Business casual for men is a common dress code in many offices — it’s neat, respectable, and versatile. However, this dress code’s guidelines often create confusion for many people, which is understandable because it’s difficult to standardize its definition. It may vary depending on what industries are you working in, the location of your office or what company you are working in. That said, there are basic things that you can learn so you can pull off this attire like a boss.
What Is Business Casual For Men?
The business casual dress code is suited for a professional environment or formal work setting. It is appropriate for offices with more relaxed dress guidelines and perfect for casual Fridays. Rather than wearing a full-on suit to work, the business casual attire is a lot less uptight while still looking professional.
The ideal business casual outfit for men should be neat and comfortable yet still look presentable. A simple rule of thumb for business casual is to consider it as just a little toned-down version of your typical formal business attire, but not too casual that it compromises the businesslike impression.
Business Casual vs Smart Casual
These two office dress codes might be considered “casual” but they are completely different styles. Sometimes, they can be affected by subjective and varying standards of dress codes across different companies and industries.
Smart casual combines business dress code, business casual, and casual into a “smart” ensemble. It’s a combination of a professional and informal outfit, usually characterized by casual elements like sneakers or jeans paired with other more formal businesswear. It is neat and businesslike, but still informal. You can think of it as an upgraded version of casual attire and it’s usually more comfortable though than business casual. The key to Smart Casual attire is to select a business outfit then replace a few items with more casual alternatives.
Business casual, on the other hand, portrays a greater sense of professionalism. It is the more standard choice of firms and companies, and it’s what many people would think of when thinking about a more relaxed but corporate-looking ensemble. Although the line between the business casual and smart casual dress codes can sometimes be blurred, business casual is more formal and businesslike than the smart casual dress code. And when in doubt, it’s always safer to achieve a business casual attire if you’re in a professional environment.
Business Casual Styling Tips For Men
Collared, button-down dress shirts are typically the most appropriate choice, like a slim-fit, long-sleeved shirt. Regular t-shirts are more suited for casual/informal attire so it’s best to avoid them. Polo shirts are sometimes accepted but they sometimes can come off as too casual. In colder weather, you can go for long-sleeved sweaters or turtlenecks as well.
Jackets and blazers
Blazers are one of the most common add-ons to most business casual outfits for men. If you want to add a professional element to your overall look, a simple blazer or sports jacket can effectively achieve that. Your blazer should be fitting and preferably tailored to ensure a sharp, streamlined look. For colors, try to go for dark or neutral jackets or blazers. This style can act as a transition to a dressed-down style after work, simply by taking off your blazer. Some good options are blazers made of wool material. It can be your best choice, especially in winter. And if you prefer a much cooler and slightly less fancy option, then a linen blazer is ideal.
Slacks or chinos are the most common option for standard business casual attire. However, some companies allow less formal types, such as khakis. Try to avoid wearing jeans as sometimes they are more suited for smart-casual looks. If you do decide to wear denim jeans, choose denim that is as great in quality as premium slacks and stick with something in a darker wash. Avoid any faded, ripped or stonewashed denim.
Dress shoes are safe and good choices for the business casual attire for men. There is a wide range of acceptable dress shoes that you can choose from, in various materials and styles. You can also opt for a pair of formal loafers in a more sophisticated color such as brown or dark blue. In some cases, sneakers are allowed but it could be a little tricky to create the ideal business casual look for men with bulky sneakers so try to avoid wearing them if possible.
As you now know, wearing a tie is optional when it comes to business casual outfits for men. If you do choose to wear a tie, a simple and classic option is a solid-colored tie, which can help add some color to your outfit while keeping things professional. A wristwatch can be a fashionable accessory as well; try to pick one that has a leather or metal strap for a polished look. Other business casual accessories for men to consider include leather items such as bags, wallets, and belts. Leather accessories for men almost always add a more professional touch to your overall outfit.
Do’s and Dont’s for Business Casual For Men
As with every other dress code, there are some basic do’s and don’t’s for the business casual attire for men to take note of if you want to ensure you’re appropriately dressed. Do take note that these guidelines are not set in stone so always make sure to check with your company’s official dress code requirements and adapt them accordingly.
- Choose pants with a neutral shade that can be easily paired with different shirts. Neutral colors are more versatile and are very business-appropriate colors.
- These will allow you to mix and match your outfit combinations throughout the week.
- Choose clothes that fit you well. This will maintain a professional image and make your outfit look especially smart.
- Tailored blazers and pants are good options to ensure the perfect fit for your figure.
- Whenever in doubt, lean more towards the formal side rather than the casual look. After all, it’s almost always better and safer to overdress.
- Don’t wear shorts; even those formal shorts.
- Avoid wearing open-toed shoes like slippers or sandals.
- Try not to wear loud colors and patterns.
- If you really want to wear something more colorful or interesting, stick with a solid color or simple geometric patterns.
- Don’t use excessive pieces of jewelry and fragrances. They can be very overpowering and distracting in a formal setting.
- Avoid funky hairstyles and hair colors. Keep your look clean-cut and sharp.
Although the guidelines of business casual attire are not so standard in different people, remember that these are fluid guidelines and the situation may influence a bit. Given the appropriate circumstances, you can always bring your best casual attire to a more creative level. Don’t complicate. The key is to create a more relaxed yet still a businesslike ensemble. Be confident with those blazers and pants. You probably look better than you think.