Although business casuals have been a big part of men’s dressing, the pandemic has brought it to the forefront all the more. People are embracing a more casual and comfortable style of dressing now, and learning how to ace this style in the workplace will help you look smart while feeling at ease throughout the day. Read on for this business casual style guide for men…
What Business Casual Means
Before getting into the basics needed to assemble your business casual wardrobe, let’s see what it actually means. As the name suggests, business casual apparel is a style of workwear, but unlike formalwear, it is far more laid back. Although the name has “casual” in it, this style of dressing is meant to look professional in a workplace setting.
What makes this dressing style so appealing as workwear is that it has the elements of the comfort of casual wear but yet looks smart and sophisticated. It could mean a lot of things when you’re mixing and matching different pieces in your men’s business casual wardrobe. A few essentials like collared shirts, flat-front trousers and blazers are at the core of it.
Here are a few pieces you should have:
A fundamental part of this kind of styling is men’s business casual shirts. The right shirt will set the tone for the rest of your outfit. You can also play around with a bit of colour with shirts, considering trousers and outerwear are usually in neutral shades.
What you want to look at when shopping for business casual shirts is the fit. You don’t want to be ‘swimming’ in your shirt, and at the same time, you don’t want it to be too tight. The right fit for you will contour your body well, with the shoulders and shirt length being aligned to your body.
What goes hand in hand with finding the right shirt is getting the right trousers for you. This is where the ‘casual’ part of business casuals comes in. You don’t only have to wear dress pants; you can choose from a variety of more casual styles, including chinos and even high-quality denim. There are a lot of factors to keep in mind when shopping for trousers like fabric, colour, rise and length, but like shirts, probably the most important aspect to look out for is the overall fit. You want your trousers to sit snugly around your waist and hips and the length of the legs to be appropriate. The pants’ break (the fabric creasing at the bottom of your pants where it meets the shoes) is a point of preference – you can choose between no break (no creases at all) to a full break (with a few folds).
What’s the difference between a blazer and a suit jacket? Both are suitable for formal occasions like work, but a blazer does not usually have matching pants. Typically, there are two styles of blazers – single-breasted or double-breasted and this indicates the rest of the design. They also come in different fabrics like cotton, tweed, linen or even velvet. One of the best business casual style tips you can get is that if you can own just one blazer, go for a black or navy blue piece that you can wear with almost anything in your wardrobe.
The last piece of the puzzle is nailing the accessories for men’s business casual outfits. This includes footwear, which is a big part of accessories. Generally, a good rule of thumb to follow is that your belt and shoes match, so choose them wisely. As for shoes, you can pick from the more formal styles like Oxfords or Derbys and slip-on styles like Monk Strap shoes or loafers. Of these styles, Oxford shoes are perhaps the most versatile and should become your go-to in your business casual wardrobe styling.
If you want to include a few more accessories to complete your look, you can add watches, ties, pocket squares, suspenders and belts to your outfits, depending on what the occasion calls for.