Women’s Business Shirts – Nail Your Professional Wardrobe

Starting a new job or looking to revitalise your office attire? A range of women’s business shirts are a staple of any professional wardrobe. To help you out, Monzi’s resident fashion expert has put together this guide covering all the information you need to nail your look. You’ll go from shabby to chic in no time. Let’s go.

womens business shirts two women with laptop in office

Women’s business shirts

Short-sleeved or long-sleeved, formal or casual, muted colours or a basic pattern. When it comes to dressing professionally, these are all the questions you’re going to have to consider.

Typically, the office that you work in will have a dress code that you need to conform to. Whether it’s business casual or business professional, getting it right is crucial. The last thing you want to do is turn up to a job interview or an important meeting underdressed.

Luckily, Monzi is here to help you construct a killer wardrobe that will have you feeling confident and ready to take on any challenge that comes your way. We’ll guide you through the different dress codes and how to find great outfits on a budget.

What are the four types of dress codes for the workplace?

Whether you’re just starting out in a new job or you’re looking to update your wardrobe, selecting the right clothes to match your company’s dress code can be tricky and at times, downright confusing.

In general, office workers will need to conform to one of four dress codes.

  • Business formal
  • Business professional
  • Casual
  • Business casual

To ensure your fashion is always on-point, we’ve put together this handy guide covering each of the four categories. Follow these tips and stick to the basics. It’s as easy as can be.

Business formal

Corporate high-flyers listen up. Business formal, as you might expect, is the highest level of professional dress.

Whether you’re a young lawyer working yourself to the bone or attending regular meetings with corporate executives, professional presentation is usually highly valued.

Luckily, business formal is particularly well-defined. This is convenient when trying to select an outfit, however, it can get a little dull. If you’re looking to nail your outfit, tips and options include:

  • A well-cut pantsuit or skirt.
  • Wear neutral colours: navy, black, grey etc.
  • Close-toed heels.
  • Dark tights.
  • Conservative accessories (e.g. diamond stud earrings, silver or gold watch).
  • Ultimately, commit to a professional appearance.

See below for some of our favourite examples:

Business professional

Often referred to as “traditional business”, a business professional dress code is a step down from the archaic, old-school level of conservatism you’ll get with a business formal dress code. In saying that, it’s still critical to be neat and professional in your appearance.

So, where do the differences lie?

Well, a business professional dress code will typically give you a bit more leeway when it comes to colour or pattern. It’s not quite as rigid which allows you to inject a bit of your personality into your workplace attire.

  • Suits, skirts, tops or jackets in neutral, conservative colours (e.g. black, brown, navy).
  • Women’s business shirts in any colour.
  • Closed-toed pumps in black or brown.
  • Larger jewellery: have a statement piece. Could be a large watch or necklace.
  • Neutral nail polish: think beige, lavender or taupe.

Not sure what you’re looking for? Check out a few of the styles we love:

Business casual

Working in an office? Business casual is the most common dress code that you will encounter. As such, it is important to understand what it means.

Unfortunately, it can mean different things to different companies. This murkiness makes it one of the hardest dress codes to execute. If you’re ever in doubt, contact your HR representative and they should be able to put it in simple terms for you.

In general, the essence of business casual is a look that displays your personality and flair without looking unprofessional. So, expect to see a range of colours and accessories. As such your business casual wardrobe might feature:

  • Business casual shirts for women may include coloured shirts and blouses. Look for solid colours or muted patterns. Stripes or checks often feature heavily.
  • Pencil or a-line skirts.
  • Slacks or khakis.
  • Large jewellery: watches, necklaces and bracelets are fine. Size and quality are typically less of an issue.
  • Scarves are always welcome.
  • Close-toed flats or pumps of any colour. Typically though black, brown, red, navy or grey are the best choices.

Knock it out of the park with some of these great tops we’ve found for you:

Casual

In short, working in an office with a casual dress code is the dream. Why? Because it’s so easy.

Not only is there less pressure on what you wear but you can typically get away with wearing some of your everyday outfits too. While it is more relaxed, ensure your overall look is still neat and presentable. After all, you’re still a professional.

