Easy Work Outfit Ideas, Vol. 2 (Fall)

Ann taylor short navy trench coat petite try on

Everlane sweater xxs c/o (also styled here) + slim pants 00 ankle, Ann Taylor trench xxsp c/o + similar bow pumps, Goyard bag

This post on Fall work outfit ideas was the most viewed and Pinned last month, so I’m hoping to make it a regular feature each season! The temps have dropped rapidly here so the next installment will probably have to be with tights (to be honest, my least favorite for styling purposes, but a necessary part of life in New England). In this post I’m also trying on a few pieces that I selected from my brand partners, and included sizing & fit info!

1. swingy and navy

As a changeup from more fitted pieces, I love the look of a slightly flared, swingier silhouette balanced out by a shorter length (either a short swing dress, or a cropped length swing jacket).

cold weather work wear petite fashion blog

Try-on note: This Ann Taylor short trench is true to size with a slight A-line silhouette (trying on xxs petite). The navy twill fabric is medium weight thickness and has a soft, felted feel to it. I would wait for a sale if interested in this piece!

Try-on note: These Everlane side-zip cotton work pants in houndstooth fit me surprisingly well, with my only complaint being the black exposed side zipper against the brown print. These unlined pants are slim fit, nice and flat in the front, with lots of stretch and an elasticized waistband. The 00 fits my postpartum bod with no waist gap (so these fit smaller in the waist than most AT / LOFT / BR pants), but note the Ankle length is a full length on me hitting right below my ankles. I have them folded under 1″ in these photos for a shorter cropped look – the bottom hem is slightly banded, so it’s easy to fold the hem up and it will stay put all day.

Alternate styling idea: paired with floor-length trousers for a long, lean silhouette!

ann taylor camel pants petite try on

Ann Taylor Madison trousers 00p (old color; waist altered) M.M. LaFleur top xs c/o, Banana Republic pumps 5

2. sweatshirt meets blazer

If I had to parse down my recommendations over the years for a small capsule wardrobe, this knit blazer (comes in several colors) would surely be in the top 10. I’ve posted it several times with workwear, denim, dresses, you name it. The weighty, knit stretch material is comfortable like sweatshirt fabric, the blazer has a flattering slim silhouette, and there’s a different fun print lining inside each of the 5 colors!

Speaking of color, this mustard wool skirt always brings a smile to my face. It’s several years old, but J.Crew just came out with new colors in their wool pencil skirt including a deeper “honey” yellow. Their Factory outlet shop has a similar wool pencil skirt in beautiful hues like green and classic camel. The wool material on the regular J.Crew one is definitely better quality so could be worth it for a classic piece, but the Factory version is an excellent value!

how to style yellow jcrew no 2 pencil skirt petite workwear

3. small feminine touches

I love classic pieces with a feminine twist, like the tie knot bows at the cuffs on this blouse.

Try-on note: This is the Everlane machine-washable silk blouse I’ve mentioned a few times before as a great petite-friendly staple. The silk on this is not sheer, and has a more matte finish than their traditional silk (their same washable silk also comes in a wrap style top). The sleeves are meant to be 3/4 but fit perfectly as full length on my shorter arms.

drape trench coat petite everlane silk blouse

Alternate styling idea: for a very similar but slightly more casual look, swap in a long cardigan instead (mine is from BP)!

professional business casual outfits for petite women

My draped trench above is old from Club Monaco, but I wanted to show their current version, the Elima trench. I actually like the updated one better due to the more structured collar and top lapel, because the draped collar on mine shifts around and sometimes looks too wide. Note the Elima trench has more volume and length to it so regular XS is too big on me (sadly xxs is sold out), but the taupe color is beautiful – would highly recommend for someone taller.

club monaco drape trench coat extra petite

Trying on Club Monaco trench xs (I’d need my usual xxs), Ann Taylor pants 00 petite & heels (similar)

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  1. Hope wrote:

    Hi jean – love your blog. I’m going to be a traveling consultant after graduating college.. With a limited budget, would love to see a post on a “capsule wardrobe” that lets you make many different outfits while also being relatively travel–friendly? or if you already have posts on that.. where can i find those 🙂

    Posted 12.7.19 Reply
  2. Ellen wrote:

    I love your outfits and enjoy reading your post all the time. What size of Goyard tote bag are you holding on the pictures above? Could you please share more info about the bag with me? Thank you so much 🙂

    Posted 11.19.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Ellen! It’s the St Louis tote in the smaller PM size. It’s a thin, foldable and lightweight bag made of handpainted coated canvas with leather straps. When I initially saw it about 10 years ago I thought it was ridiculously overpriced for what it was, and actually returned it. However I went back to it a few years later and it’s honestly been my most used handbag since! I wear a lot of neutrals and solid colors so it’s an easy accent piece to help tie the colors together, and is so lightweight for work, travel, or toting around baby stuff.

      Posted 11.20.19 Reply
  3. Erica wrote:

    Quick note on the Everlane work pants — all the colors have the black zipper, not just houndstooth.

    Posted 11.11.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Ah great to know. Hard to tell even when zooming way into the stock photos. Thank you!

      Posted 11.15.19 Reply
  4. Your work outfits are always so chic and sophisticated <3 🙂 In love with how you styled all of these! 🙂

    XO, Elizabeth T.

    Posted 11.5.19 Reply
  5. Tennile wrote:

    I love this post & your thorough review. That mustard color J.Crew skirt is everything. Thank you Jean. ❤️️

    Posted 11.5.19 Reply
  6. Katie wrote:

    I love your office outfits. I know it gets very cold in Boston…when it does what are some closed toe shoe alternatives you rely on other than a pump? I would love to see some options. Thanks!

