Business Casual for Men

 

There are many dressing options if you're a guy who has a business casual dress code at your workplace. If you are completely unaware of what 'business casual dress for men' is, or whether there are a fair amount of options, considering you have to get up and get dresses for work 5 days a week.

Relax. Breathe easy. Men's clothing has come a long way when it comes to business casual attire for men. Here a few of them:

  • Shirts: When selecting your shirts, accessories, and other clothing items, remember that business casual is an intermediate level between business formal and plain casual.  Business casual shirts should always have a collar.

Options for short sleeved (i.e. button down or polo shirts are common) or long sleeved shirts (i.e. button down or pull overs) will depend on your individual company dress code. Avoid extravagant colors, because you don't want to go to work looking like a human neon sign. Although, that does not mean going to an extreme and having only five white shirts and four blue shirts in your wardrobe.

Experiment with colors and patterns, but refrain from loud colors or outlandish designs and patterns. Pastels are always good choices, but so are dark blues, maroons and browns. The quintessential black shirt makes a solid statement everywhere you go. Thin, light stripes or checks are good options to have different shirt patterns in your closet.

Sweaters are also acceptable in most business casual environments.  An appropriate sweater can be a pull over or button down; round or V neck; long sleeve or short sleeve; or a vest.  The variety here is practically endless, but remember the color and pattern guidelines for shirts also applies to the sweaters you choose. 

Depending on the type of short sleeve sweater you choose to wear, a shirt underneath is often a good option to present a polished look.  A nice set of sweaters could really help to expand your business casual wardrobe during the winter months.

  • Pants: Flat front cotton pants in shades of beige, brown, gray, olive, etc are all good options for pants to wear in a business casual workplace. A couple of good black pants are a must have.

Pleated formal pants are not mandatory, but they provide a clean, crisp look. The combination of pleated pants, flat front khakis, chinos and cotton pants will add a good amount of variety to your wardrobe and will give you a nice variety of clothing choices.

As part of your organization's dress code, you may have the option to wear jeans and cargo pants every day or on certain days of the week or month. 

It's important to remember that you are still going into a professional environment, so anything you wear should be clean, wrinkle free, not frayed, and have no holes in it. 

  • Jacket: In most business casual settings, a jacket is not mandatory.  Although, a jacket with a crisp white shirt and a pair of conservative gray or black pants are the epitome of professionalism. A tasteful, colored shirt can also be appropriate, since many say that  pink is the new white.  In addition to formal jackets, you can also choose a tweed or a casual corduroy jacket. A good looking jacket is another option for the winter. 
  • Shoes and Accessories: Formal black or brown leather shoes are always a good option. Since we're talking business casual, you can afford to take it down a notch. Suede is an alternative to leather that works very well with a variety of business casual outfits. Your shoe color should always match the color of your belt, i.e. black shoes = black belt.  If you're wearing a jacket, make sure your shoe color compliments it.

Always avoid sneakers, gym shoes, sandals and slip ons. Always, always wear a belt. If you are going to be attending an important meeting or are going on a client visit, wear a tie and a jacket if possible. It's an important part of maintaining workplace professionalism.  

 

These were some suggestions for how men should prepare for a business casual dress code. Although the basic principle remains the same, learn what your company's dress code is and choose your work attire accordingly.