10 Timeless Office-Approved Outfit Formulas Inspired by Fashion Week

Updated 09/13/19
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When we're getting ready for work in the morning, our minds are usually racing with thoughts about upcoming deadlines, meetings, and projects. And in the meantime, we're tasked with picking out the right ensemble to get the job done with confidence. No matter how much you love fashion or how awesome your wardrobe is, there are always going to be days, and even weeklong stretches, when you just stand in front of your closet with a blank look wondering what you should wear.

Fortunately, this is not going to be one of those weeks since the internet is constantly brimming with a fresh batch of work outfit ideas, thanks to the constant cycle of fashion weeks. And there's no better place to look for style inspiration than on the streets of London, Milan, New York, and Paris in between shows. When we asked "Who What Wear" associate editor Kristen Nichols to weigh in on the best timeless trends that work in an office setting, she noted "seeing lots of strong suiting, unexpected bold hues, vintage-inspired denim, and modern takes on the kitten heel (this season's It shoe)," which we can definitely get behind. 

With this in mind, we rounded up our top 10 favorite office-approved looks to take note of. Rest assured, each outfit formula hits the style trifecta: Aside from being physically comfortable, you'll be taken seriously professionally and feel confident. To make your mornings a little easier (and your office a lot more stylish), peruse these work outfit ideas.

Blouse, Relaxed Jeans, and Pumps

a woman in a polka dot blouse, jeans, and pumps
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Whether you're running to meetings all over town or sitting at a desk all day, comfort is key to a good workday. And what's more comfortable than a pair of relaxed jeans? To make them work-appropriate and style-savvy, wear a printed blouse and on-trend heels and then accessorize with some understated jewelry to finish things off.

Midi Dress, Black Jeans, and Heels

a woman in a midi dress, black jeans, and heels
Vanni Bassetti/Getty Images

So you only got to wear that pretty flowy dress once this summer? Update it for fall by layering it over a pair of pants. We love the pair of ripped, raw-hem black jeans against the vivid green hue photographed above.

Blazer, Cropped Jeans, and a Pop of Color

a woman in blazer, cropped jeans, and a bright blue bag
Sylvie Mus

Eye-catching and unique basics sound like an oxymoron, but they do exist. Case in point: This oversize black blazer complements the half-zip turtleneck perfectly and does a nice job transitioning the cropped white jeans from summer to fall (yes, you can wear white after Labor Day!). Introduce a pop of color in your shoes or handbag to add a touch of fun and personality to the look.

Loose Midi Dress and High Boots

a woman wearing a loose midi dress and high boots
Timur Emek/Getty Images

Tall boots with a long dress hanging over them is always a good idea. If you don't need to pack a handbag full of essentials, take style notes from the proportion play of the mini top-handle bag above. 

Turtleneck and Wide-Leg Trousers

a woman wearing a turtleneck and wide-leg trousers
Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images

This outfit looks comfortable enough to live in and also happens to be hip and polished for an office. The warm camel tones of the sweater keep the outfit grounded, while the vivid yellow pants will fill any boardroom with optimism. Not to mention that the wide-leg silhouette is insanely flattering, and you can never go wrong with the half-tuck. To refine the aesthetics, just add a pair of sculptured earrings.

Pantsuit and Statement Shoes

a woman in a lavender pantsuit and statement shoes
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Business and pleasure join forces in this quirky purple pantsuit. Incorporating playful pastels and different shades of a cheerful color will keep things light, while a clean, classic cut and style will ensure you look appropriate for the setting. Opt for a pantsuit that gives the traditional piece a modern twist.

Sweater, Midi Skirt, and Playful Slingbacks

a woman in sweater, midi skirt, and playful slingbacks
NurPhoto/Getty Images

This is probably the best fall outfit formula around. It's easy, reliable, and flattering, but don't be afraid to put your own spin on it. We love how this architectural skirt looks with the organically shaped sweater and playful polka-dot heels. And it doesn't look overly whimsical since everything remains within a neutral black-and-white color scheme.

Bold Sweater, Relaxed Jeans, and Sock Boots

a woman wearing bright red sweater, relaxed jeans, and sock boots
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Instead of getting creative with interesting shapes and fabric in quiet, solid tones, this outfit inspires us to go for bold colors in classic silhouettes and styles. Jeans, sock boots, a belt, and a sweater. That's what fall outfit dreams are made of.

