Ever have one of those days where you’re getting ready for work and getting dressed feels like déjà vu? If so, it might be an indication that it’s time to refresh your work wardrobe. Men’s business casual attire can run the gamut from poplin button-downs to dark-wash denim, chino shorts and crisp T-shirts. Not sure what pieces you may wish to add to your rotation to create a modern and professional wardrobe? We’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about men’s business attire. We’re taking on your style workload to make your workday a breeze. All you need to focus on are those clever career moves to crush your work goals.
What is Men’s Business Casual Wear?
Most guys’ favorite dress code, men’s business casual, is that sweet spot between everyday casual clothes and dressy work attire. It’s one of the most informal types of men’s business attire other than workleisure wear. Think chinos and button-down shirts with flexible stretch, linen blazers and even a pair of shorts in the summertime. If you are unsure of how to piece together men’s business casual outfits for your workplace dress code, look no further. Here’s what to keep on hand: Start with chino pants and shorts, crisp button-downs and long-sleeve shirts. Add structured T-shirts, a pair of dark-wash denim and casual blazers. These staples mix and match effortlessly to create a multitude of business casual looks that you can for again and again.
A workplace with a business casual dress code presents the perfect opportunity to explore new colors and prints. Business formal is reserved for neutral colors like grey, black, navy and white. Go wild (within reason) and add a dash of color to your workwear to start your day bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. In warmer weather, look toward light and bright hues like coral, cobalt and mint green. This vibrant trio will help you keep cool during the dog days of summer. When Mother Nature turns down the temperature, seek out autumnal tones, including burgundy, rust and olive. For the finishing touch, spark joy in conversational prints, geometric lines or plaid checks. Pair them with neutral bottoms, and you’ll be dressed to impress for your workday.
The Three Classic Cornerstones of Men’s Business Casual Outfits
Hey guys, here are pieces to build your men’s business casual wardrobe. Check out your closet and make sure you have everything you need. Up top, button-up shirts are classics that take you from work to the weekend. Next, pairing your shirts with distinguished chino pants is a no-brainer. For offices with more relaxed dress codes, jeans are another pant option to store in your wardrobe. Lastly, if you have a big meeting on the calendar, having a blazer or two on hand will instantly elevate your men’s business casual ensemble. What’s the best part about these career staples? They are incredibly easy to mix and match. Let’s take a deeper dive into these must-have pieces and what to look for.
1. Men’s Business Casual Shirts
Picking the right men’s business casual shirt can set the tone for your day. If you can’t get your head in the game, choose a shirt to lift your mood. Green, blue, red, yellow and purple are known to instantly give you a dose of happy energy. You can’t go wrong with a printed button-down in Pantone’s color of the year, Very Peri. It’s the ideal blend of purple and blue. Choose this hue in a classic plaid or a subtle mini-polka dot paired with grey bottoms. Is your schedule packed with meetings that require your serious game face? Go with tried-and-true neutral dress shirts. A timeless white button-down paired with dress slacks and chukka boots is a timeless outfit option. In your downtime, roll up your sleeves to add a more relaxed feel to your look.
If you are in the market for new men’s business casual shirts, comfort should always be top of mind. Seek out shirts with a touch of stretch that will move with you throughout your day. On the color front, black, white, navy, grey and white pair easily with everything. These colors are the best options for minimalists who like to get the most out of a limited wardrobe. However, if you thrive on color, be sure to pick tops in your favorite hues. Long-sleeve and short-sleeve button-down options keep your men’s business casual attire feeling fresh and new year-round. If your office is an uber-casual environment, T-shirts are another must-have. Thick, structured tees lend a refined feel to your business casual wear. Additionally, leave the oversized T-shirts at home and choose something with a more streamlined fit.
2. Men’s Business Casual Pants
Now that we have you covered in the shirts department, let’s tackle men’s business casual pants. Chinos with stretch are the happy place between dress pants and jeans. If you prefer a classic pleated pair, it’s a green light. However, you can also seek out a five-pocket style that is similar to your go-to pair of worn-in jeans. If there’s anything we’ve learned on the fashion front, it’s that comfort and care are incredibly important. We’ve already established that stretch is a must-have feature for your workday, but also consider pants that are easy to care for. Wrinkle-resistant pants or bottoms with simple wash and wear instructions will be your best friends. Trust us, we’ve all been rushed to leave the house and need something to just grab and go.
Like most clothes, fit is important for putting your best foot forward. For office attire, pick a pant silhouette that gives you room, but isn’t overly baggy or oversized. Want to give a new style a try? If you normally wear relaxed fit pants, choose a straight fit. If straight fits are your go-to, select a slim style. The best part? Some brands offer a hybrid fit, so seek out a relaxed-straight or slim-straight to give a new fit a go.
