Workwear: 4 Ways to Top Off Your Business Casual Outfit

work wear professional outfit ideas petite fashion blog

Loft tee (old; similar // similar), similar crop cardigan, H&M skirt sz 2 (similar skirt that runs small & fits perfectly), Sole Society heels (old; similar w/ low block heel), Prada double bag (my review), classy girls bracelet (adjustable for small wrists)

Dressing for work in the summer here requires prepping for two scenarios: 1. melting into a human puddle of sweat during your outdoor commute. 2. plunging into a frigid office with the AC blasting so high, it feels like a walk-in freezer.

prada double bag work purse office style

Foundation outfit

One of my go-to “foundation” pairings for summer days is simply a skirt with a sleeveless top tucked in. A patterned cotton / linen tee like this one is breezy and camouflages unsightly sweat stains (all too much a reality when shlepping a 10lb laptop tote in the 90 degree heat) better than silk or delicate fabrics.

business casual pencil skirt outfit extra petite blog
See how else I’ve styled this floral tee over the years: here with a pleated skirt, here with colorful pants, and here in a video on how to improve basic outfits! Below are a few similarly versatile floral tees that are currently available – the LOFT ones (options #2 and #4) are 40% off right now!

Finishing layers

Before running out the door, though, don’t forget to grab an extra layer for the icebox / cubicle (also to keep your shoulders appropriately covered in a professional setting). To make getting dressed in the morning quick and mindless, here are 4 finishing layer options in my regular rotation:

1. Cropped Cardigan
It’s no secret I love these for pairing with dresses and high-waisted bottoms! The shorter length shows off the narrowest part of your torso, which might otherwise be covered by a longer layer. My sweater here is very old, but I also love these Modcloth cropped cardigans and own a few different colors in size xs regular!

colorful professional outfit pencil skirt petite

2. Cozy Wrap
This fleece wrap is perfect for keeping at your desk year-round. The angled, draped front is flattering with both high and low-rise bottoms alike. For fit reference, it’s listed to run big but I didn’t find that to be the case! Mine is my usual size xxs petite, and I likely could’ve sized up.

professional-outfit-ideas-teacher-cardigan-pencil-skirt

3. Blazer
Under a business formal dress code, a jacket or blazer of some sort is required. Consistent with the cardigan theme above, I look for shrunken-fit or cropped styles that nip in at the waist to really highlight that area. Mine’s several years old from H&M, but you can find similar styles in petite-friendly sizes here:

business-formal-attire-blazer-work-outfit-petite-women

4. Button-up Shirt
For a less formal setting, I love the casual chic look of a shirt tied around the waist, and it doubles as an extra layer when you need it. Mine is old from J.Crew (shop very similar at an affordable price!).

chambray-shirt-pencil-skirt-work-outfit-petite-fashion
Which of these finished looks is your favorite?

work wear office outfit ideas by extra petite fashion blog

 

28 thoughts on “Workwear: 4 Ways to Top Off Your Business Casual Outfit

  • Reply Sarah Lilly August 9, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    That fleece wrap looks so cosy and stylish at the same time. I love how you’ve styled the denim button up too, it looks gorgeous with that white skirt!

    Sarah Lilly || The Lilly Mint Blog

  • Reply Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog August 9, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    I really like the mustard crop cardigan you’re wearing! It’s such a cute look, especially for summer!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • Reply Sincerely Ophelia August 10, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Loving the work outfit business casual look! Lovely picks!

    XOXO //
    SINCERELY OPHELIA | NYC Petite Fashion Blogger

  • Reply Ngoc August 10, 2017 at 12:03 am

    Do you have a link for the skirt?

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite August 14, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Ngoc – unfortunately I couldn’t find this particular one online, but there were a lot at my local store so maybe try your luck locally if you have an H&M!

  • Reply Simone August 10, 2017 at 12:26 am

    I absolutely love the cropped sweater and blazer look!!! Thank you for the office wear recommendations!

  • Reply Kay Nguyen August 10, 2017 at 12:55 am

    Lovely looks, love all of them, espeically with the yellow cardigan! Your style is on point <3

    https://www.myblackcloset.com/

  • Reply Elizabeth August 10, 2017 at 1:16 am

    Loving all of these super chic work outfits <3 🙂 So pretty, especially the one with the blazer (my personal favorite)!

