Nail the Office-Casual Look

As workplace dress codes lean toward the lax, here’s how to pull off a comfortable look — while staying professional.

HIM

1. Dressed-up denim. “A great pair of dark jeans can offer loads of versatility to a man’s wardrobe,” says Pax & Parker co-owner Winston Ley. He recommends PAIGE, a brand that uses performance fiber technology to create a softer, stretchy fabric. “Pair it with a lightweight, unstructured blazer, and he’s ready to take on the day.” 

2. Japanese cotton twill. If denim is a no-go at your workplace (or you just want to mix things up), Ley recommends PAIGE’s Japanese cotton twill fabrication. “He’ll get the same great fit and comfort he’s used to from PAIGE without the risk of wearing jeans.” 

3. Relaxed fabrics. A dress shirt and tie can be replaced with a quality tailored T-shirt, sweater or turtleneck, according to Scott Mitchell, vice president and general manager of Neiman Marcus Fort Worth. Also, lose the shoulder pads on that jacket. And during the winter, layered half-zip sweaters are work-friendly as well. 

4. Patterns. Don’t be afraid to think boldly with plaid, tartan or floral prints. 

5. Accessories. Add some flare, but do it thoughtfully. “A refined watch from BREDA, an interesting sock from Ace & Everett and a stretch woven belt from Anderson’s can complete any outfit,” Ley says.

HER

1. Prints and patterns. Don’t be shy to mix things up. “When it comes to workwear, you want to be appropriate but also still show your personality and have fun with it,” says Chelsea Stevens, manager at Beehive. 

2. Go minimalist. Prints and patterns aren’t the only way to go. Tribe Alive, known for its mission of carrying clothing made by at-risk women around the world, recommends going minimalist with basic but feminine pieces. 

3. Midi skirts. A midi skirt is one versatile, office-friendly item to have in the closet. These can be styled with anything from dressy tops to sweaters. 

4. Dresses ... and a hat. Dresses are easy — because they’re just one piece, Stevens says. Tone down the formality with booties or a baker hat.

5. Speaking of booties... According to downtown boutique Yours Truly, booties are a more comfortable alternative to heels. And they’re more stylish than flats.

6. Hey, you can still wear suits. A cute top, as opposed to a button-down, can give a traditional suit more personality, Stevens says. “Throw on some tights and platform Mary Janes to make it even more youthful.”