Knowing how to style winter business casual women’s outfits is an essential skill to have in the world of work. Looking put-together and presentable whilst staying toasty at your desk is a recipe for a comfortable work day, making you more productive and keeping you feeling cosy during the colder months.
Trust me when I say I know a thing or two about work dress codes. For years I worked as a senior recruitment consultant, interviewing hundreds of candidates for my clients, both in person and over video call. Many of the interviewees hit the nail on the head with their business casual dress (as per our interview dress code criteria) but you’d be surprised just how many missed the mark completely. Especially in winter.
After three years of interviewing people I became an expert on spotting correct winter business casual dress. I’m going to share all of my tips and tricks for this work dress code style for you here in this article, so you never feel confused when facing work wardrobe dilemmas again!
Leave lumpy jumpers over awkward pencil skirts behind and read on for 11 easy winter business casual women’s outfits that suit all body types…
- What is business casual for women?
- Winter business casual women's clothing
- Winter business casual women's outfits
- Related questions
- A note
- Related articles
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What is business casual for women?
First let’s start by addressing what exactly is business casual for women? Business casual women’s attire is a mixture between professional dress and casual clothing – for example styling a professional looking blazer with a printed knee-length shift dress and heeled black ankle boots. Find the balance between business and casual by styling clothing items that fit into each category together to create a presentable outfit.
How does this apply to winter?
The same principle applies to winter business casual women’s attire; mix professional clothing with more casual (yet still smart) items to look put-together and presentable. The only difference is choosing warmer clothing and adding layers. Swap out your regular tights for fleece lined tights and layer underneath your clothes for extra warmth. Invest in a blazer or tailored jacket to slip on whilst working at your desk.
In the above image I layered a thermal vest top underneath my white blouse for extra cosiness as the top is a little thin. I then added to the look with a tailored boucle-style jacket that’s ideal for keeping your arms warm at a desk all day.
Finally I styled a pair of smart black mom jeans with suede court heels for a business casual mix on my lower body. I find wearing a thin pair of leggings under jeans or culottes works great in the winter months to keep your lower body snug at work.
Shop boucle jackets here:
Winter business casual women’s clothing
Here is a full breakdown of winter business casual clothing, including outfits for inspiration…
Winter business casual trousers
There are three types of business casual trouser that you can’t go wrong with in winter:
- Black jeans
- Women’s tailored chinos
You could also style women’s suit trousers with more casual blouses and shoes, as the suit trousers would count as the ‘business’ dress part of the outfit.
Quick tip: Layer leggings underneath culottes, jeans, suit trousers and tailored chinos for extra warmth if it’s very cold where you live.
Black jeans are a great business casual option, as long as they are simple, straight legged and not distressed (no jeggings or super skinny jeans that are more suitable for a club or bar). The denim should be immaculate and not faded, so they look smart and presentable. Black jeans are a much safer bet than blue wash or acid wash, as the darker colour looks more presentable.
** Side note: always check if black jeans are an acceptable option for your individual place of work’s business casual dress code. Some businesses have slightly different definitions of business casual than other, so it’s always best to check with a manager if you are unsure about jeans.
Culottes are fantastic business casual trouser as they are so chic and timeless. The high waisted cut of culottes (or palazzo pants) is very flattering on women of all shapes and sizes, making this an excellent option for all.
In the above image I styled a pair of dusty pink culottes with a cosy black turtleneck and sleek court heels. The culottes are on the more ‘business’ side of business casual, and pair perfectly with a conservative turtleneck.
Dress up the outfit further with a pair of black court heels for a professional finish. Alternatively to dress down the outfit wear with sleek black heeled ankle boots for a trendy look.
Shop the look:
Winter business casual tops
The best go-to business casual winter tops I’ve found are either cosy yet chic turtlenecks, smart knitted sweaters or long sleeved smart blouses. All of these types of tops go with everything, plus they have long sleeves that conceal layers underneath should you want to wear warming thermals.
