Work Wear Wednesday: Cap Sleeve Top + Black Pants

Okay, guys, real talk: This is one of those outfits that when I saw the pictures, I was like, YOIKS!!! I can’t post these!!! 

But I have a firm policy never to waste a photo shoot, plus I know you guys like to pick apart my misses as well as laud my hits, so here you go. Have at it!

I feel like every time I try for a work wear look, I miss the mark somehow. I don’t know if it’s that I’m out of practice, or if I just look better in casual clothes, but I feel for you all who have to dress for the office every day. #denimforever

I think the issue with this outfit is the blouse. It just isn’t flattering on me — it’s way too voluminous, and I need structure to highlight my curves. Also, the high neckline isn’t helping matters.

I love the material, though. The subtle floral print is a huge trend this season, and since it’s still quite warm outside, I thought this would make a great transition piece. For size reference, I’m wearing a small.

Anyway, for the sake of making it through this post, let’s discuss the rest of the outfit!

I’ve had these pants for a while — they’re the Ryan slim straight-fit lightweight wool pants from Banana Republic, and they’re a nice year-round wardrobe basic. I prefer a slimmer fit, but these are nice when you want something more conservative. I’m wearing a 6 regular, for reference.

And these shoes are my Sam Edelman Hazel pumps. These are the best pumps, in my opinion. The quality is fantastic, they have a gorgeous silhouette, and they’re actually comfortable to walk in.

I think they’re worth the price, but if you’re looking for a pair that’s more budget-friendly, check out these Nine West pumps, and this Tahari pair is really nice for a lower heel. You could also wear a wedge pump with these pants if you want a little more stability.

To keep it classic, I carried a black bag, and I wore gold double hoop earrings for a little bling.

In looking back through these pictures, I suppose this outfit isn’t horrible, but I definitely can do better. I think the top would be really cute on someone who is smaller on top, and it would probably look better paired with slimmer pants — maybe black skinny jeans.

blouse // pants // shoes (option) // bag // earrings (option)

photo credit: Alison Cornell

Be sure to visit Cyndi to see the fall outfit she’s styling today!

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75 Responses

  1. oh goodness – you are being so hard on yourself! I actually think the top is cute but agree that I would probably pair it with black skinny dress pants for the office and I would maybe add a colorful shoe! I wouldn’t call this a miss by any means! 🙂 You look great

  2. I think you look great and this is definitely a good look for the office. It looks easy to pair with a jacket if you need to head to a meeting. 

  3. The outfit isn’t terrible by any means, but it’s missing color! You needed something to break up the black and white. It’s just a bit too matchy-matchy. LOL.

  4. You look nice! I have a similar body type and always appreciate your advice on how to pair tops and bottoms. The one thing I would have done differently is wear a long necklace. I find that it breaks up my top when it has a higher neckline and draws the eye downward with almost the same effect as wearing a V-neck.

    1. I agree with you the neck line and the outfit could use a necklace Over all I like this outfit A jacket or cardigan would polish it off too

  5. The outfit isn’t ‘horrible’ (you would look cute in a paper bag) but do think a slimmer straight-leg pant would be more flattering. NOT skinny, but slim straight-leg. They are ‘out there’ because I have added several to my wardrobe this year. I.e. (Isaac Mizrahi 24/7 pant). These pants are awesome!! The top is cute but personally, I don’t like showing my upper arm and maybe a necklace would have pulled the outfit together. Like I said, you look darling in everything you show us!!

  6. I think this outfit looks good on you, just out of your comfort zone. I would add a long necklace and an open front cardigan (my office is always freezing cold no matter what time of year) and eliminate the bracelets, they tend to be in the way when I work at my computer and seem too casual for a business look.

    1. I was afraid a cardigan would make it look even more schlumpy, lol. I feel it needs a structured 3rd piece? But maybe the right cardigan… and yeah, I did try a long necklace, but with this thin fabric, it just sinks in between “the girls” so I left it off. 🙂 Thanks for the input!

  7. Two things: you’re so pretty that nothing ever really looks bad on you and you’re proof that honesty is the best policy; your ability to be transparent in this blog is one of the reasons you’re my favorite fashion blogger.

  8. The problem with the work wear is that for it to look polished, you need 3 pieces. For ex, adding a cardigan or light jacket would give you a look, versus a top and pants. Other add ons as a third piece are a statement necklace, scarf, vest, etc.

        1. Yes, a pop of color: red, burgundy, orange, bright blue or green or purple or…. A lightweight blazer or cardigan, one of the tassel necklaces. Maybe even a bright color shoe…

  9. Just bought a similar top for my daughter to wear she is 14 weeks pregnant and all ready has a tummy and matched it with black pants stretchy material for her to wear to work.