    XO, Elizabeth
    http://clothestoyouuu.com/

  • Reply Kyle August 10, 2017 at 2:47 am

    Love the chambray shirt look. How do you tie it up all cute and not bulky like that?

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite August 14, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      Hi Kyle! Chambray shirts aren’t created equal, and a thinner one would definitely work better for this look than a thicker denim-y one. I fold the excess length underneath and then do a double tie in the front, securing it by buttoning one button near the center of the knot.

  • Reply Rachelle August 10, 2017 at 6:36 am

    nailed it, skirts are my go-to as well for work during the summer.

    xo
    Pinksole

  • Reply Tory August 10, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Jean, the fleece wrap has a BIG button. Did you remove it?

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite August 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Hi Tory – yes I did! I totally forgot about that since I’ve had the fleece for so long : )

  • Reply val August 10, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I’ve been eyeballing that top from Loft ever since I first saw you wear it. The mustard cropped sweater is perfect with it too.

  • Reply PetitesPlease August 10, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Advice needed re: cozy wrap. I’m 5’2″ and under 100lbs – but most of my shortness is in my legs – and my arms are long for my body. So petite (or girls’) sizes sometimes don’t work for me because the sleeves are too short or tight. But regular sizes are shapeless on my chest & torso. Anyone who has the wrap (which I’ve been covetting), should I go petite & one size up or ref xs? Halp! 🙂

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite August 14, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      Hi there ~ I get the challenge of having petite body parts : ) Since the sleeves fit me pretty well and I have short arms, I would say go for the regular because I’ve tried Bobeau draped pieces in regular and honestly didn’t find them to be huge. Nordstrom does have free (and easy) return shipping though so it wouldn’t hurt to try two sizes to figure out the best fit!

  • Reply BigBossLady August 10, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    THANK YOU so much for publishing a post on work clothes! I don’t begrudge you wanting to monetize your blog, but there are SO many sponsored lifestyle posts now, and I love this blog for its inspiration on what to wear to work. More of this, please!

  • Reply May August 11, 2017 at 12:06 am

    Love the mustard cropped cardigan. Gives the illusion that your lower body is longer, thus making petite girls looking leaner and taller!

    May
    http://www.lavieenmay.com

  • Reply Nicolette August 11, 2017 at 2:27 am

    I love the effect that the button-up has on the outfit! It’s also very slimming. 🙂

    Nicolette | http://www.nicolette.co

  • Reply Joules August 11, 2017 at 10:25 am

    I’m loving all four ways you styled this look! The chambray shirt might be my fav!

    Style by Joules

  • Reply Made in Mauve August 11, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Loved the different biz casual looks!

    Made in MauveInstagram

  • Reply Julia Mazzucato August 12, 2017 at 9:43 am

    I love this top!
    Julia・Little Miss Haute Couture

  • Reply Mizeats August 12, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Love these work outfit pairings, Jean! They are structured but not restricting. I really love the look with the blazer!!

  • Reply Sara Baca August 13, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I love this post, please do more like this! I have the situation of hot outside/cold inside all the time. Would love to see more posts that address this. 😊

  • Reply Sara August 13, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I love this post, please do more like this! I have the situation of hot outside/cold inside all the time. Would love to see more posts that address this. 😊

  • Reply Cam Nguyen August 13, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    This is very helpful. Thank you.

  • Reply Lienne August 14, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Hi Jean, I love this post! I work at a bank so business casual is a must. I have a very petite frame, so many H&M pieces don’t quite fit right. What are your thoughts on H&M sizes for pencil skirts like this post? Did you need to alter it in any way? Thanks!

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite August 14, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      Hi Lienne! H&M pencil skirts in my opinion run smaller than most workwear brands like Banana Republic and Ann Taylor. An H&M size 2 here is a pretty great fit on me without alterations! They just don’t have a lot of fabric or print choices for workwear (the material on this skirt is a little wrinkle-prone), which is why I often still prefer to spend more at AT for their pencil skirts and just get the waist altered.

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