Many of my clients have moved on from wearing classic bootcut trousers with a tucked blouse and blazer for business casual. Instead, they’ve been enjoying a more fashionable combination of cropped trousers, soft top and jacket. The components of the formula are ankle pants, a short drapey blouse, a non-blazer jacket, and ankle strap pumps

Apart from the Riley Tote, the items in this collection are the exact pieces that my client bought last week to create the look. We combined the Sloan-Fit Slim Ankle Pants in black with the Drapey Popover Blouse in navy. The blouse runs big, so size down. The blouse is boxy with theatrical kimono sleeves and would be somewhat overwhelming if it wasn’t shorter than regular length.

There is no need to semi tuck the front. Wear it out over slim-fit pants, which should be two to three inches above the ankle bone. Unfortunately the Banana Republic picture of the black version doesn’t show the correct length, but if you follow the link you can see the correct length in other colours. For example, here is the blue version on the right.

A non-blazer topper like a textured moto jacket, trapeze cut or a tuxedo silhouette is a great way to top off the look. But if the top and bottom are in sufficiently dressy fabrics, like the ones shown here, you’ll look pulled together without a topper. 

Ankle pants with ankle strap pumps are a match made in heaven. My client liked the outfit best with the zebra skin Okala pumps, but on days when she wants to wear flats, the Cole Haan Skimmers in black are a good fallback option. We finished off the look with a large matte gold tote, a funky pendant necklace and gold stud earrings. My client looked stunning and was extremely pleased to be wearing something different to the traditional business casual ensemble. 

Outfits based on this formula are comfortable and current. They surrender the waistline, but look “just tailored enough”, relaxing the business casual dress code with a fun dose of fashionable integrity. It’s also a great option when you’re sick of jeans, and want to look a tad dressier but feel just as comfortable.