What to Wear to Work When You're Out of Ideas (and Low on Energy)

a woman dressed for work in a blue dress and khaki jacket
Original Graphic by Viviana Duron

We often associate office attire with stiff briefcases, blister-causing stilettos, and formal suits. Since that doesn't leave much room for low-key but creative style moments, and because it often ends up costing us quite a bit of cash to keep our workweek wardrobe fresh, we decided to seek a solution by asking Lauren Eggertsen of Who What Wear, our sister site, to help us think of comfortable, stylish, and casual work outfits to wear Monday through Friday.

"When it comes to dressing casually for the office, make sure at least one article of clothing is tailored and polished," Eggertsen says. "For example, if your office allows for jeans, top the look off with a structured blazer and pumps. Want to wear a T-shirt? Try pairing it with a midi skirt and patent loafers. As long as you achieve a balance between off-duty and elevated pieces within your look, you'll never look unprofessional or sloppy (and you'll still feel casual and cool)."

For a chic batch of eight casual work outfits to get inspired by as well as some rules of thumb to make your morning routine a little easier, click through below.

The Classic Shirt

a woman in a casual work outfit
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

If you want to wear light-wash relaxed jeans, consider pairing them with a classic button-down collared shirt. Since it's associated with business-casual attire, it'll instantly introduce office-appropriate vibes to your look. The look is simple, understated, and chic when styled with dressier shoes, a ladylike bag, and a funky jacket.

Husband shirt
Misha Nonoo Husband Shirt $185

A Dramatic Coat

a woman in jeans and a plaid trench coat
Modern Legacy

Long and dramatic, a coat like this one is the perfect way to bring some formality to your otherwise-casual outfit. The plaid print and perfect cut even dress up the sneakers.

Mango checkered overcoat
Mango Checkered Overcoat $120 $99

Oversize yet flattering, you can't go wrong with this fall-ready coat.

Comfy Heels

a woman in jeans and a white jacket
Sylvie Mus

Here's proof that classic jeans and a T-shirt can look polished enough for the office. Add a sleek, crisp white blazer and on-trend kitten heels, and you're ready to head to the boardroom.

black mules
Botkier Pati Pointed Toe Mule $138 $97

The silhouette of these mules is unique yet understated. They'll liven up any outfit at work or otherwise, but we think they'd look particularly stylish with cropped trousers.

Something Satin

a woman in a black leather jacket and black dress
Brooke Testoni

This is the perfect outfit to wear to work if you're heading to a social function or date night after since the silky dress can be flirty or professional depending on how you wear it. A pair of sneakers makes it feel more approachable, while the edgy black jacket ensures you won't be breaking any office dress codes. Just add some simple jewelry to polish things off.

Vince Satin Midi Dress
Vince Satin Midi Dress $295 $121

This satin midi dress is insanely comfortable and versatile, not to mention it packs well so you can bring it along with you on every trip.

Old-School Trousers

a woman in a white jean jacket, beige pants, and red boots
Fashion Me Now

Retro-inspired and subtly quirky, we love these plaid cropped trousers. Though they can look formal if needed, you can also pair them with something simple and casual like a pair of booties and a denim jacket.

MSGM Tweed Knit Trousers
MSGM Tweed Knit Trousers $555 $389

These tweed camel trousers with frayed edges are everything.

Simple Loafers

a woman in a red suit
Matthew Sperzel/Getty Images

Now, this is how you master the monochrome ensemble. We also love how this outfit takes notes from traditional styles and gives them a modern twist. And when in doubt, flat loafers are always a comfortable option.

Via Spiga Tallis Flat Loafer
Via Spiga Tallis Flat Loafer $250 $188

These sleek loafers put a modern spin on the loafer.

The Statement Skirt

a woman in a black leather jacket and black striped skirt
Maja Wyh

We love the artful layers and rich fabrics in this skirt. With sleek black boots and a leather blazer, it strikes the balance of intrigue, serious business, and whimsy. This getup also happens to be an example of how to wear a t-shirt to work without feeling underdressed.

Tie Front Asymmetric Midi Skirt
Vince Tie Front Asymmetric Midi Skirt $325 $130

Complete with a flattering cut, ruffles, and dark green khaki, you'll wear this over and over again.

A Flowy Maxi

a woman in a blue dress and a khaki jacket
We the People Style

Who says you can't wear your favorite bohemian floral maxi to work in the fall? Make it look more refined by pairing it with simple slingback shoes, a khaki jacket, and a dressy bag.

D&G maxi dress
Dolce & Gabanna Lily-print Pussy Bow Maxi Dress $4995 $2997

This purple-and-gold georgette maxi dress will make a statement on any occasion. Tone down the femininity by pairing it with some sneakers.

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