What to Wear to Work in Fall 2021

Re-mixes for Your Unworn Work Wardrobe

Don’t toss those sleepy suit pieces just yet!

What to Wear to Work in Fall 2021 - jacket sleeves made casual

Sleeve roll (Banana Republic washable wool blazer)

There’s no debating it’s a more casual world when it comes to work style since March of 2020.  Even in more-traditional organizations, “business formal” style parameters have been nudged to the business casual zone, if not full-on casual.  Comfort, in a generally stressful era, becomes a priority wherever and whenever it can be found.

A change of seasons is an opportunity to reassess our wardrobes and identify where that comfort lies, among other things: What fits/what doesn’t?  What’s in fashion/what’s outdated?  What needs repair, and what can be donated?  All good questions during a typical closet review.  Now, a new question:  Will I return to my previous style of dress for this to be useful?   For many professional women who wore suits to work, the answer remains elusive.

If you’re on a team that’s back to working in a traditional location, or you’re planning for a return in due time, there’s a place for those skirts and jackets,… whether or not you’ll wear an actual suit.

Try these suit-piece remixes:

Suit Jacket
Use your suit’s jacket as the completing element of a casual outfit:

What to Wear to Work in Fall 2021 - jeans with blazer

A casual sweater makes a jacket less formal. (J. Crew Bristol blazer.)

  • Pair your suit jacket with a polo sweater or menswear-inspired cotton shirt in place of a traditional dressy, blouse.  Wear a coordinating pant, vs. the matching suit pant, for a relaxed, “unmatched suit” look.
  • Wear the jacket with jeans to create a full-on casual look (dark-wash  jeans say “business” more loudly than worn-in or pre-washed/faded jeans).
    • If the jeans are lean (e.g. a “skinny” jean), create a bit of fullness with an untucked blouse to maintain balance.  It’ll also minimize the body-con effect of a
      What to Wear to Work in Fall 2021

      A dressed-up hoodie keeps a suit casual (Banana Republic plaid double-breasted blazer)

      jean that hugs closely.

    • With a full jean,  like a trouser or boyfriend jean, keep tops & jackets leaner on top to avoid fabric overwhelm.
  • Layer a hoodie beneath your jacket for an uber casual vibe. (A sweater-knit version v. a common fleece hoodie keeps this professionally savvy.)
  • Make the jacket casual in its own right by rolling sleeves to the elbow (extra points if the sleeve lining is in an interesting print or a contrasting color).

Suit Skirt
Give the skirt from your suits a new lease on life with more relaxed companions:

What to Wear to Work in Fall 2021 - skirt w/boots

Subbing boots for pumps. (Eloquii sweater pencil skirt)

  • Boots (high or low) in place of pumps give your skirt an “unsuited” personality.
  • Swapping your dressy blouse for a relaxed sweater brings the
    What to Wear to Work in Fall 2021 - vest replaces jackets

    A vest replaces a formal jacket. (Eileen Fisher vest, Neiman Marcus.)

    whole look down to a more easy feel.

  • Think about bringing a vest into your closet to keep skirts company in a low-key way.
  • If your environment is casual enough, a jean jacket with a traditional skirt is a fun way to mix opposites.  (Use caution: if denim wasn’t sanctioned at your organization before, this is best worn only after seen on a member of the leadership team to show its acceptance.)

Helpful tip: To ensure your suits are wearable as a joined unit at a later time, consider getting them dry cleaned together, whether you’ve worn both pieces, or not.  Giving them the same cleaning treatment means the fabric color of both pieces continue to look matched.

By the way, don’t rule out wearing these outfits even when you’re not going to the office. Dressing up has the ability to raise your spirits and confidence in a way a pair of joggers and hoodie could only wish to. (The compliments sure don’t hurt.)  Give it a go on your next errand run!

Is comfort in style something you’d like more of?  Check out my self-study Figure Friendly Style Formula.  You’ll never again question if a style is right for your body.

Patty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices (normally), and… well, currently on Zoom! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s eBook “The Wardrobe Simplifier” visit Refined Images or contact Patty.

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