Most events require a certain dress code and if you frequently attend those events, you need to know exactly how to dress. With that, let’s learn all about business casual for men.
Where Did It Come From?
Before we discuss which particular pieces of clothing and combination are suitable for a business casual for men outfit, it’s good to have some insight into its history and where it came from.
There was a time when business casual for men and women did not exist. People simply chose from day wear and evening wear when specifying a dress code for a specific event. Usually, evening wear is more formal. The women wore gowns or more formal dresses, usually, longer skirts and the men wore suits or tailcoats and ties. As for day wear, men wore stroller coats or a morning coat for business.
A more casual attire that men wore is usually a tweed suit which they often put on when they plan to take a walk in the park. As fashion evolved over time, the black-tie dress code emerged. On a black-tie event, men wore an even more formal outfit, usually comprised of a tuxedo and of course, a ribbon or tie.
By the 90s, there was the casual wear and the business attire. These two are what would later be combined for what would be known as the business casual for men. Casual wear is what people wore on the weekends and business attire is what you wore to the office or workplace.
Soon, companies noticed that their employees were wearing clothes that were too casual for the workplace. Some women wore jeans and the men are wearing jogger pants. To compromise on comfort and getting a more formal look, the ideal work outfit for most regular days transformed into a combination of casual and business attire, now known as the business casual.
What is Business Casual for Men?
So, how do you achieve a business casual for men attire? This guide is a general guideline but sometimes, you have to abide by your company’s more specific rules and the company culture. Your age is also a factor and as you grow older, your business casual could become more formal than casual.
Let us go from top to bottom, outer shirt to inner shirt.
Blazer or Coat
First, the outer. This is what you would put on top of your upper body as some sort of jacket. It’s also functional especially if your office is cold or on cold and chilly days outside. Obviously, you can remove this once you are at your desk and wear it again when it’s time to interact with your boss and colleagues.
The blazer is an essential part of a business casual for men wardrobe. It’s best to choose dark colors that are more neutral like navy. Navy blue is a classic and it goes well with different color combinations. If you choose to go with a sports coat, just make sure that the pattern is subtle and not too colorful.
Inside your coat or blazer, you can wear a dress shirt. For those in more formal or white-collar jobs like lawyers or bankers, it’s usually more appropriate to wear long sleeved dress shirts for business casual for men inner outfit. Cotton is the best material as it lets you breathe while looking sharp. Choose light blue and pastel colors.
Those who have more informal jobs or positions can actually lose the jacket or coat and simply put on the dress shirt.
Now you have your inner and outer shirt, you can add a little accessory for your neck. This is definitely optional and at certain times, it’s better not to wear any. If you want to look extra sharp, you can wear a tie, either a grenadine tie or a knit tie.
There are quite a few options for trousers and you can definitely mix and match depending on the occasion or your work requirement. Usually, companies are not so strict on trousers for their business casual for men dress code.
Dress pants are the first choice and it’s usually appropriate to choose solid dark colors like navy, grey, or charcoal. You can never go wrong with dress pants whenever the dress code is business casual for men. Make sure to tuck your shirt in.
You can also wear chinos and khakis or corduroy pants which are great during the colder seasons.
Instead of a coat or blazer, you can wear a sweater vest or a cardigan as your cover-up. Turtlenecks also work great. This is most appropriate on a casual Friday at the office where employees can wear a more dress-down type of outfit.
For the shoes, you can get more creative. There are casual dress shoes and boots that look really good and feel comfortable. You can also wear loafers or balmoral boots. Choose colors that are neutral like brown and it’s easy to pair with any color outfit you choose.
Finally, you can add some accessories so that you don’t look so plain or too serious in your business casual for men outfit. This is also a great way to stand out among a whole room of guys wearing the same type of clothes.
You can choose a pocket square for your blazer to look dapper. A boutonniere or collar pin may also add zest depending on your work environment.
A casual wrist watch is a very nice touch and quite functional, too. If you want a more formal look, you can wear your dress watch as well.
Cufflinks could also enhance your look. They work a lot like tie bars.
As a final tip, when choosing clothes for a business casual for men dress code, it’s always safer to go with more traditional suits and be more formal when you’re not sure who will be there and if you know it will be an important meeting.