  10. Even though this may not be an outfit you will repeat, it is still very nice and professional.  I agree that the top is too flowy, which takes away from your nice shape.  Since more businesses are business casual, I think changing up the color of shoes & handbag would change up the overall look.  THANK YOU for occasionally sharing misses with us!  It is a good reminder that even though you are a fashion blogger, you don’t always get it right.  Yep, you are human, just like us.  Enjoy your haircut and pampering!  I have a hair appointment on Friday!

  11. Totally agree! More structure on top. What about a V-neck or rounded neck blouse with a short fitted blazer or jacket. A printed or checked jacket would also add interest!

  12. You look beautiful in anything! You are one of very few bloggers I regularly follow. It is because you dont curate your social media to only perfect posts. I would love to see you pair this blouse with black skinnies and do a comparison post. I realize this post is work wear but I always find it so interesting styling multiple ways because we all have different lifestyles.

  13. Gurl you look good in everything!  

    The only thing is I guess because the top is flowy it looks a little big. Perhaps one more fitted. I do agree adding a cardigan or blazer would make it look even better.  And then maybe color in the shoes (or blazer for that matter).   

     I personally like my work pant to be a little loose like what you have on but I think a slimmer (not skinny) pant would go good too. 

    Have a great day and enjoy your time at the hair salon!   

  14. Hi there! I do like this outfit, top is flowy and cooi, perfect for a 90 degree day! I would’ve added a statement necklace that scooped below the gathered neckline and above “the girls”. Maybe one that added some color?? (red, gold, yellow, pink???) I can just imagine a multi-colored statement necklace I have from J.Crew that would be PERFECT!! Or even a light and colorful scarf….! Have fun at the hairdressers, I LOVE being pampered!!

  15. I’m glad that you posted this outfit! I agree it’s not the MOST flattering one you’ve ever posted, though I don’t think it looks that bad. But regardless, for me, the main way I use your posts is as inspo to shop my own closet and this definitely worked for that. I grabbed my black trouser-style pants for work today with my very similar pair of black pumps and a royal blue cap-sleeve blouse that’s a bit longer and leaner with a V in the front, plus gold hoops. It got me out the door and I think it looks pretty good, and I would have never put it together otherwise so thank you.

  16. I agree with Maria that work wear needs a third piece to look right. But the truth is you also have to be careful that you don’t overdo it and outdress everybody else (esp. the boss). I love the layered outfits/accessories White House Black Market shows, but when I last worked in an office environment nobody dressed that well, and it would have been impractical and stuck out in the wrong kind of way. To me, work wear needs to walk a very fine line between “you look very nice/competent” and “you don’t stand out too much/distract/look like you’re more focused on fashion than the job”. When we feel like clothes express who we are, we feel good. Trying to blend into the office kind of takes away some of that expression, so it feels blah. For what it’s worth, I think your look today is great–way better than the average office worker out there–but I think maybe it’s not fully “you” and that’s why you dislike it.

  17. I think if you swapped the pants for a pencil skirt, it would balance the fuller top and look great. The top could use some tailoring to pull the waist in a bit, but it’s a cute top.

  18. I think both pieces look quite nice, but maybe not together. They are both flowy so need to be paired with a more tailored piece. The pants with a top that is tucked and a belt. The top with slimmer pants or a pencil skirt. Also I think a statement necklace would help the issue with the higher neckline. 

  19. The blouse is super nice but I know what you mean about needing structure if your bigger on top (I have this problem and I’m petite so it’s not fun) but with all this said; I like it and would probably use it as a laying piece under a red cardigan or cute black leather jacket when it gets cooler.  Trust me, I have several work tops like this that looked cute on the hanger but not on me and I always find something in my closet to layer over them. It’s funny you said your due for a hair cut and color because I’ve been meaning to tell you that your hair looks so good. I like it longer on you but if your like me; I cut my hair regularly and feel unkept when it starts to grow out. 

  20. Beautiful pieces, yet, I agree, just not the best on you. I love the blouse, I also but need more structure. And, as I’ve learned from you a v neck is much more flattering. Thank you for sharing, we do all learn and enjoy seeing what you’ve picked, even when you dont LOVE the outfit.

