business casual women jeans

Jeans for Work: A Business Casual Capsule Wardrobe

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Many of us love the idea of incorporating jeans into our work attire and wearing a casual wardrobe to work. Jeans strike the perfect balance between comfort and style; they’re a timeless choice that can be dressed up for a more polished look or kept casual for everyday wear. What’s more, they’re low maintenance, often sparing you the hassle of ironing.

Wearing jeans takes some of the pressure off of getting dressed for work. With a more flexible and casual dress code, you spend less time thinking about what you’re going to wear to work. 

But you may have questions about wearing jeans to work. Perhaps you’re wondering if jeans can be part of a business casual work wardrobe. Additionally, you may want to know what types of jeans to wear and how to style them so they look professional. Don’t worry—I’ve got you covered! In this post, I answer all of these questions, and I have a jeans business casual capsule wardrobe with 27 pictures to inspire you. 

First, are jeans business casual?

Are jeans business casual? 

Jeans can be considered business casual in certain contexts. It depends on the office dress code and work setting. In more conservative workplaces or management positions requiring high levels of professionalism, jeans may be frowned upon. However, jeans can often be part of a professional work wardrobe in more creative, educational, or non-profit workplaces. 

Before you show up in jeans on the first day, observe the company culture and see what others are wearing. Is it a casual environment? Check your office dress codes to see if they restrict jeans in a professional setting. In a business casual workplace with no jeans restrictions, you should be able to wear jeans to work. Even if people aren’t wearing them every day, you may be able to wear them for specific events or on casual Fridays.

The type of jeans you choose helps you strike the right balance to create a polished look. Choose more elevated jean styles. Instead of skinny jeans that are tight through the hips and thighs and down to the hem, choose straight leg jeans or wider-leg jeans. 

Can I wear wide leg jeans for business casual?

Wide leg jeans, boot cut jeans, or flare jeans that mirror the shape of trousers are great options for professional attire. The most elevated jeans are long in length, but cropped jeans can work for a casual environment. 

How do I make jeans look professional? 

Dark wash jeans or black jeans with a finished hem are the most professional. White jeans can also work and are more common in the spring and summer months. Choose a nice pair of jeans without rips or distressing. Jeans with sewn hems are more elevated than raw frayed hems. 

Wear your jeans with elevated pieces like a collared or button-down shirt or blouse and a blazer or sweater jacket to create a professional overall look. Adding accessories like a statement necklace, belt, bag, and heels creates an intentionally styled, more formal look. 

I’m here to show you how to make jeans look professional with a mini jeans-for-work capsule wardrobe.

If you’re not familiar with a capsule wardrobe, it’s a great way to make it easy to get dressed in the morning. A capsule is a small collection of pieces that easily mix and match with one another. These are the clothes you reach for first, the ones that are easy to style, feel good to wear, and always look great together. With a capsule wardrobe, everything you own is something you enjoy wearing. 

Jeans-For-Work Capsule Wardrobe

This jeans-for-work capsule wardrobe includes 3 styles of blue jeans, 3 shirts, and 3 completer pieces, including 2 blazers and a cardigan sweater. I’m also suggesting 3 pairs of shoes, 2 bags, a belt and 2 pieces of jewelry.

SHOP THE CAPSULE

Let’s look at the pieces I’m including in this capsule. 

For jeans, I’m including 3 different styles of blue denim jeans ranging from elevated to casual. 

1. Denim trouser pant (Fits TTS, wearing size 31)

Trouser jeans blend the comfort of jeans with the silhouette of dress pants. These have a high rise, flat front, and are designed to fit looser in the hips and thighs with a wide leg. They have a wider hem like you see on trousers. 

denim trouser outfit

A darker blue wash helps them mimic the look of formal trousers for a dressier appearance. Trouser jeans are a polished alternative to more casual denim styles. These denim trousers have a flat front and a longer inseam of 30.5 inches, adding to the dressier appearance. For me at 5’6”, I need a low 2-inch heel with them for a clean look. 

