lot of effort for the sake of impressing strangers.

Also, "dress for success" thinking is loaded with unfair gendered implications. Even though it's true that appearance matters at work, women generally have to put in much more time, effort and money than men do to look professional.

Your work wardrobe shouldn't just be for the benefit of your clients, your co-workers or your boss. Instead, it should help you do your job. New research says that dressing more formally changes the way you think and problem-solve at work.

The accounting firm KPMG found that a staggering 75% of female executives have experienced imposter syndrome in their careers. A trendy new professional outfit can make a real impact on your sense of self. Instead of focusing exclusively on what your workplace deems OK or not OK, select business casual outfits that make you feel unstoppable.

8 Ideas for Trendy Business Casual Outfits

Your perfect business casual fashion will depend on your individual style and the demands of your workplace. Here are eight of our favorite takes on business casual to serve as style inspiration.

1. Power Suit Suite

A great power suit never goes out of style and is nigh guaranteed to make you walk a little faster and stand a little straighter. Bright colors and unusual textures are modern choices for this outfit, such as Hailee Steinfeld's teal suede power suit.

To put power and punch behind this look, matching elements are key. Make this standard work fit interesting by going with a print — something bold and trendy, such as a dark floral — rather than basic black. Integrate a contrasting color blouse, shoe or tie for even more style points.

2. Tweed-Age Dream

One big misconception many women have when first putting together a work wardrobe is that fashion and work are separate spheres. In reality, midcentury designers such as Christian Dior and Jeanne Lanvin gave rise to business casual by blending menswear elements into women's clothing. The office's lines, fabrics and styles wrap back around to inspire high-fashion runways today.

Classic menswear prints such as houndstooth and plaid are always on trend, especially if you pair them with more traditionally feminine elements. Modernize a retro pair of plaid overalls with a wide-leg cut and a brightly colored or puff-sleeve top.

3. Comfy Sweater and Slacks

If you're hunkering in for a long Monday at the office, try a sophisticated sweater instead of the traditional blazer and blouse. This comfy choice can look just as professional as something structured. Stick to a neutral color and accessorize with earrings, a necklace and a watch.

4. No-Iron Leather Separates

Silk blouses and crepe pants seem like low-maintenance choices until they start to lose their store-pressed look. Trendier choices, such as a vegan leather pencil skirt, never wrinkle. You can also swap out the ever-versatile cropped motorcycle jacket for a blazer on less formal work days.

5. Workcore and Statement Accessory

In some industries, business casual translates to neutral-toned slacks and blazers rather than the occasional pair of jeans. Beige and traditional workwear itself can wrap back around and be trendy, as "workcore" is a frequently cited runway fashion inspiration.

Make work outfits your own with one unconventional statement accessory that speaks to you. This can be a cute novelty handbag, a studded belt or a killer pair of boots.

6. Wearable Motto

The right words can hold serious power, so harness inspiring text for your trendy business casual outfits. A dress or shirt emblazoned with a bold motto can set the tone for your day. Text will naturally draw the eye, so it pairs surprisingly well with loud prints and design accents.

7. Bold Color Monochrome

All-one-color dressing is the trend that's kept going season after season. The most high-fashion way to interpret this trend is one singular cohesive hue. Going for a loud color makes this put-together look even more hard-hitting. Catherine, Princess of Wales (formerly known as Kate Middleton) went with head-to-toe lipstick red.

8. Tricks Up Your Sleeve

What can your work wardrobe and a super-trendy summer dress have in common? A gigantic statement sleeve. Balloon sleeves and leg-of-mutton sleeves are an elongated variant of the puff sleeve that reads more Gilded Age than Disney's "Enchanted." Use these sleeves to shake up the silhouette of your business casual looks.

Find the Latest Statement Styles for Your Trendy Business Casual Outfits

Whether you work at a law firm or a casual startup, you can integrate the latest runway trends into your work wardrobe with trendy business casual outfits. At Kate Hewko, we believe in fun and stylish fashion for every single day. Browse our new collection to free your work clothes from the 9-5 grind.

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