How to dress casual and comfortable for work

by Sylvia

How to dress casual and comfortable for work | 40plusstyle.com

Some of you have asked for tips on how to dress casual and comfortable for work.

Although it is difficult to give guidelines that are suitable for all jobs or dress codes, let’s look at some outfits that are casual and comfortable but still look professional enough for work.

Since comfort is key, we will look at outfits that are easy to wear and look great with flat shoes.

When creating these outfits I especially thought of the job of a teacher. As a teacher you will want to look current, youthful and hip, but also smart and confident. As you are on your feet a lot of the time, shoes need to be comfortable.

Option 1: pants, shirt and jacket

You can’t really go wrong with this combination. You could make this outfit as casual or smart as you like. My version is quite casual as I’m wearing stretchy skinnies and wear my shirt over my pants. The outfit will get smarter if you tuck your shirt into your pants and wear straight full-length fitted jeans instead of cropped skinnies.

If you want to look a bit smarter and more professional then adding a jacket to any outfit will do the job!

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Want a bit more edge? Add a funky necklace or play with asymmetrical elements in your outfit.

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Don’t think you can just use a blazer style jacket. Other jackets can work just as well.

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Option 2: pants and shirt

This outfit option is super comfortable. It looks dressier and more professional when you tuck your top into your pants. You can add interest with a nice necklace or other accessories.

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Make your outfit a bit hipper and professional with current shoes. These pointy flats make all the difference in this outfit.

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This style is more casual and does not really give you a lot of authority. On some days you may just want to be more casual though.

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Option 3: Skirt and top (jacket optional)

Both straight and a-line skirts can work well as comfortable outfit choices for work. If you want to be comfortable in your straight skirt, make sure that you choose a stretchy fabric. A skirt looks chic and professional when combined with a button down shirt but can also be worn with a hip t-shirt as shown below.

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A-line skirts are very comfortable to wear too. I have combined it here with a warm woollen top and the scarf adds more professionalism as well as color to the outfit. Although this particular skirt can be worn with booties, many A-line skirts will look better with ballerinas or pointy flats (as well as heels of course).

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Like to add a bit more edge to your outfit? Choose a non-standard skirt with a drape.

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Option 4: a dress

A dress can be a good casual option. Choose a lose fitting dress in a stretchable fabric for extra comfort. This dress is worn with comfortable wedges but would look equally good with red flats.

Another great option would be a wrap dress with sleeves.

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When browsing through my outfits for examples for this article, I realised that I could wear almost all of my outfits if I were a teacher.

However, if I wanted to feel more professional and authoritative, yet still comfortable on any given day, I would opt for outfit formula 1 with a well-fitted blazer in a good fabric.

For more ideas on dressing casually smart, check out these 7 casually smart dressing formulas. Many of the examples shown there would work well for teachers too. Also check out Dawn Lucy who is a high-school teacher and always looks casually chic!

How would you dress in a casual and comfortable way if you were a teacher?

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Sabina @Oceanblue Style

Love the white jeans the most but the rest is also just great Sylvia! Inspiring and useful as usual. My readers also enjoyed the Zara blue blazer…for casual office style. Have a great weekend.
xo Sabina @Oceanblue Style
http://oceanbluestyle.blogspot.de/search/label/Zara%20Blazer

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Sylvia

Thanks, love my white pants!
Yes that’s a great blazer too.

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Patti

Great selections, Sylvia. I think the silver boots really add personality to any outfit. xo

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Sylvia

They do(!), although they are not to everyone’s taste…

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Greetje Kamminga

My favourites are the black smoking jacket (got one similar. Yeah!), the white trousers with fuchsia blouse and red and white belt (what a great piece that belt is, isn’t it?) and the blue dress with red accessories.
Your example of the checked shirt with the blue jacket is a good one too. I will copy that haha. Thanks.