2. Medium wash high rise kick fit jeans (Fits TTS, wearing 31 in long)

These jeans are a great alternative if you’re used to wearing skinny jeans. They fit slim in the hips and thighs and widen at the ankle. Traditional kick-fit jeans are cropped and end above the ankle. These Gap high-rise kick-fit jeans are my absolute favorites, and I own them in two lengths. This is the long length, which allows them to hit right at the ankle, so they have a silhouette similar to ankle pants.

kick crop jeans outfit

The medium wash gives them a more casual feel than a very dark wash. 

3. Cropped wide leg jeans (Fits TTS, wearing 31) 

These wide-leg jeans have a high rise and cropped length and are loose in the hips, thighs, and legs. At 5’6”, they end above my ankle with a raw hem and medium-light wash, making them the most casual of all the jeans. You can dress them up with the right accessories so they feel more elevated. These are some of my favorite jeans to wear with a blazer and loafers any day of the week for an elevated casual vibe.

wide leg cropped jeans outfit

4. A black double-breasted blazer 

A black double-breasted blazer is super elevated. It’s polished and versatile, with two rows of gold buttons and a structured fit. You can dress it up with trouser jeans or down with cropped jeans. It’s a timeless work wardrobe staple you can wear all four seasons.

black blazer outfit

Wear it with brown or black accessories. Black accessories create a more traditional polished look. Brown accessories give a pop of color, adding visual interest and creating a more casual outfit.

My blazer is nearly sold out, but I’m linking some alternatives at various price points. 

Notice how skipping a belt creates a more casual feel.

5. A navy blazer (Fits TTS, wearing a 10)

A navy blazer is a classic that’s a universally flattering color and super chic. It pairs easily with various colors, looks great with blue jeans, and can be dressed up over a button-down shirt or down over a t-shirt for various work situations. 

This is the best-selling schoolboy blazer from J.Crew Factory, and it’s perfect for every day. It has a cute blue and white striped lining and gold buttons on the cuffs and up the front. It is moderately priced and of great quality. I own it in several colors.

navy blazer outfit

I love navy with brown shoes, belt and bag, although black also works for a professional look. Wear whichever color fits your sense of personal style.

6. A sweater jacket in khaki (Fits TTS, wearing a medium)

Hip-length sweater jackets are my top choice for cardigans these days. More elevated than the average cardigan, they wear like a jacket with a fitted body, decorative gold buttons, right angles at the collar, a hip-length hem, and weightier fabric.

sweater jacket outfit

This color is khaki with peachy-pink undertones. It looks great with denim. I chose it as an alternative to camel because it’s an easier color choice for most people to wear. 

7. A white t-shirt (Fits TTS, wearing a medium)

On my most casual days, I just want to wear a white T-shirt under a blazer. Gap’s modern crewneck T-shirt is one of my top choices, and I own it in long and short-sleeve versions. It’s a cotton blend that looks polished, isn’t see-through, and is fitted, so it’s perfect for tucking into wide-leg high-rise jeans for a streamlined appearance.

white t-shirt outfit

8. A white button-down shirt (Slightly oversized, size down, wearing a small)

A white button-down collared shirt is super versatile and professional. Thanks to the cut and fabric, this Dolman short-sleeve button-down shirt brings a slightly more casual vibe.

white short sleeve button-up outfit

Like linen, it looks a bit rumpled, which is part of its charm. You’re seeing it without any ironing. I hang it up straight out of the dryer. If you want it crisp, iron the body of the shirt.

9. A navy striped button-down shirt (Fits TTS, wearing a medium)

I wear a navy striped button-down shirt all four seasons because it adds so much visual interest to any look.

navy striped button-down outfit

Hang this one up right out of the dryer; no ironing is required.

