What To Wear To Work When There Is No (Real) Dress Code

The fashion world has gotten increasingly casual in the past decade or so. We have seen sneakers on the runway (and at the office), the proliferation of athleisure, and the general less formal atmosphere of today’s workplaces. And that goes doubly so in the summertime when it seems like everyone lets their hair down and relaxes. Chances are that most of you reading this don’t have to wear a suit every day, if you even to have to at all! Which is awesome in many ways, but it can be tough to determine what to wear to work if you work in an office with no real dress code – and let’s face it, “business casual” doesn’t really mean much anyways.

However, it’s definitely possible to dress professionally, and look chic and interesting, within even the vaguest constraints. Here are some of our favorite styles to rock in professional environments with less-than-obvious dress codes.

Wide Leg Pants

Katharine Hepburn knew what she was talking about. Wide leg pants can be comfortable, easy to move in, and have a feminine swagger to them. In the summer, switch it up with crops or culottes. These Rachel Zoe pin-striped crepe pants are impeccable (Katharine approves), and these olive J.Crew crop pants are a perfect summer choice as well.


* indicates required
Drapey Button-Downs

These flowy button down styles are super simple to pair with everything from the aforementioned wide leg pants to skinny jeans, ankle crops, and tucked into tailored shorts if your workplace is casual enough. This poet-sleeved option from Treasure & Bond drapes beautifully, and this short-sleeved beaded Vince top has just the right amount of detail.

Silk Tees

Silk tees are just as comfortable as your weekend tees, but polished enough for the weekdays. They are great under blazers and other jackets as well. This Sézane pocket tee is a perfect basic, and Cuyana’s more relaxed version is also an excellent choice.

Menswear Inspired Shoes

Do you want to skip the heels but you’re not a fan of ballet flats? Go for oxfords, brogues or lace-ups. For skirts or dresses, something like these super feminine Nicholas Kirkwoods, and we’re loving more masculine styles like this 3.1 Phillip Lim loafer with pants.

Long Pendant Necklaces

Something about a long chain or string of beads draws the eye up and down, elongating your figure. Who doesn’t want to look more long and lean? And this is where you can add some creativity and personality to your look. Even a basic black dress becomes an #outfit with a great necklace. This opalite pendant necklace by Gorjana is light and perfect over summer whites, while this dramatic number by Aqua would be awesome over black.

What are your favorite pieces to wear to work in the summer, especially if you don’t have a defined level of formality? Does your office have unspoken fashion rules (e.g. jeans only on a Friday)? Fashionably inquiring minds want to know!

What To Wear To Work


Rachel Zoe Lee Pinstriped Crepe Wide-leg Pants, $365

J.Crew Stretch-cotton Poplin Cropped Pants, $85

Treasure & Bond Gathered Top, $69

Vince Short-Sleeve Beaded Pullover Top, $195

Sézane Warry Silk Tee, $115

Cuyana Silk Tee, $155

Nicholas Kirkwood Casati Pearly Heel Lurex Loafers, $695

3.1 Phillip Lim Quinn Leather & Suede Loafers, $450

Gorjana Rumi Pendant Adjustable Necklace 18”, $50

Aqua Long Pendant Necklace Bloomingdales’s Exclusive, $38


–Jacqueline Zenn

Are you following Fountain Of 30 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest? We’ve got lots going on, so join in on the fun! Subscribe to our newsletter here. Oh and we also started a Facebook Group called Aging Backwards for women to discuss everything good and bad about being over 40.

Here some other fashion posts you might enjoy: How To Flip For Fishnet When You’re Over 40 or Summer Midi Skirts: How To Make An Impression.

Image Layout: Fountain Of 30

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.