Easy, breezy summer business professional looks with a few places I’ve found to shop to make business professional dressing as easy (and as budget-friendly) as possible. This post contains affiliate links.
I recently went from a very casual workplace (think sweatshirts and jeans) to a very formal one (business professional vs. business casual). When I needed to flip to business professional dress I definitely did some googling. Can I just say that you can need to dress business professional for your work and not live amid high rises and be only photographed striding confidently to hail a cab? The last time I hailed a cab was probably 2002. So these pictures are me, in actual outfits I wear to work, but just hanging on my perfectly normal residential street. You might even catch some glimpses of one of my kids riding a Big Wheel in the background, because I want to be glamorous, but that’s the max on my glamour, lol. Maybe next time I’ll include some shots of me striding confidently to check the mail in the mailbox. Who knows?! Here are a few of my go to business professional looks to help get you inspired if you’re working on building your own business professional look or wardrobe.
Where to Shop
I will say I’ve definitely needed to cast a wider net in where I shop. My usual go to’s of Target, Old Navy and Stitch Fix just did not fit the bill here. I love Stitch Fix but have found that more formal office pieces are not their strong suit. I’ll be back with more of my favorite looks from the stores not pictured here, but my new online go to’s have been:
- Ann Taylor Loft Factory – I had it in my head that Ann Taylor was crazytown expensive, but Ann Taylor Loft Factory is a whole new ball game. I’ve gotten dressy sleeveless sweaters and structured peplum shells for the $15-$20 range. They do have an free rewards program, but I haven’t really gotten the hang of it, so I’ll report back on that one.
- White House Black Market – Speaking of crazy expensive, did anyone else get the impression that White House Black Market was just for lottery winners? I sure did. I randomly wandered into one though when they were running a crazy double clearance and have been a big fan of their clearance section ever since. I typically get dresses in the $40 range, pants around $30 and tops $25-$35. They have a free rewards program and once you spend a certain amount, it’s always free shipping and 5% off, even on clearance.
- New York & Company – Gosh I LOVED this store, especially back in the “Lerner New York” name days. To be honest, I’m still calling it that and not changing. Like when my grandma would only call it “catsup” and not change to “ketchup” – I finally know what she was feeling. This store left the majority of malls ~ the last time I ran across them, I got a distinct “exotic dancer on a day off” vibe, which just wasn’t for me. But then all of a sudden I rechecked them out and they’re doing beautiful work blazers, dresses and pants. Their prices change A LOT (like a piece is $50 one day, $19 the next, then back up again), so watch for the sales and it’s typically free shipping over $50.
- The Limited – another old time mall favorite that I honestly still miss. They are back online only (catch an earlier review from me here) They run a lot of sales and I’ve been happy with both blazers and pants from there – TBD on work tops and sweaters.
- I’ve also had great luck with Nordstrom Rack (it’s all about that “sort, price low to high” :). Nordstrom Rack is not the loosey goosey return world of the regular Nordstrom though, so just be careful there.
I’ll report back with looks from any of the places I’ve missed here, but in the meantime, here are a few of my favorites (linked if the piece is still available):
Outfit #1 – Turn On the Bright
So you guys know my preferred color palette is “won’t get lost in a crowd” and those kind of pieces tend to be my favorites. For fall and winter, I wear a jacket everyday, but for summer I try to make sure the top can stand alone (actually this is an all season thing since most workplaces are alllll the temperatures. Definitely have looked like a melted candle in a jacket when I felt like my top wouldn’t work alone.) New York & Company billed this top as a vest and I ordered it just kind of as a wild card. I’m glad I did — it’s much less a vest, and much more a fitted tie shell which I love.
Style Notes: Top – NY & Company, Pants – Macy’s, Shoes – Crocs (I will continue my campaign until everyone is a Crocs wearer! I typically walk 2 miles throughout my work day and don’t even feel it in a Croc. Like walking 2 miles on a cloud.)
Outfit #2 Zig Zaggy Blazer
This has become one of my favorite work blazers — perfect over a bright top, or with a bright pant. It’s buttoned up but still fun. Also it has a great stretch, but still a structured look over a lot of knit blazers.
Outfit #3 Navy Dress
So I haven’t worn a “designer” piece since probably high school. I found this Tommy Hilfiger dress on Nordstrom Rack for $35 and it just feels really high end. I love the gold detailing and it’s a really heavyweight fabric that just feels amazing. Pro tip on Nordstrom Rack: if you search “Iconic American Designer” that’s their code (it’s a secret, I don’t know why) for Tommy Hilfiger and “Modern American Designer” is code for Calvin Klein.
Outfit #4 – The Gingham Blazer
I am a sucker for gingham. I actually searched quite a bit for a gingham blazer and couldn’t find anything then this Limited blazer popped up. Its a great structured blazer with a little bit of give. Love that it’s a crisp black and white. Side note — anyone else out there love an occupational sunglass? Like if doesn’t look like I’m about to captain a boat, or take off flying a plane, no thank you sir.
Business Professional Best Accessory
So no outfit I have ever worn has ever received as many compliments as this leopard Apple watch band. I saw it on a fellow blogger’s Instagram and couldn’t push “buy” fast enough. I paid $7 for mine (that was in December and it’s still going strong.) It goes great with black or brown, no band switching needed. 10/10 highly recommend this band.
Any places I missed that I missed to shop? I’d love to hear int he comments!