When it comes to dressing for the workplace, business casual is a term that is often thrown around. It’s a dress code between formal and casual and can be pretty confusing for men unsure of what to wear. However, with a few key pieces and some simple styling, mastering business casual for men can be quite straightforward.
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What is Business Casual for Men?
The business casual dress code varies depending on the industry, company and office culture. Generally, it is a relaxed version of formal business attire, allowing for more individuality and comfort. If you work in science, your outfit might be a little stricter than for someone in the arts. Business casual often includes dress pants or chinos, a collared shirt, and dress shoes. Blazers, sweaters, and vests can also be worn to add a touch of formality. However, jeans, sneakers, t-shirts, and flip-flops are usually considered too casual for this dress code.
Wondering what is considered business casual for men? This table has all the information you need for the dress code.
Your business casual outfit will also depend on your styling. You can easily put together an outfit for the office with your casual shirt when paired with formal pants and blazers. Experiment with your fit for something that adheres to the dress code and makes you feel comfortable.
6 Staples for Your Business Casual Wardrobe
If you’re here cause you googled ‘business casual men’, we’ve got you covered. Here are the wardrobe staples you can add to your work closet to make it the ideal place for all your business casual needs.
- Pants and Chinos
- Sweaters and Vests
- Blazers and Sport Coats
Pants and Chinos
When it comes to choosing pants or chinos for a business casual outfit, opt for darker colors such as navy, black, or grey. These colors are versatile and can be paired with a variety of shirts and shoes. Avoid bright colors, patterns or anything too tight or too baggy. Choose pants that fit well and are not too long or too short. The hem should rest on the top of the shoe without bunching up or dragging on the ground.
Chinos are a popular choice for business casual because they are comfortable, stylish and versatile. They come in a range of colors, including khaki, navy, and olive, and can be worn with a variety of shirts and shoes. Chinos can be dressed up with a blazer or dressed down with a t-shirt or sweater.
Shirts are a crucial part of any business casual outfit. A collared shirt is a must, but it doesn’t have to be a dress shirt. Button-up shirts made from cotton or linen are perfect for a business casual outfit. They are comfortable, lightweight and look great tucked into a pair of dress pants or chinos.
When it comes to color and pattern, stick to classic options such as white, light blue or stripes. Avoid loud prints or anything too bold. Dress shirts can also be worn, but make sure they are not too formal or stiff. A relaxed fit with a softer collar is perfect for business casual.
Sweaters and Vests
Sweaters and vests are a great way to add warmth and style to an outfit that is business casual for men. A sweater can be worn over a collared shirt and paired with dress pants or chinos. A V-neck sweater in a neutral color, such as grey or navy, is a classic option and can be dressed up or down.
A vest can also be worn over a collared shirt for added warmth and style. A vest in a neutral color such as black, grey or navy is a versatile option and can be worn with your well-fitted trousers for the perfect semi-formal look.
Blazers and Sport Coats
Blazers and sport coats are a great way to dress up a business casual outfit. A blazer is a tailored jacket that can be worn with all your favorite pants and a collared shirt. It adds a touch of formality to an outfit without being too stuffy. A blazer in any of the classic styles and colors can do a great job of making your business outfit look effortlessly stylish and charming.
A sport coat is similar to a blazer, but it is less structured and often made from a more casual fabric such as tweed or corduroy. It can be worn with regular pants and shirts for an impressive look. A sport coat in a neutral color, such as brown or beige, is a great way to add some texture and style to a business casual outfit.
Shoes are an essential part of an outfit when you’re thinking business casual for men. Dress shoes are the most appropriate option, but they don’t have to be too formal. Oxfords, derbies, and loafers are all great options for business casual. They should be in a neutral color such as black or brown, and polished to a shine.
Sneakers and athletic shoes should be avoided unless the office has a very casual dress code. Boat shoes and driving moccasins can be worn in the summer months, but they should not be worn with dress pants.
Accessories are an essential part of any outfit, adding personality and style to business casual attire without a struggle. A black and brown leather belt is a must-have in every business casual men’s wardrobe and is best when matched with the shoes. A watch is also a great accessory that can add sophistication to an outfit. A leather strap watch is a classic option, but a metal band can also work depending on the outfit.
Ties are unnecessary for business casual, but they can be worn if desired. A knit tie in a neutral color can easily give your outfit the touch of class and sophistication it was looking for.
Do’s and Don’ts of Business Casual for Men
The modern workplace encourages dress codes that are more relaxed, with the traditional suit and tie no longer being the norm. Many companies have adopted a business casual dress code, which can be both a blessing and a curse for men trying to navigate the appropriate attire. While business casual allows for more flexibility in outfit choices, it can also lead to confusion and uncertainty about what is and isn’t appropriate. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the do’s and don’ts of business casual outfits for men to ensure a professional and polished appearance.
- Choose well-fitted clothing that is not too tight or too loose.
- Wear a collared shirt, such as a dress shirt or polo shirt.
- Opt for khaki pants, dress pants, or dark-colored jeans.
- Accessorize with a belt, tie, or watch.
- Wear closed-toe shoes, such as loafers, dress shoes, or boots.
- Dress appropriately for the occasion and environment.
- Wear athletic wear, such as sweatpants, gym shorts, or running shoes.
- Wear clothing that is wrinkled or stained.
- Wear clothing that is too casual, such as graphic t-shirts or shorts.
- Wear clothing that is too formal, such as a suit and tie.
- Accessorize with too much jewelry or flashy items.
- Wear sandals or flip-flops.
Remember that business casual can vary; hence, it is essential to dress appropriately for the environment. When in doubt, it’s better to dress slightly more formally than casually.
Get Styling with Business Casuals for Men
Dressing for a business casual environment can be challenging, but with a few key pieces and some simple styling, it can be easy to master. Opt for dress pants or chinos in neutral colors paired with a collared shirt and dress shoes. Sweaters, vests, blazers, and sport coats can be added to add some formality and style to the outfit. Accessories such as a leather belt and watch can complete the look. Remember to avoid anything too casual and stick to classic options that are comfortable and versatile. With these tips, you can master men’s business casual outfits and look stylish and professional in any workplace.
A fashion writer with over 5 years of experience, she is the ideal person to learn about the latest trends in the industry. Whether you’re wondering how to style your harem pants or just need a quick update on fashion week, you won’t have to go anywhere else. With Amia’s insights, you’ll stay effortlessly chic and fashion-forward, no matter the occasion.
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