What to wear to work in the summer // business casual outfit ideas

linen wide leg pants summer work outfit ann taylor petites

Ann Taylor pants 00p (current version), bracelet, top xxsp c/o (also styled here),
H&M; blazer (similar in petites), Manolo Blahnik pumps sz 35, Ray-Ban sunglasses

With the start of a new season, I’ve gotten several requests to share more workwear ideas! I work in a coworking space downtown, and while it isn’t the corporate environments I used to be in, it still allows me to make the most of my favorite professional pieces. I also have the occasional need to dress business formal for public speaking or volunteer events, so would be happy to cover that when interview aka suit season rolls around. I’m a firm believer that dressing the part (regardless of what field you’re in) makes a big difference in your attitude and confidence as you take on each day!

I often talk about my trusted outfit “formulas.” The blouse tucked into a pencil skirt is undoubtedly one of my go-to looks, and can generate endless varaitions with different prints, fabrics, and detailing. Another practical favorite is the skinny ankle pant with a longer (or tucked-in) blouse. And on certain days, nothing feels more chic than a pair of tailored, wide-leg trousers and a cropped blazer.

Ann Taylor is having 40% off everything right now – my pants above are old, but they just came out with a new linen-blend pair which I’ve tried on and confirm are super similar. They’re so flattering paired with a more fitted top. AT bottoms in general are loose on me at the waist, so I love ones with a sash belt that you can tighten a bit. From the new arrivals section, I’d also recommend this versatile navy top in a weightier stretch fabric (I got regular xxs as a casual fit).

what to wear to work in the spring summer elegant office style

On me: BP purse, Sole Society sandals 5.5 c/o (also sold here), Ann Taylor top, ASOS skirt
On Karen: Modcloth top, Ann Taylor pants, Talbots bag c/o, Halogen flats (similar)

If my cousin Karen’s outfit looks familiar, you might recall this Modcloth peplum top from back in this post! See how I styled it there for work with a pop of color and a shorter blazer, as a play on lengths.

banana republic petite sloan pants bow shirt work outfit

BP bagBanana Republic pants 00p (shrunken), bow shirt 00p, M.Gemi shoes 35.5 c/o

This look is from this blog post, but I wanted to show my scalloped tote (which comes in three colors!) again for those asking about cute laptop/work bags. It’s borderline big against my 5′ frame, but is necessary for hauling all my daily junk ~ laptop, change of shoes, snacks, makeup bag, and more. The faux saffiano textured “leather” is easy to clean and maintain, and the base hasn’t needed a shaper even with the weight of my laptop. Now that I’ve been toting this several times a week over a period of time, I can’t recommend it enough! And oh, did I mention it’s under $50?

classy summer work outfits business casual banana republic asos petites

Banana Republic top 00p, ASOS skirt (similar), AT pumps (similar), Charter Club pearls

This outfit remixes several favorites that are now sadly sold out (but I’m hopeful Ann taylor will bring back those bow pumps for a third time!). My ASOS skirt is from last year, but here’s another pencil skirt option in floral on super sale that has a similar pastel color scheme.

cute summer work outfits seersucker floral lace skirt

This gorgeous skirt out of Karen’s closet combines so many details that I adore! Unfortunately small sizes just sold out online, but maybe try your luck at local Macys’ stores.

what to wear to work professional business outfits for petite women

I ordered this Express tee last month and was disappointed in how sheer the white fabric was (not as much of an issue with the other colors). I ended up keeping it because I did like how lightweight and comfy it was in the summer heat, but wear a skin-toned bra or nude cami underneath. It’s basically just a soft tee shirt that’s elevated with double ruffle sleeves.

Are you guys tired of these “paper bag” skirts yet? I’ve been reaching for them at least once a week, so expect to see a few more re-styled appearances. I reviewed the chambray version back in this post – do read if you haven’t, since I shrunk mine down to fit. If you’re like me and can legit look 3 months pregnant after lunch, then these adjustable, gathered waists are a godsend compared to non-stretch pencil skirts!


47 thoughts on “What to wear to work in the summer // business casual outfit ideas

  • Jean June 25, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Hi – do you mean the skinny Ann Taylor pants that my cousin is wearing or the wider leg ones? If you mean the skinny, then yes unfortunately I keep hearing they do stretch out, like with many other brands. I wear BR sloan pants religiously and pop them into the machine washer and dryer if I need to bring them back down to size.

  • Anonymous June 26, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Hi Jean,

    Do you know the measurements of Karen's Maison Jules seersucker skirt? How was the fit on you?


  • Daneisha Smith June 27, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    These are great pieces for a business casual setting like my job. I especially love that skirt in the last picture! So cute!


  • Andrea June 28, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Yes, the skinny Ann Taylor pants your cousin is wearing. Thanks for the recommendation, I will try the BR sloan pants next! 🙂

  • Chloe Zee June 29, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    That's so cool! Big congratulations. I was exploring a business ideal in fashion retail and wanted to see if you would be interested to hear about it.

  • Ellie July 1, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    These look really great for business casual workplaces! Was wondering if you would consider a post for interviewing–not just for jobs, but for schools or positions. I'm a medical student with residency interviews coming up, and given that they're generally very traditional/formal, I would be interested to see if you had any tips for styling or any pointers for where to find good suits (that won't make a loan-dependent student too sad ahah).

  • Business TipTop July 24, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Business casual for women is a more diverse and long sought topic then business casual for men. The reason is that women tend to wear in accordance to the fashion as well as the company business casual guidelines.

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