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Sylvia

Yes it’s great (the belt) although I’m not wearing it as much as I used to. But it will last forever. The outfit with the checked shirt is about as casual as I get nowadays. I should actually add some good warm weather super casual clothes to my shopping list as it’s an area where my wardrobe is lacking….

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Louise Marwick

The Navy dress with red or coral accessories or the more loose fitting trousers and tucked in blouse but with a heeled shoe or my own style of more tailored,straight legged trousers and fitted blouse with a heeled shoe.

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Sylvia

yes these clothes would look great with heels also, but the emphasis this time was on casual and comfortable….

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Aileen

My favourite is No.3, but I like the others as well. You certainly know how to ring the changes and come up with so many different and stylish outfits. You have a great talent and we all benefit from your ideas and suggestions. Thanks Sylvia xa

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Sylvia

Thanks Aileen. I hope to keep you entertained throughout 2015!

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lorna mai

I used to be a teacher although it was in a nursery so I wouldn’t recommend wearing anything that’s not machine washable!! Out of your outfits above I like the a-symmetrical ones and the stunning skirt you’re wearing in your Amsterdam photo.
LornaMai

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Sylvia

Thanks Lorna. That skirt would actually be so perfect! Doesn’t wrinkle and easy to wash…

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Lisa

My favorite is the third choice for option 1, mostly because I love that necklace.

I think the big difference between totally casual and work-smart casual is accessorizing. Nice jewelry and a good scarf makes everything just a little dressier.

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Sylvia

Yes the necklace is amazing. A wonderful gift from blogger Suzanne Carillo. Do check out her shop! http://suzannecarillo.com
You are right that accessorizing is very important. I hope to write more about that in future.

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Rita

I really love your second outfit in option 2. The blouse, trousers, flats, and bag all work perfectly together. Toss on a cardigan or jacket and it would look even more professional. For a teacher, I would think trousers and tops are the way to go, especially when teaching younger grades. For high school or college-aged students, I would probably go with the trousers and jacket.

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Sylvia

Thanks Rita. Yes it’s so simple, yet so effective!

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Ann

I like all these outfits and they are good for a teacher. The navy dress is stunning on you! You look great in white pants too. What about a post on wearing jeans in still looking professional. I see a lot of women wearing them, some look quite good but this can be tricky.

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Sylvia

Great idea Ann. I will add it to my to-do list!

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Tina

I love the navy asymmetrical dress and the grey non-standard skirt! Are they the same designer? where did you get them??

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Sylvia

They are from Porto I believe and I got them at getdressed2.com

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Dawn Lucy

Catching up on my blog reading this morning and loving this article. Yes, all those outfits would be great for teacher and sign me up to be in your class! I follow many other teachers on Instagram and it’s interesting to me how different the dress code is state to state. In California, anything goes … I mean really anything! It makes me happy to be able to wear jeans because that feels like such a wardrobe staple to me. Add a jacket and jeans take on a more authoritative feel. I could blather on, but let me just say thanks for addressing the teachers in your readership!
OXOX
Dawn Lucy
http://fashionshouldbefun.blogspot.com

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Sylvia

I should have just used your photos as an example Dawn! It was only after the article that one of my readers recommended you as their inspiration for teacher outfits that I remembered you were a high school teacher. I had forgotten that that was your profession but you dress so well for the job! I will add the link to your interview in the article now!

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leslie

Love these pairings. I live in a very cold climate and have found the new sweater dresses (more generously cut) to be so comfortable but still quite professional, especially with boots.

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Linda Cassidy

some really great looks, and am loving the hair style

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Petra

You’d be a pretty funky looking teacher 🙂 I think dressing for the type of work you do is important e.g. do you crouch down a lot, therefore trousers is best. If you’re always sitting at a desk, then dresses and skirts are fine.

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Rachel B.

Sylvia,
I love the second outfit in the “outfit 2: pants and shirt” section! Where did you find the top?!
Rachel B.

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Sylvia

That is from Singapore brand In Good Company (old though)

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