Keen to nail a casual dress code? See how:

  • Wear fitted tops and blouses.
  • Experiment with patterns and colours.
  • Have a range of skirts, slacks and even denim in your wardrobe. Although, maybe avoid overly casual jeans (e.g. ripped or flared).
  • Embrace the range of fabrics you can wear. Wear a comfortable cotton or a soft silk.
  • Top off your outfit with a scarf or casual jacket.
  • Get creative with your jewellery and accessories: large earrings, bracelets and necklaces can help you execute your look.

Need some ideas? See below for some inspiration:

Women’s business shirts: finding the right colour

We all have that one colour that we think suits us. Maybe it works for our skin tone or makes our eyes pop. Whatever it is, colour is a crucial ingredient in constructing a wardrobe.

Unfortunately, if you’re working in a business formal environment then your choices will be limited. You’ll be stuck with the basic blacks, whites and greys.

On the other hand, the colour choices for business casual shirts women are typically much more diverse. With the whole colour wheel available to you, it’s important to know what works for you.

So, what does work for you? Well, to help you out, here’s a breakdown of how different colours are viewed. See, what you think.

Black/grey/navy

  • Associated with power, sophistication and competence.
  • Make sure you break up your outfit with a bit of colour (e.g. a white blouse or coloured top).
  • Fun fact: dark colours can make you seem taller.
  • Grey is versatile: light grey may be passive or relaxed whereas dark grey is your classic power colour.

White

  • It doesn’t matter what season or dress code you’re dealing with, white should be staple of your wardrobe.
  • Use it as a background colour: pair your white blouse with a colourful, patterned skirt or a formal suit.
  • In short, it’s the perfect complementary colour.

Red

  • Red is associated with activity and energy
  • It may be a great choice for blouses, shoes and dresses. However, a red suit can be a little too much.

Yellow

  • Yellow typically won’t be your featured colour. Instead, it should be used to complement your classic power colours.
  • A yellow blouse or scarf can be a great addition to your outfit and may be seen as uplifting. However, maybe keep it to only one day per week.
  • Avoid a yellow suit at all costs

Blue

  • Nearly everyone thinks they look good in blue but finding the right tone is important.
  • Navy blue never lets you down and is a staple colour of most wardrobes. It’s so versatile making it great for suits, shirts or shoes.
  • On the other hand, light blue is typically reserved for women’s business shirts and tops.

Green

  • Green is without a doubt the most difficult colour to pull off. If you’re thinking of adding it to your wardrobe, tread carefully.
  • Olive green is typically your best bet for a professional workplace, however, keep it to a minimum. A simple blouse or skirt at the most.
  • Light green is often viewed as cheap.

Pink

  • Pink is the ideal colour for casual, creative workplaces.
  • Whether dark or light, it works perfectly for dresses, scarves and even women’s business shirts.

Brown

  • Reserve your brown outfits for casual and business casual dress codes.
  • A brown top or skirt helps to create an image that you are sophisticated yet elegant. Moreover it can make you seem more approachable.
  • As a rule you’ll typically find that brown doesn’t feature heavily in business formal fashion.

The psychology of women’s business shirts: perception matters

Choosing the right outfit can have a huge impact, not only on your own self-confidence but on how others perceive you too.

As described by Karen Pine in her book Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion she eloquently stated “When we put on a piece of clothing we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it, even if we are unaware of it.” In short, if you’re dressed professionally, you’re more likely to act professionally.

As subtle as it may seem, the right clothes can boost your confidence, self-esteem and productivity.

The perception of others however, may be more interesting. When we meet someone, we almost immediately judge them on a range of different characteristics and personal elements, of which fashion is one. It’s simply part of being human.

The power of these judgements though are significant and enduring. Come across someone dressed professionally and you’re wired to view them as more competent.

As a result, picking the right outfit is crucial.

Women’s business shirts Kmart

Who said you have to go to high-end retailers to find your perfect outfit?

Head down to your local Kmart and you’ll likely find a great range of white business shirts for women (or any colour for that matter). Best of all, it won’t break the bank. Most of their shirts come in under $20 which is a stark difference from the $100 or more you’ll be charged for designer clothing.

While the material obviously won’t be quite as good and they may not last forever, in the short-term your Kmart outfits will do the job. Moreover, to the untrained eye, it will look every bit as good as a designer outfit.

So, if you’re on a budget it may be the right option for you.

