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All You Need To Know About Wearing Smart Casual Dresses To Work...(And What To Avoid)

Going Smart Casual At Work

too casual at workComfy, but NOT smart casual!  
So you can wear more casual attire in your office...cool! But what to wear is sometimes a difficult question, as you neither want to appear too formal nor like a slob! In this case the word casual can be a bit of a trap, as the question really isn't how casual you can go, but, in the case of dresses, which are relaxed enough to not look too stuffy or over-dressed yet still professional. Here at OuterInner.com our speciality is occasions dresses as you know, so join me on a journey to the casual side...


Casual wear in the office does NOT mean that it's time to break out the leopard print or very short skirts! You need to not only choose a dress that's comfortable to work in and looks smart, but is also appropriate to wear around your colleagues. After all, you don't want to be the talk of the office for all the wrong reasons!
Just say no to leopard print at workPretty, but not great for work.  
Quite muted colors or patterns would be better, so consider neutral tones such as sand, gray and khaki, or perhaps some inoffensive patterns like a slim pinstripe or light floral print. A great tip is to look at the color and pattern of the dress you're thinking of wearing and consider if you'd wear a blouse like this to work. If you would, then it's probably an acceptable choice! This cocktail dress (and many cocktail dresses in general in my opinion) is a good example of a more 'smart casual' occasions dress that could be worn at work as well as to parties and proms instead of slobbing about in jeans and t-shirt:
smart casual cocktail dress

Watch Your Neckline

Remember that this isn't a wild weekend with the girls! Since you're in the office, even though it's more casual, you should choose styles that aren't too revealing and low-cut. A big part of this is the dress's neckline, as these usually dictate how revealing the dress is going to be. Let's look at a few that are casual, but suitable for work: A scoop neckline is always a winner in the office as it suits most women and bust sizes:
scoop neckline dress
High v-necks are also very appropriate, but avoid really deep v-necks of course!
high v-neck dress
I also think a bateau is a classic and certainly not revealing style:
bateau dress

How Short Is Too Short?

Length is also an issue to be aware of, as your boss isn't going to be impressed if your mini is riding up and exposing a lot of thigh! Luckily there's an easy way for you to measure if your dress is too short. Just let your arms drop to your sides and if your fingertips are below the hem of the dress then it's TOO short for work!  

Remember Appropriate Shoes

If you're in a 'casual' frame of mind then it's perhaps too easy to go too far with your shoes and turn up in a pair of flip-flops, but you will be better served by sticking to shoes that cover the whole foot. A pair of simple flats like these ballet flats should do the trick and they're comfy too:
flats are appropriate shoes
What kind of dress do you wear in your casual workplace? Do you have any tips about dress types that work well in this situation? What's your style no-no for work? Let us know as a comment below please?
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