  21. The more I look at it the better I like it! This outfit would also look nice for work , church and out to dinner. Something I would wear

  22. I like the pants, but agree the top should be a bit more fitted. I like the idea that someone had of pairing with a red or brightly colored jacket. I also agree with everyone that this is not a total miss and do appreciate you showing us work outfits that are outside your comfort zone. As I work in an office, I like to take your more casual looks and add dress pants instead of jeans! 🙂

  23. I think you are way too critical of yourself! The outfit is perfect for the office. The blouse may look a little better if it was a slimmer fit through the middle but other than that, I think you look great! 

  24. I actualily like the top on you if you had on skinny black jeans and a short statement necklace. The pants are too loose for a loose top.

  25. I agree with all of the comments above. I would love to see the exact same outfit with a statement necklace that sits above the “girls” for comparison.  I noticed that you didn’t wear a necklace with this outfit or the one from yesterday.  Maybe that’s why you weren’t happy with either one?!  It seems necklaces aren’t as popular as they were a few years ago, based on what I am seeing on fashion blogs.  I think the right necklace completes an outfit, so I hope this trend doesn’t catch on!

  26. I think this looks great on you! I like this feminine blouse. It’s really nice! The neckline doesn’t look “wrong” on you. I do agree you could use a smaller size. Not a “miss” at all in my book. Thx for sharing!

  27. I’m like you. Cap sleeves are hard to pull off for me because I have broad shoulders. The only way I can do cap sleeves is having a longer statement necklace. It seems to slim down my shoulders and provide color. It’s a very good outfit. I like the fabric of the blouse. 

  28. I wonder if the blouse would look better with a long necklace to make some shape? Or a jacket or more fitted sweater to make more of a waist.  I also suggest a longer trouser or shorter heel–I think the hemline of these pants is too short for the height of the heel.  Not your best offering, but hey lady most of your outfits are spot on, so this is a small miss.  Don’t be so hard on yourself–and thank you for posting anyway!!

  29. Yeah I don’t think this is a miss. I just think we get used to wearing what we are truly comfortable in and wear on a daily basis. Sometimes stepping out of our daily trend can make us feel awkward but you definitely look good:)

  30. As a long-time lurker 😉 I just wanted to say that this outfit isn’t so much a “miss” as it is … ordinary. The VAST majority of the outfits that you put together are fun and pretty and this one is rather plain, for lack of a better word. I think it’s really hard to nail a work look these days because somethings seem too formal for business casual and other things swing so far toward casual that a person can just look sloppy. The quality of every item does show, so that’s something!

  31. Thank you for trying out different jean styles I really appreciate it as I have never found skinny jeans suit me! I really like this work wear outfit personally i think the slightly loose top looks nice and modern where a tighter one with black pants would look more dated I love the nails against the black too!!

  32. This is a cute outfit!  You look great in anything, really.  I think that flowy top needs a black, structured blazer and you would have a 100% win for the office.  We learn from all of your “winners” and “losers”!  

  33. You always look nice.😊. I do think these pants would look great with your black/white portofino shirt from express.  I think pants with this cut look great with a soft blouse.  You mentioned slim dress pants.  Try the JCrew Cameron pant.  I just bought the black in a crop and grey in full length.  They are as awesome as everyone claims them to be!❤️

  34. You know what I would like to know? I have always wondered how you determine which comments are worthy of you making a response to.

    1. Well, sometimes a question is asked, so that deems a reply. If I ever fail to respond to a question, feel free to ask again. Sometimes I lose track and don’t get back to them all.

      Then there are those comments that seem rude or condescending, and I generally ignore those. Or sometimes I answer them in a straight forward way — if I feel it might help clarify something that needs clarifying.

      Some days I have more time than others, so I reply to things I otherwise might let go… I enjoy the conversations and like to reply if I feel that someone has taken the time to share her thoughts, but some days I just can’t reply to everyone. Sometimes I say thank you to a comment that is sweet, but then sometimes I feel like those thank yous are annoying because they don’t contribute much, so I don’t always do that. I’m sure it seems like I’m inconsistent with who I reply to and who I don’t, so if that seems rude at times, I apologize. I read every single comment and appreciate them all… well, most anyway. 😉

  35. I actually think you great and very office appropriate. Top is a little too big for your figure, but other than that great look. Honestly this is what I look like everyday for work. Simple and put together gets the job done. Wearing ridiculous clothes to work doesn’t cut it and I think the suggestion of a jacket is probably too hot in most climates. I’m in Texas and a jacket looks ridiculous in the summer. Thanks for sharing and keeping it real.

  36. I’m having trouble deciding where to hem a pair of black pants.  I think the current trend is at the ankle? They are BRs Sloan and I want to be able to wear them with flats AND heals. Any thoughts? 