    Posted 11.4.19 Reply
    • Kristin wrote:

      Same! It’s usually <60 degrees in the office, and I also walk 2 miles to/from and between office buildings on our campus. Professional options that are warm and healthy for walking– I have a dearth of ideas on my own and could use some help!

      Posted 11.6.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I usually commute in my weather shoes and then change (not sure if that’s a Boston thing but most of the men and women at my previous offices did this!), but you could get black leather chelsea booties that can be worn with skirts and tights. Also I love “sock” booties which basically have a knit shaft so it’s a closer fit against your ankles, so you can wear those under pants for work.

      Posted 11.6.19 Reply
  7. Janine wrote:

    Ahh yes girl, I feel you on the tights front – most of the time I much prefer an outfit without them! I adoooore both pants you are wearing in the first two photos, they give me so much style inspo, i love it!
    xx Janine

    Posted 11.4.19 Reply
  8. Mireia wrote:

    Thanks for the inspiration! Love the looks!

    Mireia from TGL

    Posted 11.4.19 Reply
  9. Alex wrote:

    Thanks for the post! How have you altered the J Crew pencil skirt? Length or waist? Also, I’m wondering if you have recommendations for wool blazers that are slightly more fitted (or at least shorter) than the Gibson. Many thanks.

    Posted 11.4.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Alex, I altered the waist in back in the day but it’s snug on me now. I like to have my pencil skirts sit higher at my natural waist. The length is great – hits at the knee or a tad below the knee which I think is flattering and professional.

      For wool blazers that are shorter than the Gibson, have you tried J.Crew Factory schoolboy blazers?

      Posted 11.6.19 Reply
      • Alex wrote:

        Thank you. I’d love to see your review of the pleated drape trousers from Everlane.

        Posted 11.23.19 Reply
        • Alex wrote:

          Never mind, I tried on the 00 and they are ginormous. 😂. Is there a similar style pant that fits petites that you know of?

          Posted 11.23.19 Reply
  10. Meredith wrote:

    I’m in love with the first outfit you show. SO classy and timeless. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the historical detective series Maisie Dobbs, but I imagine this is the type of thing the main character would wear.

    Posted 11.4.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Meredith – Thank you! And I wasn’t familiar but I had to google her character! : )

      Posted 11.6.19 Reply
  11. Vandana wrote:

    Great post, I am looking forward to more of these each season! It would be super helpful if you could also show outfits with flat shoes or ways to swap them in!

    Posted 11.4.19 Reply
    • Michelle Ryan Blackmon wrote:

      I second that! 😉

      Posted 11.4.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Noted! Although to be honest, when I used to commute further I would always just swap in the same few pairs of black or tan flats or black Sam Edelman rubber chelsea booties.

      Posted 11.6.19 Reply
  12. Angela wrote:


    Thank you again for these work outfit posts. I’m looking forward to the next post (with stockings and all)!

    Also, this is a completely side question and I don’t mean to ask such a personal question but I was wondering if you’re still nursing Nori. The reason I ask is because I have two daughters, both of whom have nursed past their 1st birthday. Both girls wanted to nurse mainly for comfort and bonding, especially when they were sick or upset (although I was ready to wean them but they weren’t so keen on weaning). I personally don’t know anyone else who have nursed as long as I have (around 24 months), although I hear it’s very common in many cultures. I apologize in advance for such a nosy question but I just wanted to know if there are other mothers out here doing so because I feel like I’m such a minority.

    Posted 11.4.19 Reply
    • Pia wrote:

      Angela-I nursed my first until 14 months and my second until 2 1/2 years. Not uncommon and a wonderful thing!

      Posted 11.4.19 Reply
    • Pam wrote:

      Angela- As a MS, RN who has two children (ages 19 & 16 now), I’m REALLY glad to see you ask this question. My children each nursed into around the same timeframe and they are more well adjusted than their peers, have a great bond with their family and are very self-confident. Did nursing make the difference? It was probably a part of the picture. Research shows significant benefit to microbiome, less illness (especially with ears), etc. That said, I DO understand about the feeling that you may be coming into the time to shift out of nursing. I found that starting new, much loved traditions really helped (snuggling & reading a book or listening to lullabies together, etc) smoothed the transition. Also- we started talking about “big kids” and what they got to do (big kid being defined as weaned). I also made sure to share the fact that nursing was wonderful for a “time” but that it was getting past that “time.” Both my kids agreed it was time to move on to the next stage and the transition was met with anticipation and not fear.

      Posted 11.4.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Angela! I totally don’t mind questions like this. I am still nursing Nori but down to 1 a day (early morning) because my supply took a major hit once I got my period again and I haven’t been able to build it back up. For whatever reason or circumstance, I think every mom and little one’s nursing journey is unique and it’s great to hear what has worked for you and your girls.

      Posted 11.6.19 Reply
  13. Emily S wrote:

    “If I had to parse down my recommendations over the years for a small capsule wardrobe”— ooh, what a great idea. I would love to read that post! Please do it!

    I so appreciate seeing more ethical and sustainable brands like Everlane here, especially since Everlane is online only and harder to try on myself. I’ve already placed an order thanks to you. Thank you!

    Posted 11.4.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you, Emily! I wasn’t even thinking about that for a dedicated post, but this encourages me to look through archives for old pieces that are still available and have stood the test of time.

      Posted 11.6.19 Reply

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