The dress code is “Business Casual”…
A common term coined with uncommon parameters. It’s been a phrase used in offices for decades, but still gentlemen have had a hard time deciphering its true meaning. Am I too dressed up? Is this too casual? Should I wear a tie? The reality of business casual in the workplace has shifted into a disheveled mix of untucked shirts, athleisure, and shredded denim that should see the bottom of a garbage can.
Business casual is described as the point where you start mastering the median between formal business attire and more relaxed weekend looks. See it as a time to explore and test your boundaries. For those who dress up most days, use it as an excuse to experiment with more relaxed looks. For those who default to jeans and a t-shirt more than they would like to admit, use business casual to refine your style.
The office is a place where formal and informal situations are daily occurrences. Internal meetings, videos conferences, lunches with your colleagues–everyday a different interaction can occur. While it’s always important to make a great first impression, daily business casual attire should be purposeful, sophisticated, and most of all, comfortable.
Start with the right shirt. Personally, there’s nothing that a great fitting chambray shirt can’t do. A fabric that has a great feel, great look, and can replace that standard twill or pinpoint shirt you might typically wear. If you’re looking for an even more relaxed feel, opt for a button down version.
Brian has said this in the past, but if you are going to wear a tie for business casual, make sure it’s a knit one. I find that I’m wearing knit ties much more often than any other ties in my wardrobe. Easy to dress up or dress down, I rarely find a time when I don’t like wearing one.
A striped knit tie makes a statement in this otherwise conservative look. For some, it might draw too much attention, but I find that an interesting tie can be a great conversation starter with the right people in the office. Not your style? Swap it out for a solid navy or brown version.
Time and time again I find myself relying on the cardigan sweater. Why? Perhaps it’s because the cardigan sweater is a versatile substitute for your everyday blazer. Its “put together” look makes it an ideal business casual staple. This cotton maroon one is the perfect transitional piece from the winter season into spring. It keeps you warm when the office is too cool, yet it’s thin enough to wear under a blazer.
While you can certainly wear jeans with this outfit, my experience tells me to dress for the job you want, not for the job you have. A light or medium grey pair of tropical wool trousers works perfectly in any situation and particularly well for this business casual outfit.
Lastly, no office style would be complete without a great pair of loafers. The Weejun has been an iconic shoe for generations and for good reason. They’re classic, comfortable and for business casual, they match perfectly.
Let us know…would you wear this look in your office?
Thanks for reading!
Steven D. Elliott
He Spoke Style