In the below photo I styled a white turtleneck with a black blazer to show how elegant a simple cotton turtleneck can look as part of a winter business casual outfit:
I finished the outfit with simple black mom jeans and court heels, tying together the monochrome colours with a tweed style bag. Sticking to black and white is an easy way to make an outfit look more expensive than it is, as the colours are professional and clean.
The outfit was so comfortable and warm to wear, thanks to the soft jeans and cosy turtleneck. I also layered a thin white tank top under the white turtleneck for extra warmth on my upper body.
Throw on a blazer and slip into a pair of heels to instantly elevate the outfit from casual to business casual, as these items are universally recognised as professional pieces.
Shop the look here:
The above turtleneck is cotton and the blazer is lightweight and comfortable – perfect for layering in winter.
Wearing a blazer or a tailored indoor jacket is an easy way to put together a winter business casual outfit, as they style well over jeans, skirts and dresses. See what you have already in your wardrobe and practice styling outfits. If you don’t already have a blazer or jacket it’s definitely worth picking one up!
The perfect winter business casual blouses have long sleeves so you can layer thin tops, a thermal vest or a light camisole underneath for extra warmth.
The blouse should follow these principles:
- Be smart and of a professional colour or print (no neon, brand names or graphic slogans).
- Choose a quality looking material that washes well and does not bobble.
- Go for a conservative cut and neckline – no overly cropped blouses that show midriff.
Pair the blouse with jeans, culottes or tailored chinos for an easy business casual look that doesn’t compromise warmth.
When wearing a blouse with a skirt in winter make sure you finish the outfit with warm tights that are either fleece lined or thermals, to beat the chill of the colder months.
In the above image I styled a long sleeved teal blouse with high waisted black jeans and heels for an easy, stylish winter business casual women’s outfit.
Add a chunky belt for extra stylish detail and wear with delicate pearl earrings for a classy finish.
Shop the look below:
I couldn’t resist also linking this stunning printed business casual blouse, that would look great as part of the above outfit formula:
Winter business casual dresses
The easiest winter business casual outfits in my opinion always feature a smart, simple yet comfortable dress. Simply slipping on a dress over a pair of warm tights to wear to the office in winter is a quick way of getting ready in the morning, whilst knowing you’ll look put-together.
I have found the best winter business casual dresses to be:
- Thick turtleneck knit dresses that fall to the knee (in black, navy or burgundy and styled with sleek tights and heels).
- Long sleeved shift dresses of a simple print or pattern that you can layer a slip underneath.
- Smart jersey material dresses when styled with professional items like a blazer.
You can also wear your summer business casual dresses in winter as long as they match with black tights and a black blazer. In the below image I styled a summer business casual dress this way to show you how to transition your business casual wardrobe through the seasons:
This dress transitions perfectly from summer to winter as it features black in the pattern. The black pattern helps it match easily with tights and the blazer and black high heels – perfect! Red also looks great with black, so a red dress without a pattern would also work well.
The dress would be ideal if it were long sleeved for warmth, however this can easily be fixed by slipping on a blazer, or a cardigan. This is a fantastic look for a meeting where business casual dress is required, as it’s polished and sophisticated, but also comfortable and will keep your legs warm at the board table. We all know how chilly large meeting rooms can be!
Shop a long sleeved business casual red dress below:
If you are enjoying this article you may also like: 10 Ways to Style Dresses in Winter
Winter business casual skirts
Stay warm in winter with long skirts or with skirts made from a thicker, high quality material that traps heat. There are plenty of skirts that quality as business casual and look great in winter.
Here are some winter business casual skirts:
- Thick tweed or wool blend skirts for chic warmth.
- Long pencil skirts.
- Maxi skirts that keep the lower body warm.
In the above image I’m wearing a boucle style skirt that is very thick and warm, despite being a little short. The skirt is high waisted, keeping my tummy area cosy and it falls to the mid thigh. When worn with a warm turtleneck and thermal tights, the skirt is very warming and qualifies as appropriate winter business casual style.
