Everything You Need To Master The Most Confusing Dress Code

The business-casual dress code is one of the most difficult to define, and that might have something to do with the fact that it's a complete oxymoron — seriously, how can one be "business" and "casual," at the same time? Plus, it depends on where you work or where you're going. For some, the look may veer more toward the uber-professional. For others, a more laid-back, less dressed up aesthetic is the norm. Either way, you've likely found yourself in front of your closet at one point or another with a giant question mark hovering over your head.

To navigate the business casual world, we've decided our definition includes looking polished, while still leaving a little wiggle room for fun via subtle ruffles, prints, and unexpected cuts. As long as your outfit adheres to your office dress code, there's no reason to not get creative. That's why we're supplying you with the essentials that will get your workwear wardrobe on track. With a collection like this, that question mark is about to disappear.

A wrap dress will never let you down.
Reformation Nicole Dress, $248.00 Buy
Shorts probably won't fly at the office, but structured culottes sure will.
Zara Cropped Scalloped Trousers, $79.90 $69.90, Buy
A badass blazer is a must.

Tibi Contrast-Seam Double Breasted Blazer, $479 $287, available at Matches Fashion.
Just because you're going business-casual doesn't mean you can't make a statement. Try a refined single earring for something subtle but sleek.
Étoile Isabel Marant Isabel Marant Dancing hoop and pendant-drop earrings, $315.00 Buy
You can't go wrong with a slim-leg trouser, especially in an unexpected color.
Warehouse COMPACT COTTON TROUSERS, $69.00 Buy
Kitten heels: Like high heels, minus the pain.

Topshop Jump Slingback Kitten Heels, $100, available at Tosphop.
A chic trench is a must for the transitional season.

Zara Checked Trench Coat, $129, available at Zara.
For those with a more classic office dress code, try a less buttoned-up take on the pencil skirt.
Wilfred Celesse Skirt, $110.00 $54.99, Buy
Give your slacks a casual twist with a more oversized fit and waist-tie detail.
Rejina Pyo Tilly Belted Trousers, $493.00 Buy
Ballet flats are back, and this leather pair with a front strap has you thinking twice about those worn-in ones you've had forever.
& Other Stories Buckled Leather Ballet Flat, $125.00 Buy
This jumpsuit is perfect for layering.

Wilfred Fleurette Jumpsuit, $165.00, available at Aritzia.
Never underestimate the power of a simple (yet sturdy) black tote.
Less Bore Libe Tote, $420.00 Buy
Show a little shoulder if you can.
Lou & Grey Striped Off-The-Shoulder Tank, $59.50 $29.88, Buy
A midi-ring can add some subtle sparkle to your more reserved looks.
Amarilo Faye Ring, $114.00 Buy
Add some interest to your typical button-up with some statement sleeves.
Monse Buttoned Sleeve Striped Shirt, $1,124.00 $773.00, Buy
An LBD that can take you from work to happy hour. Need we say more?
Marella Poplin Dress, $144.25 $114.20, Buy
Slip-on loafers are the mullet of the business-casual world: business in the front, party in the back.
Nicholas Kirkwood Beya grained-leather backless loafers, $425.00 Buy
Mules: The secret to wearing heels without the pain.

Dolce Vita Sheena Mule, $120, available at Revolve.
Gotta love a long-sleeve dress.
Zara Short Flowing Dress, $49.90 Buy
Rebecca Minkoff Izette Bootie, $165, available at Revolve.