4 Tips for Finding and Styling Tops for Work and Play + 9 Top Options

How to Wear Business Casual Tops Outside of Work

You know I’m about making it easy to get dressed, and one way I love doing that is by giving go-to tricks that you can rely on to easily style your outfits.  Many of you have expressed wanting more overlap with your business casual wardrobe and your non-work wardrobe.  Today I’m partnering with ModCloth to share my go-to tricks for finding and styling tops for both work and outside of work!

I always say this, but ModCloth has such cute and unique pieces.  ModCloth pieces are the ones that bring life to my wardrobe!  And what’s amazing about them is that they have cute casual stuff, but they also have a bunch of stuff that’s appropriate for workwear that isn’t boring.  ??  They have plenty of pieces that work for both work and play, so let’s get to the tips on how to find some of them!

SIZING: I’m 5’6″ and usually 6/8 or S/M in clothes and 8.5 to 9 in shoes.


Floral Top + Infinity Scarf + Cognac Boots + Tote BagFloral Top + Skinnies + Boots + Tote + Infinity Scarf Infinity Scarf + Floral Top + Boots + Tote + Dark Skinnies Floral Top + Cognac Bag + Boots + Skinnies + Infinity Scarf Floral Top + Infinity Scarf + Jord Watch + Suede Boots + Tote

For today’s tips, I chose two kinds of tops: one is a more casual top that’s soft and feels like a t-shirt, and one is a blouse.  This first outfit features the soft, t-shirt like top styled in a casual outfit with jeans and boots.  It is as comfy as a t-shirt, yet it has so many details like ruffles, an effortless drape, special sleeves, and a pretty print, that totally elevate from a plain t-shirt.  These details are what will help it work for a business casual outfit (shown in the next outfit).  It is absolutely adorable and I’ve gotten so many compliments on it after wearing it just twice!  It’s selling out quickly, so check it out HERE!

Tip #1: When choosing a more casual top that’s soft and feels like a t-shirt, choose ones that have a extra little details like ruffles, a non-t-shirt like drape, special sleeves, and a pretty print.

Shop for the Look:
Top: c/o ModCloth (exact–wearing size M)
Jeans: Macy’s Maternity (similar)
Boots: Lucky Brand (similar)
Scarf: c/o Conversation Pieces (similar)
Bag: Nordstrom (similar


Business Casual Outfit with Grey Ponte Pants + Floral Top + Cognac Bag + Nude Pumps Business Casual Maternity Outfit with Floral Top + Statement Necklace + Grey Ponte Pants + Tote Bag Business Casual Outfit with Nude Pumps + Grey Pants + Floral Top + Statement Necklace + ToteBusiness Casual Outfit with Floral Top + Tote Bag + Ponte Pants + Statement Necklace Business Casual Outfit with Grey Ponte Pants + Floral Top + Tote Bag + Nude Pumps

Here’s the top dressed up in a business casual outfit which was so easy to do thanks to what we talked about in Tip #1 with all the details in this top.  Once you find a top like that, one super easy trick you can rely on is to add slacks and pumps.  In the same way I talk about making a casual wardrobe more versatile with different colored bottoms, I would recommend getting different colored slacks to bring versatility to your workwear.  The safest colors are black, grey, olive, maroon, and navy.

It’s pretty easy to find non-denim business casual pants in all of those colors, but if you need a place to start, the ones I’m wearing in the pic above come in grey, navy, maroon, and plum!  They are very stretchy and comfortable and fairly thick.  The grey and maroon versions are on super sale for $24.99 too! (But final sale.)  See them HERE.

Tip #2: Make slacks and pumps your go-to formula–and get a variety of colored slacks.

*Sidenote: I’m wearing these pants at 26 weeks pregnant, but if you are currently pregnant and hoping you can wear these pants right now, I have to burst your bubble.  I took these pics with the zipper wide open and a belly band over them barely holding them on, which is not a way you should or could actually wear them throughout the day.  This was solely for these pictures to show the business casual outfit!  

Shop for the Look:
Top: c/o ModCloth (exact–wearing size M)

Pants: c/o ModCloth (exact–wearing size M)
Shoes: Target 
Bag: Nordstrom (similar)
Necklace: H&M 


Business Casual Outfit with Black Floral Blouse + Black Blazer + Maroon Pants + Black Pumps Business Casual Outfit with Black Blazer + Black Blouse + Maroon Pants + Black ToteBusiness Casual Outfit with Maroon Pants + Black Pumps + Black Blazer + Black Blouse + Black Tote Business Casual Outfit with Black Blouse + Black Blazer + Maroon Pants + Tote Business Casual Outfit with Black Tote + Black Blouse + Black Blazer + Black Pumps Business Casual Outfit with Maroon Pants + Black Blazer + Black Floral Top

Tip #3: Choose blouses that are not t-shirt material.  

Sometimes the softer tops like the one in the first two outfits may not be sharp enough for a particular meeting you have one day, even with all the pretty details in the world to elevate it.  (Or maybe it won’t work for your work environment at all, since “business casual” means a WIDE range of things in different work environments!) If you are in need of sharper looks, choose blouses that are *not* that soft t-shirt material, like the one I’m wearing in this outfit.  A top like this has more structure than the previous top we talked about, and it instantly sharpens things up.  It totally works with the Tip #2 go-to formula of slacks and pumps, and topped off with a blazer it looks sharper than the business casual outfit in Outfit #2.

While a more structure top doesn’t even need to have print or details to sharpen up the outfit, details will spice up your outfit and make it more interesting.  The black top I’m wearing above has several feminine details like the pleated ruffles, puffed shoulders, and pretty flower petal print.  (BTW, it’s a button-up so it’s also breastfeeding-friendly!)  See it HERE.

Shop for the Look:
Top: c/o ModCloth (exact–wearing size L)
Blazer: Old Navy (similar)
Pants: c/o ModCloth (exact–wearing size M)
Shoes: H&M (similar)
Bag: Nordstrom 


Black Moto Jacket + Black Floral Blouse + Skinnies + Red PumpsMaternity Outfit: Black Moto Jacket + Black Floral Blouse + Gold Clutch + Skinnies + Red Pumps Black Blouse + Gold Clutch + Red Pumps Red Pumps + Black SkinniesBlack Moto Jacket + Gold Clutch + Black Floral Top Black Jacket + Black Floral Blouse + Gold Clutch + black Skinnies

Tip #4: Switch up your tops with completer pieces and shoes.  They make a huge difference!

I have written before how completer pieces can switch up your looks.  In the previous outfit I threw on a blazer to polish off the business casual look.  Cardigans would work too, but if I ever need the look to be sharper I’d opt for a blazer.  Here in Outfit #4 is the same top styled for a night out thanks to swapping a blazer for a moto jacket and adding statement heels and a sparkly clutch!

That said, as much as I looooove me a moto jacket, in this outfit it’s really the sassy red pumps that make the outfit!  How cute are these shoes with the little bow on the side?  Not only do they totally kick this look up a notch, but they’d be perfect for Valentine’s Day next month!  See them HERE.

Shop for the Look:
Top: c/o ModCloth (exact–wearing size L)

Jacket: JCPenney (similar, similar)
Jeans: Seraphine (similar)
Shoes: c/o ModCloth (exact–wearing size 9)
Bag: Amazon (similar

With those four tips you can expand both your workwear and casual wardrobe without buying double the pieces.  Below are 9 tops that can be styled for both work and play using the tips we talked about today!



Links to Shop:
one  |  two  |  three
four  |  five  |  six
seven  |  eight  |  nine

Huge thanks to ModCloth for sponsoring this post!

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