Business casual is an ever-changing grey area for men, especially those in the highest positions of frontier industries. With so many new styles and trends constantly barraging the fashion world, it can be difficult to keep up with what is appropriate and what should be avoided.
For instance, it was once fairly standard that a tie would not be included in a business casual outfit, but certain trends in materials and styles have made it such that a combo including both a suit and tie could be considered business casual.
When determining if an outfit is business casual, it’s actually quite a bit simpler to try to decide if the outfit is actually professional. Professional is a style that is reserved for more formal business settings, like high-level internal meetings and business liaison ventures with members of other companies. This style essentially boils down to the traditional suit-and-tie combination with a solid-color dress shirt. It’s best to stick with neutral colors like blue, black, grey, and brown, and footwear should match but remain conservative.
Typically, anything other than that traditional attire is considered business casual. This can include a much broader range of options than professional attire, and depending on the company, that can create an issue for someone new who isn’t familiar with the standard of business casual accepted at that particular business. It’s better to start at the higher end and work your way down to something a little less professional if necessary, but you don’t want to show up on the first day looking like a bum. Try a blazer and pants that aren’t monochromatic, and don’t be afraid to wear a tie or even a vest, but don’t feel limited to solid color dress shirts.
For winter, tailored sweaters should be fine for men in a business causal setting, especially when paired with a collared shirt, which is standard for basically every business outfit of any sort. Colors for business casual attire should remain in a range that avoids anything overly bright, but a little more color is acceptable than for professional attire. It’s best to sprinkle such variety in through accessories like pocket squares, cufflinks, a belt, and even suspenders with the right outfit. Be careful not to overdo it with add-ons, since too many will draw unwanted attention. It’s all about balance and aesthetic.