  37. The blouse is pretty but it may not be the best choice for these pants. I agree that I more structured blouse would work better with he pants. Or.. perhaps a slim pant would work better with he blouse. If the blouse were longer you could try to tuck the front  into the pants  and see if that looks good, also think that a hipper shoe would work better. The pump looks nice but a bit dated.

  38. I don’t think you need comments from us! You already have thought out the problems and solved them. Yes, top is too big for you and you need more structure. Otherwise it is a great top. Also, those pants are just a little too loose for you. Some people, some office situations might require that. This blouse need a slimmer pant.

  39. You are too hard on yourself.  At first glance, I thought cute on her…she can wear anything.  Then, I looked at each piece and I think its that there is no color and top alittle too big, pants alittle to wide looking and I’d put a red or burgundy shoe and purse.  You just have such pretty coloring, the outfits where you wear pinks or blues, really stand out on you and showcases your dark hair etc. But, all that said, you look good and I think maybe all the pieces could still be worn, just maybe not together?  What do we know?  You already knew before you posted these. 🙂  Glad you did, so we all could learn from what you said.  Thanks for your hard work.  

  40. Love the outfit on you. I work in a school and walk around with a special needs student all day. Those pumps would kill my feet. Can you show a pair of WHBM slim pants with comfortable booties? My feet get too cold in the winter months with loafers or flats. 

  41. I like the shirt and the combination but maybe the pants are too big? Sorry you had to have wool anywhere near your skin in this heat!!!!

  42. I appreciate so much that you struggle with work wear! I work FT and my “uniform” is black slacks and a top. I usually look better in form fitting tops but am not sure if they are always appropriate in a work setting so often buy more loose ones. I think the thing missing here is a necklace – something long that will give you a v shape at the neck and get rid of the “uni-boob” LOL

  43. This is my typical work outfit.  Maybe throw a cardigan and that is something I would wear.  Don’t be so hard on yourself!

  44. Great comments today and spot on in my opinion.  Pieces are lovely but not necessarily together. Lacking a pop of colour. I won’t repeat what others have said but found the whole conversation very useful.

  45. You just need to take the top to a tailor. Take on the sides and it will be perfect for you. Other than that this is a pretty outfit.

  46. If I were to wear this top to work, I would pair it with slimmer dress pants. Theory has some slim dress pants that are amazing. A bit pricey but staple pants that I wear to work all winter long. I would also wear a structured blazer with it. Banana Republic has great, classic, structured blazers in tons of colors. I have a hot pink one and a Kelly green one which would both be cute with this. I prefer blazers over cardigans for work as I find cardigans are matronly and frumpy. I tend to wear a jacket of some sort (blazer of chanel-type cropped jacket) most days s I work in an environment which is more professional than casual (men don’t necessarily wear ties but they all wear jackets and dress pants). I find that, as a professional women, I often have to dress up more than the men do. I could write a book about the inequity of professional office dress codes. HA! (When I got out of law school in the mid 2000s, many firms required the women to wear skirt suits and forbade pant suits!)…

    1. Very interesting! I think you dress up more than most of my other readers who ask for work wear. I get the idea their environments are fairly casual. But I usually think of your type of dress code when I think of work wear. I have a hard time with blazers; I never really like them on me.

  47. I think you look great. That being said I think you are feeling that you need more definition to your waist as you have a hour glass figure. I’m so aware of it for myself even though family and friends say I look good I feel I could be better.

  48. I love today’s look but think maybe a smaller size would make you happier – a little too voluminous but many of us like that.  I also loved yesterday’s look – my kind of casual!   You’re right too tough on yourself – you look awesome! 

  49.  When I first saw this post I didn’t see it as a miss, however, once you brought up your points I see what you’re saying. I agree with the other commenters and a third piece,  preferably structured, in a nice fall jewel tone would step it up a notch  and look much more put together. 

  50. The top and pants need to be a bit more fitted for this outfit to work.  I think going a size smaller would definitely help.  Also, the cut of the top seems off which I think is more of the issue than sizing like where the top falls on the shoulder.  If I had to
    make do with these 2 pieces, I would wear a magenta fitted blazer, long necklace, and silver or nude heels.  For someone that prefers a more neutral color scheme this outfit could be paired with a grey, tan, or black blazer and long necklace. As for shoes go with nude or black for the grey and tan blazer and if you go with the black blazer choose a bright colored shoe to give the outfit a pop of color.  

    1. All great advice… funny, I would have never thought to introduce another color since there is yellow in the top, but of course it makes sense to bring in a contrasting color. Love the magenta idea.

  51. I think this outfit is great and looks beautiful on you Jo-Lynne! I have to dress up for work and would totally wear this outfit!! 🙂

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