Solid Top, Khaki Bottoms, and Textured Pumps

a woman wearing a solid black top, khaki bottoms, and textured pumps
Timur Emek/Getty Images

Aside from denim, khaki is one of the most versatile, easy-to-wear materials both aesthetically and comfort-wise. And as much as we love a jean skirt, there's something about these camel-hued utility pieces that make them look slightly more refined. Since it is on the casual side, consider pairing khaki with a black top and heels in a luxe material. These velvet pumps with gold details get the job done perfectly.

Button-Down, Chain Belt, and Flare Jeans

a woman in a button-down, chain belt, and flare jeans
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Of course, this ensemble might not fly in every industry, but if you ever have a one-time Casual Friday, then it'll soon be your go-to look. It's the perfect mix of on-trend style and classic business casual garb. Plus, it's flattering and easy to replicate. Simply tuck a simple white shirt into a pair of high-rise wide-leg jeans with a chic chain belt, and let the elongating denim do all the work.

Trench, Bright Trousers, and Embellished Heels

a woman in a trench, bright trousers, and embellished heels
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

If you're going to shop for new items to wear in the workplace this season, let it be a pair of fashion-forward trousers inspired by joggers. These side-stripe slacks are reminiscent of track pants, and yet the grown-up checkered trench coat and pearl-embellished pumps tone them down perfectly.

Rebecca Taylor Embroidered Polka Dot Silk Chiffon Blouse
Rebecca Taylor Embroidered Polka Dot Silk Chiffon Blouse $275
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Mango Mom relaxed jeans
Mango Mom relaxed jeans $60
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Jil Sander Studded square-toe leather pumps
Jil Sander Studded square-toe leather pumps $880
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Réalisation The Violette
Réalisation The Violette $225 $150
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J Brand Cropped Skinny Jeans
J Brand Cropped Skinny Jeans $260
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Gray Matters Mildred Classica Heel in Bianco and Limone
Gray Matters Mildred Classica Heel in Bianco and Limone $495
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Rachel Comey Slim Legion Pant in Dirty White
Rachel Comey Slim Legion Pant in Dirty White $345
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Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh
Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh Arrow-Embellished Denim Slingbacks $780
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HOFMANN COPENHAGEN Anni Button Up Dress
HOFMANN COPENHAGEN Anni Button Up Dress $305
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Mansur Gavriel Vegetable Tanned Mini Saddle Bag
Mansur Gavriel Vegetable Tanned Mini Saddle Bag $595
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Acne Studios Disa Oversized Roll-Neck Wool Sweater
Acne Studios Disa Oversized Roll-Neck Wool Sweater $470
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Zara CULOTTES
Zara Culottes $50
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Dinosaur Designs Mineral Oval Gold-filled Resin Earrings
Dinosaur Designs Mineral Oval Gold-Filled Resin Earrings $190
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MSGM Asymmetric-Ruffled Double-Breasted Wool Jacket
MSGM Asymmetric-Ruffled Double-Breasted Wool Jacket $800 $320
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MSGM Button-detailed checked twill straight-leg pants
MSGM Button-detailed checked twill straight-leg pants $605 $242
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Cult Gaia Alia leather mules
Cult Gaia Alia leather mules $320
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Carven Perl Ribbed Wool-blend Sweater - Midnight blue
Carven Perl Ribbed Wool-Blend Sweater $450 $194
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Paule Ka Ruffled hem skirt
Paule Ka Ruffled hem skirt $423
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Proenza Schouler Leather-Trimmed Grommet-Embellished Suede Mules
Proenza Schouler Leather-Trimmed Grommet-Embellished Suede Mules $850
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Jil Sander Cashmere relaxed jumper
Jil Sander Cashmere relaxed jumper $970
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Re/Done Stovepipe high-waist jeans
Re/Done Stovepipe high-waist jeans $250
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Topshop MOJITO Sock Boots
Topshop Mojito Sock Boots $95 $50
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Cushnie Ruched Silk-Tulle And Chiffon Top
Cushnie Ruched Silk-Tulle And Chiffon Top $795
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Cuyana Linen Ruffle Wrap Skirt
Cuyana Linen Ruffle Wrap Skirt $175
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Suzanne Rae Maryjane in Marigold Satin
Suzanne Rae Maryjane in Marigold Satin $495 $297
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Flared Jeans Oregon flared jeans
Eytys Oregon flared jeans $235
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Tory Sport Colorblock Track Pants
Tory Sport Tory Sport Colorblock Track Pants $135
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