As cultural and societal norms continue to change and evolve, so has fashion. When you think of fashion trends, images of the runway or streetwear probably come to mind.
The business casual dress code remains an elusive concept for even the savviest businessmen. It is difficult to balance traditional looks with the newest styles; but don’t worry, dressing well in the office doesn’t have to be confusing or stressful. We’re going to give you five real-world-tested tips on a business casual style that will keep you looking sharp in the office.
- Get the Right Accessories
My favorite part of the men’s business casual dress code is that the tie is optional.
This doesn’t mean that you should never wear a tie. However, it does give you more flexibility with your look. If you opt for a tie, keep it classic in color and get it in a high-quality material like silk. If you are looking for a more modern look, consider a skinny tie.
Nonetheless, if you ask us, I say forget the tie and go with a classy wristwatch with a leather strap.
Also, don’t forget a briefcase. A stylish leather briefcase will bring your entire outfit together along with a matching watch, belt and pair of shoes.
- It’s All About the Pants
Suit pants used to be the gold standard for business casual. This is changing, and as a result, you have more options.
However, your business casual trousers should be as sharp, intent, and sophisticated as the rest of your outfit. Many men make the mistake of cutting corners when it comes to their pants, and it shows.
Your trousers should be clean and tight-fitting. Think slim-cut instead of skinny jeans.
Alternatively, a pair of nice, mid-weight cotton chinos with a flat front and neutral aesthetic is also a good choice. Denim is an option, albeit a more casual one. Be sure that the denim is high quality.
- The Right Shirt
A business casual shirt should have two straight seams in the back and hug tightly to the shoulders and the frame.
Stick to monochromatic colors at first. As your confidence and wardrobe grow, consider mixing in other color schemes and patterns. Make sure you keep your business casual sense of style within reason.
The no-blazer look is becoming more acceptable in the business casual space. Instead, wear a tight-fitting sweater or a button-down cardigan in navy or gray. Underneath should be a collared shirt. If you are wearing a cardigan, a tie is a must.
- The Blazer
If you want to achieve a classic business casual outfit, you need to start with a high-quality blazer.
By high-quality, I mean tight and tailored. Your blazer should have a slim cut, fit squarely on the shoulders, have a lapel that stops above the ear, and have sleeves that end just before the shirt cuff.
There are many blazer styles and materials that you can choose from. I recommend going for a dark or neutral color like navy. Switching up your blazer style to match the seasonal look is also easy.
A tweed blazer is a style that will keep you warm while still staying in fashion during the wintertime. During the summer, a nice cotton or linen blazer is a good choice. Aim for neutral colors like navy or grey that will go with a variety of outfits.
However, the safest bet is a classic single-breasted blazer of light wool with peak or notch lapels. This type of blazer will keep you comfortable regardless of the season.
- Look Good from Head to Toe
Now that you have selected various shirts, pants, blazers, and accessories, take the time to consider your outfits. Your outfit should be greater than the sum of its parts.
Just because you have selected several high-quality items does not mean that they will all go together. This is why I recommend starting off with neutral colors. They will match effortlessly with one another.
If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to having a clean and professional look while at the office.
Once you have a solid outfit or two, don’t be afraid to experiment. Consider getting more colorful or patterned shirts and blazers. Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun.
At the end of the day, fashion is about looking good and expressing yourself, even within the constraints of a business casual setting.