Change the game: business blazer alternatives

Welcome back to work!

If you like me actually *technically* started back at work last week – can I ask whether you’ve also found it a struggle to get started?

Summer work wear basics

I kept wanting to write a “summer office basics” post but felt that we BusiChics are pretty au fait with these. If you work in an office, one will be best served by creating a uniform of sorts consisting of the following: a suit (matchy-match is usually the go in Corporate but my favourite is the non-matched blazer/skirt/pant variety which Business Casuals and the like are able to rock), basic tops (the simpler the more versatile but do get in a few special prints/embellishments for interest’s sake!) to get you through the week and accessories that help you personalise your look – jewelry, belt, bag and stylish-but-functional shoes in which you can competently stride from home to office, to client and out for drinks. Smart Casual workers can employ more casual versions of any or all of these pieces.

basic summer work wear

The summer basics of an office professional with eclectic taste:

Suit: ASOS blazer in crepe with slim lapelASOS pants in crepe + ASOS woven cami (great to layer under a suit but remember that spaghetti straps are a MAJORLY PROHIBITED in conservative workplaces so either never take off your blazer inside or keep a cardi handy!!) | Spice up your work wardrobe with the season’s prints, this Check Georgette top at Veronika Maine ticks that box | Contrast classic with something eye catching like this timeless marcs grosgrain trim pencil skirt with these edgy Cue Hexagonal Python Print belt | Lovisa genuine fresh water pearl stud earrings | Gorman spray paint iPad case | Look for classic-shaped shoes in respectful (rather than garish) tones like these Arezzo Denim Low Heel Pumps| // hey note that the above pieces will create at least five different outfits- that covers a whole work week!

Change the game

However the vibe that I am getting from 2014 is that we want to do things a little bit differently. We want to lift our game or take steps to change it entirely. Afterall, in the words of Einstein*, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

The tailored lines of a blazer make them the quickest and IMO *bestest* way to create an office outfit – however it’s good to have alternatives to add some interest to your corporate uniform. Those looking for such a twist may appreciate switching in a kimono-style top or lightweight summer cape. If you find that the fabric of your blazer or cardigan is a little too heavy to wear come heatwave but don’t wish to risk shivering under the office air-con; a kimono-style top or lightweight cape could be for you. In these modern times, a vest looks of-the-moment when worn over other sleeveless items which will work better for those in more casual settings where arctic air-con is not a concern…

How to switch up your business blazer for a kimono-style top, lightweight cape or vest!

business chic cape kimono vest

Switch your blazer from left to right: Corporates try and sub in a cape by Sass & Bide | Relaxed office? Throw on an ASOS kimono-style jacket over your still-smart work pants | Sleeveless ok by your boss? Go oversized with a Country Road sleeveless vest, a camisole and your work pants.


The key to finding a Business Chic blazer-alternative is to keep the style as simple as possible – kind of like a blazer, really. This means that versions in straight black will be super versatile but hey – as it’s summer, let’s try keep things light. To that end, I’m looking for a grey kimono-style top myself, or alternatively/additionally, something in a simple print. In terms of capes, Sass & Bide have my favourite – that seem dressy enough for work and play – but I also recently picked up a lace version from The Estelle in Ivanhoe that is unexpected but garners lots of compliments. And while I haven’t quite achieved the level of upper-arm-tone that I would like in order to be able to rock a vest this summer; there’s no reason why you can’t work it!

When introducing a new trend into your work wardrobe, I like to recall the economic term ceteris paribus – where all other things remain the same. This means pair your new kimono/cape/vest with the classic basics you already have – like the tailored bottom; pants (BusiChics may have realised by now that cropped pants are my favourite – I am a shorty!) or pencil skirt – and don’t forget to anchor the look with a good shoe. Mmm shoes. 😉

What do you think about capes, kimonos and vests in the workplace?

Is it too “fashion” and a distraction? Or a welcome tweak to the status quo? Tell me, are you changing up your work wardrobe this year/season or does yours work for you? Tell me what’s in your perfect wardrobe!

If you have a work wear question, please feel free to ask me – that’s what I’m here for! Write me cheryl[at]businesschic[dot]com[dot]au

*In case you are wondering, Einstein was also rumoured to wear the same clothes every day but note: this isn’t entirely true.

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