Instead of a blazer, try a denim shirt as a jacket over your favorite work dress.

How to Dress Up a Denim Shirt for Work

by Jennifer Blair

A denim shirt is a fun piece of casual wear that comes in handy after work and on weekends. However, if you want to give your office wardrobe a little more flair, it may be time to incorporate your favorite denim shirt into your usual 9-to-5 outfits. Dressing up a denim shirt for work can be a little tricky, but if you choose the right style and pair it with a few choice items, you can easily make it office-appropriate.

1. Choose the Right Shirt

The first step in dressing up a denim shirt for work is making sure that you choose the right one to pair with your office wardrobe. When you’re shopping for that perfect denim blouse, pay attention to fit. You want a style with a tailored silhouette so it’s not so loose that it gives you a sloppy, casual look. If you choose a looser denim shirt, you should pair it with a belt to cinch it for a more polished appearance. A fitted option also means that you can easily tuck it into pants and skirts for a more tailored appearance. When it comes to the color, a darker wash typically has a more dressed-up look, but a light-wash denim shirt can be an ideal option in the spring and summer.

2. Pair It with a Skirt

One of the easiest ways to make a denim shirt work-appropriate is to pair it with a skirt and heels. For a sleek modern look, wear your denim shirt with a pencil skirt in a dark color like black, chocolate brown, charcoal or navy. Even a pinstriped style can help make a denim shirt appear more professional for the office. In the spring and summer, though, try pairing your denim shirt with a floral print skirt in soft pastels or bold, bright hues for work.

3. Add a Blazer

The key to making a denim shirt work at the office is ensuring that it’s not the centerpiece of your outfit. Wearing it under a blazer is an ideal way to help it blend with the rest of your work wardrobe. In fact, you can just swap it with your usual white button down and wear your denim shirt with your favorite black pants suit. You can also wear it under a tweed or plaid blazer with a pair of dress pants in a dark shade like black, brown or charcoal. If you work in a more casual office, tuck your denim shirt into a pair of dress pants and top it with a cardigan for a soft, but still professional look.

4. Combine with Dress

Another way to make a denim shirt blend seamlessly with your office attire is to combine it with a dress. In the fall and winter, take your favorite sleeveless sheath or shift dress and wear your denim shirt under it to give yourself a jumper-like ensemble. Pair it with knee high boots and you’ll look sleek and polished for the office. You can also take a sleeveless office-appropriate dress and wear a fitted denim shirt over it instead of a blazer. Add a wide dressy belt on top of the buttoned-up denim shirt for a look that's both fashionable and polished.

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