When you get dressed for work in the morning, or even when you’re going out to entertain clients in the evening, chances are you reach for a suit in your closet. Pair that suit with a white shirt and a crisp tie and you’ve got a winning, no-brainer combination every time.
Business casual for men is a little bit tougher to pull off. However, there are times when a suit is going to look way too formal, and wearing one is going to make you feel out of place.
No matter what field you work in, business casual for men likely plays an important part in your wardrobe. For some guys, business casual is even more important than the suits they wear less frequently.
Use this guide to help you learn more about business casual for men and stay current with trends and classics that will never go out of style. Even just a few basic business casual looks in your closet can help you seal the deal, or at the very least, make sure you don’t look out of place in a new office environment.
Say Goodbye to the Tie
Wearing a suit without a tie is something that a lot of guys do already. Very few realize that this can be considered business casual for men without doing a whole lot extra. Add the right accessories and you’re set.
Pair your tie-less suit with a crisp white shirt and leave the top button open. Stuff a colorful silk pocket square into your jacket and let the colors really shine. Just by doing these two things you’ll look casual enough for any occasion without going over the top.
This look is particularly important for guys to cultivate if they work in office environments where a full suit is standard, but business casual for men comes up from time to time.
The best thing about this look? You can always bring a tie with you and put it on if you start to feel like the business casual day you thought you were attending, is more business as usual.
It stands to reason that you already own a suit and going without a tie is something you can do. Keep in mind, the color of the suit that you wear plays a major role in how formal you’re going to look.
For the best results, go with a color that’s not too dark and skip the charcoal, black and midnight blue standby’s that you keep in the closet. Instead, opt for lighter heater gray, high blue or even more interesting colors like green and brown.
In the spring and summer months, tan, taupe and even cream suits can work well for business casual dress.
Buy More Blazers
If going without a tie doesn’t seem like your style, you’re not alone. There are lots of guys that just feel strange in a suit without that finished look. That doesn’t mean business casual for men is a lost cause for you.
Instead, you’re probably going to be the blazer and slacks kind of guy. That look might remind you of dad hanging around the house on Friday afternoon, but that doesn’t have to be your exact look.
For business casual, try more interesting blazers with solid-colored slacks. For example, a green and blue plaid blazer in wool is perfect with a pair of blue slacks for the winter months. Add a crisp white shirt and you’ve got a look that’s timeless and still very fashionable right now.
In the summer, go for something a little bit brighter. A rose-colored jacket with a pair of taupe or tan slacks – white is better, if you can pull it off – can make you look like a style icon that’s up on the trends, but also aware of what’s never going to go away in the world of men’s fashion.
Guys that prefer even more basic options can easily fill their wardrobe and mix and match solids like gray slacks with a navy blazer.
Ditch the Pleat
Men that have decided to wear slacks on business casual days instead of suit pants should keep one thing in mind. That’s the fact that most offices and business environments are much more casual these days than they used to be.
In terms of the slacks you pick, avoid the pleated variety that look a bit more like the styles of yesteryear. Go with a pair of crisp un-pleated slacks with a tapered fit.
They don’t have to be ultra-slim in the seat or thigh, but avoid the big, billowing pants that will make you look like you haven’t been shopping in 15 years.
A Sweater is Better
A blazer, pair of slacks and a nice crisp dress shirt is basic business casual for men. While there’s nothing wrong with that – and sometimes basic is best – a lot of guys want to up their style game or simply look a little different from the other men in the office.
Wearing a sweater under your blazer on cooler days could give you a slightly more interesting look. While you can wear your dress shirt underneath a lightweight version, that look is best left to professors and research students.
Be bold and get rid of the dress shirt altogether. If you’re wearing a quality V-neck sweater, a nice jacket and a solid pair of slacks works. Nobody in the world will think you’re underdressed because you don’t have a collar around your neck.
Don’t be Afraid of Suede
A lot of men out there attempting to dress business casual forget that shoes can play a big part as well. Why wear shoes dressy enough for formal events when you’re trying to look more casual?
For the most part, men do this because they don’t know what else to wear when it comes to shoes. While you don’t want to look out of place, there are better options than you regular dress shoes.
One of the best options is a pair of suede brogues or Oxfords. You’ll get the same style of shoe – which will make everybody see a more formal shoe – but you can add a unique texture or color.
If you want to be bold, colors like red, blue and green are ideal choices. If not, go with black, brown, rust or cream.
Boots with Suits?
Men that love the simplified suit look often wonder what shoes are best. While you need to be bold to pull this look off, we think a pair of polished, high-quality boots could be the answer you’ve been searching for.
Why? Because boots look nice from a distance, almost like a good pair of dress shoes. When you get closer though, you find something a bit different, a bit more casual and free-spirited, if you will.
Boots aren’t right for every office environment, but if you wear them with confidence, you might find that you’ve inspired a trend the next time business casual for men is called for in your office.