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Turning Campus Casual into Business Casual

Updated: Aug 3, 2019

Yes, you can totally make a T-shirt and a pair of sneakers look professional.

by Katie Pittman

Transitioning to a new job or internship doesn’t always require a full wardrobe reboot. Sometimes, the best items to wear are already in your closet! With a couple of tweaks, casual clothing pieces can easily be transitioned into work-appropriate outfits. Of course, always check with your supervisors to see what office dress code is. If you’re unsure, I firmly believe that it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.


Not all jeans are equal: Avoid baggy or ripped jeans when at work. Although they’re trendy, they’re not the most professional. Opt for a tailored jean in a dark wash. To keep things professional, wear a dressier top, like a button-up or a blouse. If you need to wear a more casual top, make things a little more formal with a blazer and dressy shoes (like pumps or loafers).


Let’s be honest: A T-shirt is probably the most basic wardrobe staple anyone has. To keep from looking sloppy at the office, make sure it’s clean and wrinkle-free. No iron or steamer? Most drug stores carry wrinkle release spay, which helps loosen tough creases. If you’re really in a pinch, a hair flat iron on a low temperature can also get rid of wrinkles. To dress up this casual piece, toss a blazer or tailored jacket over it. Pair it with a nice pair of dress pants or dark jeans and dressier shoes.


Even if your work environment is rather casual, a blazer is always good to have in your wardrobe. Throw it over a T-shirt and jeans to dress up an outfit, pair it with a sundress to provide some extra coverage, or use it as the finishing touch to a button-up and slacks combo.

T-shirt dress

For comfort and functionality, opt for a T-shirt dress. Their boxy silhouette is perfect for hot summer days, keeping you cool in between subway transfers and office errands. To keep it from looking too casual, pair it with a heeled sandal or a leather loafer.

(Clean) sneakers

Luckily, sneakers are currently a trendy wardrobe piece. If you want to don them at the office, make sure they’re clean and well-kept. Dirty, worn-in sneakers are not the best in a professional environment. Pair them with dressy pants or dark wash jeans and a tailored top for a put-together outfit.

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