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How to Dress for Work Without Sporting Floral Prints

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By: burgundy bug

Sleeveless lemon button up blouse with yellow pinstripe slacks

Source: Lemon Shirt with Yellow Pants | Penelope Peru Photography p3

April showers bring seasons of clothing adorned in flowers. From bathing suits to crop tops to blouses to trousers, floral prints are practically inescapable… Until burgundy bug came to the rescue, that is.

A Bit of Context…

Listen, I’ve got nothing against floral patterns. They’re a sweet and serendipitous splash of the season’s ephemeral beauty, a classic wardrobe essential!

However, I’ve personally found myself in a bit of a conundrum. It seems near impossible to buy a blouse or button-up shirt without petals peering proudly and persistently throughout the fabric.

As I am under five feet, I already have a hard enough time finding trousers that don’t trail beyond my tippy toes or blouses that don’t look like I’m a child playing dress up in my mother’s closet.

Now double that with the task of finding work appropriate attire that isn’t adorned in anemones, asters, and amaryllis alike.

What is Appropriate to Wear to Work?

Before we dive into how to curate your work wardrobe, it’s important we lay down a few ground rules.

What’s considered appropriate will largely depend upon where you’re employed. Some employers may be a bit more lenient and let you get away with – gasp – jeans in the office every once in awhile (thanks, casual Fridays).

The definition of workwear has also evolved quite a bit overtime. Today, many employers abide closer to a business-casual clothing policy, which in itself can be incredibly vague.

Luckily, one of our guest contributors Sarah Winton shared an article with us in Mar defining business casual alongside a few workwear essentials, as well.

“According to the all-knowing oracle Google, business casual can be defined thusly:
‘relating to or denoting a style of clothing that is less formal than traditional business wear, but is still intended to give a professional and businesslike impression.’

Clear as mud, yeah?”

Sarah Winton

Read: Workwear Essentials by Sarah Winton

Source: Poutine and Prada

As a rule of thumb, polo shirts, pencil skirts, slacks, and blazers are generally a safe-bet.

When it comes to sleeves, 3/4 or full length won’t raise an eyebrow. Depending on how formal your workplace is, you might be able to sneak below the radar in sleeveless, button-up blouses during the summer months.

How to Dress for Work Without Sporting Floral Prints

Pushing the Daisies

Sold on Solids

Solids are an easy solution. Even if finding a solid shirt seems akin to finding a needle in a haystack, it’s certainly not impossible.

Among a sea of silk-printed sweet peas, you are bound to stumble upon a solid black, navy, white, or perhaps even grey blouse in any retailer.

Let’s Get Geometric

Geometric patterns you can have a whole lot more fun with. Contrasting colors and abstract patterns are the name of the game.

There are also a lot more options in terms of geometric patterns. You’ve got squares, triangles, diamonds, lines, fractals, or a buffet of shapes all mixed into one to choose from – so choose wisely!

Checkers and Ginghams

Checkered print will probably not fly if it’s bright and contrasting. Checkered prints that look a bit closer to graph paper, however, are more appropriate.

The same rules apply for gingham prints. Saturated, high contrasted, or darker gingham patterns (think: lumberjacks) are more casual than a gingham shirt with a white base and soft accent color (think: country).


Pinstripes seem to be all the rage this season. Seriously. I’ve gone into four different Forever 21s – all quite a distance from each other – within the last three weeks and I didn’t manage to find a single pair of slacks or wide-leg bottoms that weren’t pinstriped.

Thinner pinstripes are definitely business-savy, where as wider pinstripes might look a bit like Robin Thicke’s outfit during his controversial VMAs performance in 2013.

Feeling Fruity

If your office is a bit more on the casual side of business-casual, you could definitely get away with wearing a blouse that’s adorned with lemons or grapes.

In fact, lemons seem to be the next big-thing in fashion this season.


Bedazzled clothing is a bit of a spectrum. On one end, it can be blinding or come off as downright cheesie. On the other end, it could be a bit too formal.

So long as it’s done tastefully, a bedazzled cardigan or swoop-neck blouse with jewels around the neckline could add a little sparkle to your wardrobe.

As for studs, that’ll take a bit more judgement. Most of the time, it will look a bit more like party attire, but there will be exceptions to the rule.

In Conclusion

There’s nothing wrong with floral prints. They’re classic. However, it can feel impossible to find a blouse that isn’t covered in a blush shade of watercolor roses.

Rather than getting discouraged, caving in, or resenting the system, I personally took this as a challenge to collect workwear that isn’t floral.

There are so many other options that are often overlooked, such as geometric patterns, pinstripes, fruits, or gool ol’ solids.

But hey, if flowers are your go-to, all the more power to you.

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burgundy bug


A cynical optimist and mad scientist undercover, burgundy bug is the editor, graphic designer, webmaster, social media manager, and primary photographer for The Burgundy Zine. Entangled in a web of curiosity, burgundy bug’s work embodies a wide variety of topics including: neuroscience, psychology, ecology, biology, cannabis, reviews, fashion, entertainment, and politics. You can learn more about working with burgundy bug by visiting her portfolio website: burgundybug.com

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