Shortcut To Summer Business Casual

Theory blouse 4

Shirt: Theory (on sale right now!) // Necklace: kate spade, no longer available. Similar // Jeans: Eileen Fisher // Watch: Michael Kors // Shoes: J.Crew, this year’s versions.

When the weather warms up, dressing for the office gets a bit more challenging. Even though our workplace is on the casual end of the Business Casual Spectrum, it’s still an office environment and I want to look appropriate should I need to attend a meeting or get a visit from the boss. If it’s just too darn hot for a jacket, I’ve found that a collared shirt (especially one with a crisp graphic print) looks “business-y” enough. What works for me is a softer and more drapey version. I’ve had my eye on this Theory blouse for a while, and when I saw it had been marked down 40% during the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale, I pounced.

Some may quibble with the jeans as being too casual here and having seen the photographic evidence, I’d be inclined to agree. Or maybe you’re in one of those No Denim!! offices. You could just as easily swap out a pair of slim dark ankle pants like the J.Crew Minnie or the Eileen Fisher crepe and take the polished factor up a notch. A pencil skirt could work too. Others may quibble with the fact that I don’t tuck in my shirts. Unlike the jeans, it’s a comfort thing for me, and non-negotiable.

Theory blouse, kate spade necklace

With such a dramatic print, I wanted to keep the accessories simple and minimal….

pointy toe flats

My pant hems really aren’t that uneven…think it’s just how I’m standing and the camera angle.

…and the footwear bright. These J.Crew “Viv” flats are from last year, and really add such a nice color pop. (A note on the Viv’s…this style runs small, so size up 1/2 to a full size. I’m normally a size 7 and in this shoe I wear an 8.)

Do you have a shortcut or formula for warm weather office dressing?

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24 Comments

  1. May 30, 2014 / 4:28 am

    Love the top and the red shoes. This is similar to what I wear for summer school teaching. Down here it gets so hot outside and then so cold with extreme air conditioning on the inside…this becomes a little bit of a challenge. You look great in a look like this…I love it!

  2. May 30, 2014 / 5:21 am

    I love those red shoes. I wear a lot of Theory. I like the cleans lines and the shirts always fit me. Last year I bought a navy and white stripped shirt similar to yours. It falls perfectly and is a bit longer in the back which a really like. I also won’t be tucking in my shirts…nope, not anymore!

  3. May 30, 2014 / 5:54 am

    Love this look, and it’s perfect for my office too. Fabulous flats.

  4. Noel
    May 30, 2014 / 6:25 am

    Love your look! I work out of the house and other than the occasional video conference, I can work in PJ’s if I so desire, and since I live in Colorado and work with the Far East — because of our enormous time difference, I often work at 11pm and 6am – in pj’s! However, when I do go out, I like to keep it smart, and this look is perfect. I love how it looks on you and the red shoes? Terrific!

  5. May 30, 2014 / 7:31 am

    I love this look. The shirt is so crisp but comfortable. And jeans are California’s equivalent of poplin, and wool, and corduroy:).

  6. May 30, 2014 / 7:36 am

    I like this look and I suspect that the photograph doesn’t manage to capture the Business professionalism that your person lends to the Business Casual to lift those jeans out of any hint of being too relaxed.
    Those Vivs are great! I went up only a half size in mine, and I may end up giving them to my smaller-footed daughter. . . If I get another pair (and I may very well, I love the shape!), I’ll go to an 8.5.

  7. May 30, 2014 / 8:30 am

    Love the shirt. So glad they make shirts like that for women–I spent many miserable years having to tuck in a shirt, so uncomfortable.

  8. May 30, 2014 / 8:40 am

    The printed Theory shirt looks great. I would use it as a jacket over top a white tank top too for a different look. Those Viv’s are a great pop of colour with your jeans and you are looking totally pulled together for work.
    Enjoy your weekend!

  9. Karen
    May 30, 2014 / 8:46 am

    There’s no need to tuck in shirts anymore. As long as the shirt has a finished look on the hem — go for it. Proportionally speaking, shirts sometimes look better untucked anyway.

  10. pink azalea
    May 31, 2014 / 8:25 am

    I like it too. I rarely tuck my shirts in. For me it’s a matter of proportion – I am long-waisted and if I tuck my shirt into slacks/jeans with a waistband below my natural waist, legs look short, top half long. Also I think it’s more comfortable and easier to stay neat. Your shirt looks like something to wear year-round, love the necklace, and the shoes are a great accent.

  11. pink azalea
    May 31, 2014 / 9:37 am

    Oops, missed Karen’s comment about proportion.

  12. Ellen
    June 1, 2014 / 5:58 am

    I have a very similarly printed blouse, but for my short, busty body, I prefer blouses which oullover my head and have a half length placket. Cut a little fuller in the bust, they seem to eliminate any pulling over the bust, or embarrassing gaping. I always wear it untucked, and think of it as more of a tunic. But to my mind, the necklace gets lost in the print, and I would either wear something chunkier, perhaps on the wrist, or a shorter necklace that fit in the space above the neck opening.

  13. Lady of Style
    June 1, 2014 / 11:29 am

    That’s a cute blouse and can be worn with trousers and skirts. Your flat shoes are gorgeous, I love the pointed shape.
    Offices – unless in modern buildings – usually don’t have a/c in Germany and especially in my area it is not needed anyways. Even in summer the temperature cools down over night and I wake up to clear, fresh air. Very pleasant!

    Annette | Lady of Style

  14. nofearoffashion
    June 2, 2014 / 9:03 am

    Hi, I think I have been on your blog before. You are the one with the fabulous kitten heels shoes, are you not?
    I think this outfit is totally appropriate. Also with jeans given what you told us about your office. Certainly would work in my office and I work at a big bank head office (but Dutch and they are crazy and quaint anyway haha).
    I love Theory and I love the red shoes too.
    Greetje

    • Christine
      June 3, 2014 / 1:11 pm

      I agree, the necklace plays off the print brilliantly!

  15. jangrahammcmillen
    June 3, 2014 / 11:47 am

    You may not tuck, but you work that shirt like a boss, anyway! Like that print a lot, and it’s elevating for your jeans … looks cooler with jeans than it would with a prissier pant, I think. Dressier. I should say dressier.
    Nice, refined and defined edge to accessories, too, that sets off the blouse. The red just finishes the look.
    Pretty groov, you!

  16. Anna
    June 8, 2014 / 5:43 am

    Perfect with black skinny ankle slacks—no jeans in my office!

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