Gone are the days when dressing for work would be as simple as putting on a business suit and a hat, and heading to office. Times have changed and so has the way men dress. The hats have been forgotten and the bulky suits have been left behind.
The concept of casual Fridays has caught on and the casualness has found its way into the other days of the week as well. Whether it is for an outing with friends or for a meeting with a client, men’s fashion has come a long way.
When it comes to dressing well for the workplace, business casual dressing seems to be the order of the day. This, however, does not mean that you turn up in office wearing a pair of jeans with a t-shirt and sandals. And neither does it mean that you should look like every other cubicle-bound robot either.
Business casual is one style which may be a tad complex to comprehend, but if understood well, it can be used to reflect your individuality and add some personality to the way you dress for work. This style also gives you ample opportunities to show off your cool quotient and appear more approachable as a person.
To be fashion forward is to recognize and appreciate what business casual wear is all about. Dressing five days a week in ill-fitting shirts, loose trousers and slack-y blazers isn’t it – and it certainly won’t help you climb the corporate ladder.
So what will?
First thing’s first. Let’s talk fit.
We’ve said this before and we’re saying it again, always buy clothes that fit you to a T. Nothing ruins your look faster than clothes that do not fit, irrespective of how expensive they may be or what the dress code at your office is.
It’s no secret, but a rule of thumb – if you want to look smart in something, get it in the right size. Once you’ve understood your size well, you can start adding more pieces to your wardrobe.
Further, it is always better to begin by buying pieces that are easier to mix and match. Doing so will help you get the most bang for your buck. Stock up on staples or the basics first, and leave the experimenting for later.
Getting the essentials right is easy.
The term ‘business casual’ should be enough to give you an insight into the style of this kind of dressing. Mixing-and-matching is important and if you put your essentials together prudently you will be able to achieve maximum levels of versatility and comfort.
If you’re looking for a guide to business casual dressing for men, you’ve come to the right place.
Wearing the right shirt involves more than just getting its fit right.
You will have to work with the colors as well. Solids are our safest bet as they are the easiest to match. You will do well to focus on conventional colors such as white, blue, pale pink and yellow. Once you get used to them, you can try your hand at wearing brighter colors and further move on to bolder patterns such as plaid, checkered, gingham and even tartan.
Always bear in mind, however, that your dressing should be more business and less casual, so stick to wearing proper shirts (with stiff collars) than t-shirts or polo shirts.
Your trousers need attention too!
If you don’t like wearing formal trousers to work every day, then you’re going to love the business casual style. Chinos are an option that you can consider as they fit the business-casual style for men perfectly. They aren’t very formal nor are they very off-the-cuff.
Again, it is suggested to stick to classic colors – those which go with everything. Think navy blue, gray, beige and tan. Opt for a fit that’s slim, but not skinny, and keep them ankle-length.
You will also do well in donning a pair of suit trousers in the above mentioned colors. If you wear jeans to your workplace, go for something that is dark in color, and with a slim (not skinny) fit.
Footwear needs to be considered with care as well.
If you thought your shoes aren’t noticed by anyone, think again! When going business casual, pick your shoes with care for the entire look to come together.
Classics such as loafers, oxfords, derbys, brogues and monk straps are all acceptable. Not only do they look smart at the workplace, they also go with most kinds of clothes.
As far as colors are concerned, black and brown are your best options. Try wearing shoes with some color in the summers and you may just like the results.
Get your belt right by selecting the perfect one.
Your belt need not be too plain, but it shouldn’t be ostentatious either. Make sure the buckle of your belt isn’t too flashy for your workplace.
To get it right, match your belt with your shoes. That should hold you in good stead.
Work in some business casual extras into your attire for a cooler and a more erudite look. But of course, these are optional and should be worn in accordance with the climate in your region.
A smart blazer or a jacket should do the trick.
While you work hard in your office for your boss, make your jacket work hard for you. Wearing the right blazer or jacket can instantly up your chic quotient, so do choose carefully.
Every man’s wardrobe should have 3 kinds of jackets – a blazer, a tweed sport coat and a well-fitted corduroy jacket. You may think that the corduroy jacket might look outdated, but one that’s fits you well and has some contemporary details on it will never look dated.
A tweed jacket is just easy to throw on and head out, especially in autumn. And the blazer has always been a wardrobe staple. As far as the pockets are concerned, go patch for an unruffled yet a gracious look.
Owning a suave sweater or a cardigan does have it perks.
By asking you to wear a sweater/cardigan, we don’t mean that you wear one of those geek-y thick knits with wild patterns on them. Keep it slick and pick something that can be worn over a shirt and under a jacket.
Again, solid colors may help you out. Aim for a slim-fitting sweater, one that ends that the belt line. If you prefer wearing cardigans, make sure you wear a tie and always leave the last two buttons undone.
So you see, achieving the business casual look isn’t as difficult as it is made out to be. All you need to be mindful of are a few simple dressing rules. Keep the above tips in mind and you’re sure to ace this look and become the coolest employee at your workplace.