Business Casual Attire For Men – 70 Relaxed Office Style Ideas
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 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.
What is business casual?
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 casual 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. It’s best to sprinkle such variety 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 aesthetics.
Your Guide to Business Casual Attire for Men
Need some business casual ideas? We’re here to help. We’ll take a look at what your options are available and what the rules are. By the end, you’ll be a business casual expert and be able to curate your own look to be at your most handsome best.
Should you wear a blazer?
One of the most obvious questions when it comes to business casual attire is whether or not you should wear a blazer? The answer is, you probably should.
A blazer helps to give you a smart appearance and allows the rest of your attire to be more of a more casual outfit. Blazers look good with almost anything and you can wear one with jeans and an open collered shirt, and still look smart.
The blazer options you have now are fantastic. You can go for traditional wool or perhaps something different such as a tweed number.
When going for the perfect look as business casual men, you’ll want a tailored suit jacket that complements your body shape.
A blazer isn’t an absolute must. In hot weather, you can leave your jacket at home as long as the rest of your look is sharp. In colder climates, you can opt for a different business casual look and choose a sweater or cardigan.
That being said, we love a blazer for business casual attire. It instantly portrays a professional image and allows you more flexibility with the rest of your business casual wear.
You can also choose a sports jacket or sport coat. These are essentially slightly less formal versions of a blazer, which makes them perfect for those looking for something a little different while still looking smart.
A good shirt is the foundation of men’s business casual. While a blazer is optional, a high-quality dress shirt should almost always be a part of your attire.
What are the exceptions? A t-shirt, turtle neck, or polo shirt can undoubtedly look great but where are heavily weighted to a more casual look. If you’re less business and more casual dress, then you can think about something different.
For most people, a dress shirt such as an Oxford shirt is the way to go. While that is a fairly strict rule of a business casual outfit, you do get plenty of freedom with color and style.
You can’t go wrong with a plain white dress shirt and we’d recommend sticking with lighter colors. If you’re confident with your styling then you can start to look at patterned shirts or darker colors.
If you want a professional image, then always tuck your shirt in. If your business has a more laid-back casual clothing look, or a formal image isn’t that important to you, then you can untuck your shirt. We think it looks a lot smarter tucked in.
Pants and trousers
As we’ve already discussed, while exemptions exist, you should probably wear a dress shirt and a blazer. When it comes to trousers, you have much more freedom.
The staple for a business casual outfit is slacks. They are comfortable, you have a wide range of colors and they look great. A dress slack for business attire should be high-quality, have clean lines, and be well-fitting.
If you find slacks to be a little uncomfortable then chinos and khaki pants are perfectly acceptable for a smart casual dress code. A chino pant has a bit more room, which is ideal for bigger guys.
Can you wear jeans? Absolutely! They are more of a casual wear option but when paired with a dress shirt and a blazer, they can make a perfect business casual look.
You want to avoid ripped jeans or any fancy styling. Dark jeans usually look the best, with lighter jeans giving a more casual look. A smart pair of jeans should be included in your business casual wardrobe.
What about dress pants? Well, you’ll look fantastic but you’re leaning more towards formal attire than a business casual outfit.
You can still look casual with dress pants if you style it out in another way such as wearing loafers, not wearing a blazer, or going without a tie.
Blazers look great but they don’t give you enough protection from the bitter cold. Having to follow a business casual dress code in winter can present some problems but there are great solutions out there.
If you’re looking for something to wear over a jacket or blazer when you have three main options of a trench coat, top coat, or a peacoat. For sophistication and style, nothing is better than a topcoat but the other two can still be highly stylish, as you can see here.
They are the perfect complement to your business casual look. They help to keep you warm while also looking at your stylish best.
Shoes and boots
The business casual dress code is very flexible when it comes to what you wear on your feet. You can go for a traditional leather shoe, a dress boot, loafer or there are other options too.
The only real no-no here is sneakers. As with all these rules, there are exemptions. Sneakers can be acceptable if your company is very casual or if you’re going to a non-work-related social event.
For most people, your main choices of shoes are Oxford, monk strap, loafers, and brogues. You can also wear boots with the dress, Chelsea and chukka boots being the best call.
You can never go wrong with black or brown but always be sure that they match your belt and your watch. Lighter colors are fine but, again, this is leaning to the more casual side of the dress code.
With a business casual dress code also comes plenty of ways to accessorize. Here we take a look at your main options.
Whether you wear one or not is your choice but your workplace may have a policy. They aren’t a requirement of business casual wear and you’ll look great without one.
If you do wear a tie then ensure it’s high-quality, understated, doesn’t use bold colors, and is fairly slim. Don’t be afraid of patterns but just double-check they fit in with the rest of your look.
A watch is a classic accessory and allows you to add a little more style and personality to your business casual attire. Metal watches more or less go with any outfit but if you wear a watch with a leather strap then it needs to match the color of your belt and shoes.
A pocket square isn’t even a requirement of business professional attire so why should you consider it for smart casual? Well, they add a splash of color and personality. When matched with a casual look, a pocket square can be a great addition.
A backpack just doesn’t fit in with business casual attire. You can’t go wrong with a saddle bag or a leather bag. A canvas bag is another great option but make sure you’re thinking about functionality and not just style.
Sunglasses can also form an important part of your business casual wardrobe. There are no rules to follow here and you can simply have your favorite pair in your pocket for when needed. It goes without saying that you’ll want a sleek and stylish pair.
When it comes to socks, just keep them smart and almost always wear dark socks, and ones that match your shoes. This may mean not wearing socks at all. A great way to style out your business casual attire is by wearing loafers without socks.
As we’ve seen here, there are plenty of rules in place but they are pretty loose. If you’re unsure, then you can go for the more formal side of the dress code before experimenting a little more with your style.
With the business casual dress code, it can cover a wide range of looks. Some are close to being casual and others are almost formal. All you need to do is choose where you want the balance to be with your style and carry it with confidence.
We’ve given you some great ideas here so update your wardrobe and you’ll soon be looking in the mirror with a smile on your face.