Where can I find cheap women’s business shirts online?

If you’re on a budget, finding high-quality, fashionable outfits at a reasonable price is a skill you’re going to have to master. Luckily, it’s totally do-able with a little know-how.

These days, there are a host of wonderful online stores where you can discover a range of chic, fashionable outfits that won’t break the bank. Seeking formal business shirts for women? You won’t be short on options.

As a word of warning, do your research and check the reviews before buying any product.

Other tips for scoring a great deal online include:

Shop the sales

Be patient. Whether it’s Boxing Day or Black Friday, you can potentially save yourself a ton of money. Sales may be as short as a single day or as long as a week. So, keep an eye out.

Take advantage of sign-up offers

Some websites may offer up to 20% off your first order just for creating an account. However, you will likely be inundated with promotional emails for the foreseeable future but it’s a small price to pay.

Coupon websites are your best friend

Hit up one of the many coupon websites and you might be able to find a code for 10% off or free shipping. It may not seem like much but saving money is never a bad thing.

Find the best deal

Before completing any purchase, make sure you shop around. Products are often available on more than one site meaning you can potentially get a better deal just by doing a bit of extra research. It’s simple and will only cost you a few minutes.

Don’t forget about the seasons

This will require some foresight. Retailers usually try to clear inventory at the end of each season in order to create space for their new products. To do this, they’ll often offer significant discounts.

Following this logic, the best time to buy your winter outfits will be at the end of winter. Just simply pop your new clothes in your wardrobe and wait for next year. As a result, a little bit of patience may be required too.

Women’s business shirts online: finding the right fit

While online shopping is incredibly convenient, it comes with one major, unavoidable downside. You can’t try anything on.

Unfortunately, business shirts women can be particularly hazardous given their fitted nature. All too often, your shirt will arrive only for you to find it is too large or too small or a different fit from what you anticipated.

To find the right fit online, some handy tips include:

  • Get accurate measurements: if your measurements are off then the website’s sizing chart will be meaningless. Have someone help you take your measurements to ensure they’re as accurate as possible.
  • Buy clothes that you know: while it’s fun to be adventurous, if you’re experimenting with a new style, it’s always better to try it on in-person. When buying online, it’s always better to stick to what you know.
  • Read the reviews: there’s almost always a review that mentions sizing. For example, one might mention “the size 10 is quite small, I’d recommend going up a size.” This kind of information can be a life-saver. In short, make use of other women’s past experiences.

Skin tone and women’s business shirts: finding what works for you

One of the best fashion guides we have is our own skin. Your skin tone plays a major role in the colours that work for you.

Typically, your skin tone will fall into one of three categories: cool, warm or neutral.

Cool skin is typically characterised by pale skin and blue eyes. If you burn easily and have blue-ish veins then this is you.

On the other hand, if you tan easily, have dark eyes and hair then you probably have a warm skin tone.

Neutral skin tones fall somewhere in the middle. They’re hybrids who get the best of both worlds. The lucky few with neutral skin typically look good in any colour.

So, what colours suit each skin tone? See below:

Cool

  • Look for cool undertones such as sky blue, emerald greens or a lavender-type purple.
  • Pastels will be your best friend.
  • Avoid bright colours (e.g. orange or yellow) as they can overpower you.

Warm

  • Earth tones and bright colours.
  • Feature reds, oranges, creams and earth tones prominently.

Neutral

  • Got a neutral skin tone? You should consider yourself lucky.
  • As a mix of both warm and cool, the whole colour wheel is at your mercy.
  • Whether you want to go with muted tones or bright colours, the world is your oyster.

Women’s business shirts to suit your budget

While having a chic, professional wardrobe is important, you shouldn’t break the bank to get it. Before you start shopping, ensure you know exactly what you can afford to spend.

In short, creating a budget is a must.

Luckily, there are a host of free, online budgeting tools that can help. Our tip: check out the ASIC’s Moneysmart budget planner. Your expenses are categorised to give you a clear idea of where your money is going.

That way, you’ll know how much you can afford to spend on your new wardrobe.

Start shopping for women’s business shirts today!

We’ve done all we can to help you put together a killer wardrobe that will work in any professional setting. Now, it’s up to you. Keep these tips in mind and get shopping. We’re sure you’ll nail it.

Good luck!

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