Without tights the skirt may be a little short, but as it’s a winter skirt in winter colours it’s intended to be worn with tights, to keep the legs warm. Finish the look with black heeled ankle boots or court heels for a seamless finish.
Shop a similar skirt here:
An office wear staple piece that never goes out of style is the simple pencil skirt. Pencil skirts are great pieces to style as part of winter business casual outfits as they are long, keeping the lower body warm, and convey classically feminine style.
In the above photo I styled a black pencil skirt with thick black tights and black court heels for a seamless look on my lower body. I added a stylish cropped knit sweater to keep my top half warm. A slightly dressy sweater works great as part of a business casual outfit, especially when the rest of the outfit is more on the ‘business’ dress side.
When styling a pencil skirt and sweater either wear a cropped sweater that falls over the waistline of the pencil skirt OR choose a sweater that can be tucked into a pencil skirt, for a tailored finish.
Shop the look below if you like this outfit:
Winter business casual coats
Choosing a coat to style as part of winter business casual outfits is relatively easy when you stick to these three rules:
- Pick a longer style coat, like a trench or pea coat to keep your legs warm.
- Make sure the coat is made from quality material, that’s thick and cosy.
- Avoid faux fur or any embellishments that may lose quality over time. Instead pick a simple chic design that will stay in fashion and matches most outfits.
In the above photos I styled a long dusty pink lapel collared coat as part of a business casual outfit. This coat works well for business casual dress as it’s a simple yet elegant design, that’s timeless. The colour is very pretty too and pairs well with my workwear wardrobe.
The material is a wool-blend, so it’s super warm during the winter months here in the UK.
Choosing a coat of a simple neutral colour like grey, camel, dusty pink or cream is an easy way to look more expensive and put-together, as the colour looks classy. Similarly, picking a simple pattern like tweed or hounds tooth that’s guaranteed to stay in style is another safe bet.
Shop a pink patterned coat below:
Winter business casual shoes
Making sure you pick a suitable winter shoe for winter business casual outfits is key for finishing off your looks with professional style. A great tip for wearing shoes in winter to the office is to swap out your shoes at your desk after the morning commute (especially if it’s rainy or snowy!).
Keep a pair of smart court heels at your desk and swap out your commute sneakers before your morning meetings. Alternatively, sleek heeled ankle boots and tall boots look great as part of business casual outfits, if you prefer these types of shoe over heels.
Tall boots are great for keeping your legs warm under your desk if there is a chilly breeze in the office!
Shop my top business casual shoe picks below:
The above ankle boots look great with dresses and tights for a pop of trendy yet presentable style.
Tall boots like the pair above are great when paired with knee length or mid-thigh length skirts, for a feminine office wear look that keeps your ankles and legs cosy.
The above court shoes are an excellent staple piece for business casual winter wear. They look gorgeous when slipped over thick black tights, for an elegant finish. Choosing an appropriate heel length is key for comfort.
Be careful wearing these outside if the ground is slippery! They are best kept for indoor wear only, hidden under your desk to be changed into each morning.
If you are enjoying this post save it to Pinterest to revisit later! I’d be honoured if you would consider sharing the below pin:
Winter business casual women’s outfits
Here are three more winter business casual women’s outfits, for style inspiration:
How do you dress business casual in cold weather?
Layering underneath your professional dress is key when dressing business casual in cold weather. Style a turtleneck over a thermal under layer and wear fleece lined tights with your work wear skirts. Wear tall boots on your way to work to keep your legs warm and then switch into your court heels at the office. Invest in a blazer or an indoor tailored jacket for an extra layer of warmth when working at your desk.
Thank you for reading this Winter Business Casual Women’s Outfits Guide – I hope you feel confident to style your winter workwear wardrobe and enjoy incorporating the tips included in this article.
For more fashion inspo check out…
Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).