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3 Accessories + 4 Items = Stylish Business Casual for Women

download (59)For men, business casual is easy: khaki pants, button-up shirt, and a blazer. If you are east of the Mississippi River, you can even swap your khaki pants for denim (we sure love our denim out west). However, if you are a woman, what does business casual mean for you? There is a thin line between business happy hour reception and “I am on my way to go do yoga.”

Business attire generally means suits. Business casual means separates. So here are three accessories and four separate items to help you do business casual.

Here are your three accessories for stylish business casual: necklace, earrings, watch. That’s easy to remember, right? When you are headed out the door, just think NEW. N is for necklace, E is for earrings, and W is for watch. We will use this later to sprinkle in some style to a business casual outfit.

The four separate items you need are:

1. Jacket or cardigan

2. Blouse

3. Skirt or pants

4. Shoes or boots

The trick is that nothing can be from the same suit, and preferably, nothing should be the same color or same print. (Though different monochrome looks could be professional, for simplicity’s sake, let’s say nothing can be the same color or pattern.) In other words, you can’t wear your black pinstriped jacket with your black pinstriped pants; that is wearing a suit and will not be considered business casual.

Let’s put four pieces together. You grab your:

  1. White blazer
  2. Light pink button-up blouse
  3. Denim pencil skirt

Burgundy high heels. These are all separates; you have successfully followed the rules. Now, let’s add the three accessories. You grab your:

  1. N = Small gold necklace
  2. E = Gold hoop earrings
  3. W = Chunky gold watch

There you go! Both casual and business! Let’s try one more. You grab your:

  1. Orange cardigan
  2. White, loose tank top
  3. Gray ankle-length trousers
  4. Gray high heels

And for the three accessories:

  1. N = Long silver pendant necklace
  2. E = Silver stud earrings
  3. W = Silver bracelet watch

The formula will never fail you to look casual but professional at work: 3 accessories + 4 items. Just remember that to pull off business casual for women, choose separates, not pieces that are too matchy-matchy. And if you want to go full fashionista on your work colleagues, choose a pair of shoes or a handbag that will leave them wondering, “How in the hell did she pull off that incredible outfit?”