The accessories

Brown block heel sandals (Fits TTS, wearing a 9)

I’m always looking for the perfect pair of brown sandals that mimic a more expensive pair I love that’s out of my price range. These have a comfortable low 2-inch heel and a slim ankle strap that’s super cute with cropped jeans.

navy blazer outfit

Reversible belt

This Amazon belt, shown below, is a best-seller. It’s brown on one side and black on the other. The gold buckle’s bling matches the gold buttons on the sweater and blazer. 

Brown woven tote bag

A tote bag is a great option for carrying a bunch of stuff back and forth to the office, from a water bottle to a small laptop and charger, wallet and keys, glasses, hand sanitizer, earbuds, snacks, an umbrella, and a small makeup bag. You want to be prepared at the office with everything you need.

Brown woven tote bags are everywhere right now. The woven leather is a great way to add visual interest and texture to a minimalist outfit.

They come in a variety of price points. I’ve linked several options. 

Brown ballet flats (Fit TTS, wearing a 9)

Flat shoes are what you want if you’ll be on your feet a lot at work. Ballet flats are a classic French staple that are comfortable, minimalist, understated, and effortlessly chic. 

brown ballet flats outfit

Let’s look at the black accessories and jewelry.

Black reversible belt

I mentioned above that the brown belt is reversible. Below is the black side for a polished look.

Black loafer mules

Black loafer mules are a great option for spring. With their open heel and closed toe, your feet will be warm enough on cool mornings without overheating on warm afternoons. They have a more laid-back and casual vibe than traditional loafers. These are old, but I love the square toe and tassel. Today, the stores are showing a horse bit rather than a tassel. I’ve linked similar styles. 

A black tote bag 

A workday staple for stashing all your stuff. Black is elevated and polished. I’ve linked an inexpensive bag and an investment bag.

Gold bauble necklace

This statement necklace makes your whole outfit pop. Layer it with a delicate chain necklace, or wear it alone.

Gold coin necklace

Wear it alone or layer it with the gold bauble necklace. Layering necklaces create an intentional and stylish statement. 

black loafer mules outfit

SHOP THE CAPSULE

Ready to look at the outfits you can make with these pieces?

First up, outfits with wide leg cropped jeans.

9 wide leg cropped jeans outfits

I love the juxtaposition of these casual jeans paired with a structured blazer or button-down shirt. You can wear flats or heels with them. Black Adidas would create a cool, elevated casual look. 

I’ve styled these jeans without a belt to keep this look casual. Add a belt for a more elevated look.  

9 denim trousers outfits

These jeans have a longer length, and at 5’6”, I need to wear them with 2-inch heels. If you’re the same height, not a fan of block heels, and want comfortable shoes, wedge or platform mules are a great option. 

These are the most elevated looks thanks to the long length and dark wash of the trousers, the block heels, and the belt. 

9 kick crop jean outfits

These are some of my favorite casual jeans. The wider hem at the ankle helps to balance out my size 12 bottom half. The Gap sells them in multiple lengths, and I’m wearing them in the longer length, so they hit my ankle. I’ve styled these looks with and without a belt. For a more casual setting, leave off the belt. 

Creating a professional appearance with a pair of jeans can be easy for a work environment by selecting the right styles of jeans and pairing them with elevated pieces. Choose a darker wash of jeans or medium wash, and add a blazer, a collared button-down shirt, and a pair of heels or loafers. Check your company’s dress code to get the green light.

Hi, Friend. I'm Marya. I'm so glad you're here!

I’m here to help women feel good inside and out through approachable everyday style inspiration and encouragement for midlife. Once upon a time, I worked as a therapist and coach. Now, I’m a holistic style blogger studying style coaching! Be So You celebrates leaning into who we were meant to be! 

Read about my  journey to self-discovery at 40. Follow me on Instagram here and Pinterest here. Send me a quick question through my contact page here.  

Fit Note: I’m midsized at 5’6″, 160 pounds, with size 12 jeans.

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2 Responses

  1. Love all these outfits and I my dream is to have a job where I can wear jeans! someday…..
    I’m considering buying that belt!

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