Guys: How to dress business casual
The workplace may be getting increasingly casual (we’re blaming you and those damn Adidas sandals, Zuckerberg), but that doesn’t mean you should look like every other cubicle-bound drone at the office.
Think of all the time you’ve spent perfecting that pitch to your new client, and you want to ruin all that hard work with dressing like you’re going to your mates house to watch the footy?
Dress for success, but that doesn’t mean you have to be suited up everyday. Pray tell, you ask, exactly what is ‘business casual’? Stick around and we’ll impart some style tips that will keep you ahead of the rest.
The first and most important advice
For the love of all that is holy in the world of fashion, purchase clothing that fits you properly. Nothing ruins an outfit – whatever the dress code and no matter how expensive the clothes are – like wearing something that doesn’t fit. The first secret to looking smart is sizing correctly. Failing this, get a tailor on speed dial. We recommend beginning with pieces that are easy to mix and match, so you can get the most possible bang for your buck.
After you’ve built a solid closet full of staples, you can start getting more creative, but for now let’s stick to the basics.
The Business Casual Essentials
This is where the mix-and-match approach is really key. If you build your selection of essentials carefully, you’ll be able to achieve maximum levels of versatility with minimum levels of effort (which is crucial in the mornings, when you haven’t had your coffee yet).
Plain colours are the easiest to match, so focus at first on standards like white, light blue and pale pink. Once you’re set on that front, you can move into brighter colours and bolder patterns. Always keep in mind that you should be more business than casual, so only wear a shirt if the collar can stand up without a tie. Stiff is always better than limp…!
Pants are the new black. Stick with classic colours – navy and camel – and opt for a fit that’s slim but not skinny. You also can’t go wrong with a pair of suit trousers, again in a multipurpose colour like grey. If jeans are appropriate in your workplace, go for something on the more formal end of the denim spectrum. Your office jeans should also be slim-but-not-skinny and should have a dark wash. FYI – No shorts please.
The classics are safest when it comes to your footwear. Loafers, Oxfords, Derbys, brogues and monk straps will all look suitably smart at the office and go with anything you wear on top. Colour-wise, black, brown, oxblood and tan are your best bets.
The Optional Business Casual Extras
If you really want an outfit that says “I’m headed straight to the top, better start clearing out that corner office ASAP,” you’re ready to throw in the final piece de resistance:
Blazer / Jacket
While you’re working hard at the office, your jacket should be hard at work for you. The right one speaks volumes, so choose carefully. Three jackets are all you really need to get by: a navy blazer, a tweed sport coat and a modern corduroy jacket. The corduroy might seem dated on paper, but if you opt for something fitted with contemporary details it won’t look dated in practice. The tweed jacket is an easy-to-wear classic that’s especially great in autumn. And the navy blazer…well, do we really need to tell you why that’s a work wardrobe staple? When it comes to pockets, go patch. It will save you looking too corporate and will help give of a cool Italian vibe. Or at least make you look a little like Don Draper. And we all know what the ladies think of him.
Next week – lovely ladies, it’s all about the latest in workplace trends for winter.
Thanks to D’Marge for the inspiration.