Are sweaters business casual? In a word, “Yes! Let’s look at some options for looking sharp and feeling comfy at work, whether you’re meeting with your manager or collaborating with your coworkers.
Not too long ago, the way to dress for success was to wear a business suit comprised of a matching blazer and skirt or pants with a conservative blouse, heels, and perhaps pearls. Although this classic still has its place, the silhouette of a suit can be had in comfier (and more economical) ways. A pair of neutral dress pants, a blouse or tank top, and a waterfall cardigan in lieu of a blazer can give you the same look of authority and competence while being more comfortable and working better for today’s business casual workplace.
For a more formal look, go neutral from head to toe and have your cardigan match your dress pants. Another option is to go with black pants, a white top, and a fun bright or pastel color for your waterfall cardigan. If you like the simplicity of a capsule wardrobe, make sure to include these three pieces. They are sure to become your go-to choices to look and feel pulled together in minutes.
If there is one top that every woman needs in her wardrobe, it is a great women’s white blouse. You can wear a white blouse on its own or toss on your favorite cardigan to create an instant business casual vibe while adding warmth regardless of the season. Whether you have aggressive air conditioning in your office, cold spots in the winter near your desk, or just want to be cozy in your home office area, a cardigan will keep you looking great while feeling great.
One of the best parts of adding a cardigan to a white blouse with pants or a skirt is its versatility. The beauty of separates is that you can mix and match them to create different looks. This not only gives you variety in your wardrobe but will also allow you to buy fewer, higher-quality pieces to upgrade your look.
It may have been Steve Jobs who started it years ago, but there is just something about a neutral-colored turtleneck that says, “cool and techie”. Why not make the easiest of wardrobe choices by pairing your favorite dress pants or neat jeans with a turtleneck in black, charcoal, or winter white? Turtlenecks look sleek, are comfortable, and are half of a great business casual outfit.
When shopping for a turtleneck, keep the basics like your bust, waist, and arm length measurements in mind, but also look at the turtle itself. For thinner turtlenecks, you will want to be able to either scrunch it or fold it in half while having it look and feel great. Mock turtlenecks are a great option if you don’t like extra fabric around your neck. Cowl necks are another option and can look great in winter. Whatever turtle you choose, it should make you look and feel great. If it doesn’t, move on to the next candidate.
Crewneck or V-neck women’s sweaters are a great option if you will be literally or figuratively rolling up your sleeves to get the work done. You can wear them on their own, or for crewnecks, layer a blouse or polo shirt underneath them. It’s amazing what a simple collar will do to make a top look business casual, and layering always adds comfort and warmth.
If you are working from home either on a hybrid or full-time schedule, sweaters are a great business casual option for video meetings. A cardigan sweater can take any neutral top from casual to business casual in 5 seconds flat. Many women have started wearing classic white T-shirts or tank tops with whatever comfy pants they wish to wear throughout their day while keeping their favorite business casual cardigan handy for an upgrade when they need to turn on their computer camera.
If you go for this option, consider setting up a “test meeting” in advance to make sure that you will be comfortable with how you look on camera as well as the immediate surroundings of your home office. Whether you choose a virtual background like a contemporary office or just tidy up the bookshelf behind you, if it makes you feel more professional and comfortable, do it. Also, make sure that you will have ample light on your face for the meeting. You can easily buy a portable light online that attaches to your computer screen. Make sure they see your smiling face when you're wearing your business casual sweater.
Now, go rock those business casual sweaters!