3. Men’s Business Casual Jackets and Sweaters
Layering pieces are fundamental foundations for men’s business casual attire. You never know when the A/C is on full blast or if the weather is going to be unpredictable. On the work front, men’s business casual jackets, blazers, sport coats and suit coats are signature staples. Unsure of the difference between these three jackets? The suit coat is a bit too formal for business casual wear. The blazer or sport coat offers a versatile, relaxed aesthetic. Choose a blazer in a knit fabric that is comfortable to wear with a casual vibe. Sport coats tend to have a more relaxed fit and are ideal for layering in cold weather. Another outerwear option prime for the workplace? Give a textured bomber-style jacket a try. Toss one over a short-sleeve button-down shirt and add a pair of dark-wash denim if the dress code allows it.
For moderate temperatures, a sweater is a prime lightweight men’s business casual pick. A v-neck or crew neck option in a cashmere or wool blend keeps you covered when cold. These also add a textural element to your look. Seeking out something a bit more casual? Choose a henley style, chunky sweater with a hood. This style adds a refined, work-friendly spin on your favorite hooded sweatshirt. Avoid looking lumpy when layering your sweater by topping it over a fitted shirt tucked into your pants or jeans. Keep a fabric shaver on hand to keep the piling at bay, and you’ll always look sharp.
Level Up Your Professional Wear with Finely Detailed Furnishings
Now that you know the men’s business casual basics to add to your closet, let’s raise the bar with furnishings. Belts, shoes and ties are all pieces to inject a little bit of debonair to even the most casual professional wear. Having a few furnishings on standby is another way to add variety and versatility to your day-to-day ensemble. Not sure what trappings to incorporate into your work wardrobe? Here are the staples to make you look perfectly pieced together.
Men’s Business Casual Shoes
Supportive men’s business casual shoes are a crucial part of your workwear. After all, your feet carry you through your day, literally. Comfortable and on-trend styles are what you want to look for in a new pair of kicks. Stylistically, sport sole chukkas or oxfords are fantastic combinations of casual and classy for the office. Go from desk to date by wearing these shoes with chinos and a button-down or a crisp tee and black jeans. Stow leather cleaner away at home so your shoes always look fresh.
Bring Your Look Together with Belts
Looking for something functional and fashionable for a put-together men’s business casual outfit? Look no further than adding a belt to your work casual uniform. Not only do they help keep your pants and shorts on, they also add a sleek detail. Pick a belt with intricate stitching or interesting details. For a well put-together look, your belt should coordinate with your shoes. They don’t need to match, just complement one another. This means that if you are donning grey shoes with a brown sole, you can choose either a brown or grey belt. Want to get the most out of your belt? Pick one that is reversible for the versatility of two different looks.
Men’s business casual outfits don’t always include neckties. However, it may be a smart move to have one tucked away for important meetings. If you like to add print through your neckwear, you absolutely can do it casually. Pick a tie in an on-trend color or print and pair it with a solid long-sleeve button-down. Pair your tie and shirt with slacks, and add derby shoes. Roll up your sleeves to capture a casual feel, and you are ready to slay your day. If it’s your first foray into tie-wearing, mastering the art of tying your tie is paramount. But once you’ve nailed it, it’s like riding a bike—you never forget. You might even expand your tie-tying repertoire by attempting fancy knots. Now that’s how you tie your business casual look together effortlessly.
Summer Business Casual Attire For Men
When temperatures are at an all-time high, it can only mean one thing: It’s summertime. So, what does this mean for summer men’s business casual attire? As you await the seasonal dress code from HR, you’ll want to stay cool and casual while remaining professional. Summer workwear that gets an automatic green light includes seersucker and cropped pants, linen fabrics and short-sleeve button-downs. As for shoes, bring summer into the office in a pair of leather boat shoes. Not into these slip-on styles? Oxford shoes with no-show socks are an awesome alternative.
Curious if you can wear shorts to work during the summer? Proceed with caution. If it’s allowed in your workplace, shorts cross into the “too casual” category very easily. Save denim and cargo options for the weekend, and opt for a well-fitting pair of chino shorts instead. A collared shirt is the best option to keep shorts elevated and office-ready. Choose a lightweight, long-sleeve button-down with the sleeves rolled up and driving loafers. Too hot for long sleeves? Instead, go for a polo shirt in moisture-wicking materials to keep you cool and dry. No need to sweat about men’s business casual attire in the summertime. These options have you made in the shade.
Expert Stylist Tip: Linen wrinkles easily. Need to freshen up your linen wear? As you get ready, turn up the hot water in your shower and close the bathroom door. Hang your linen pants, shirt or blazer in the bathroom and let the steam do the work. It takes some time (about 20 minutes), but it definitely works.
What to Wear on Casual Fridays
Our favorite day of the workweek? The one before the weekend starts, of course. Not sure what to wear on casual Fridays? Well, take things a notch down from men’s business casual wear. Jeans, chino shorts, tees and sneakers are all perfectly acceptable for casual Friday attire. Just make sure your clothes are well kept with no distressing, holes or stains, and the sky’s the limit. Here are some of our casual Friday favorites, whether your casual day falls on a Friday or not. Embrace these comfortable and casual pieces as you dress for the last day of the workweek.
Men’s Business Casual Jeans
Is there anything more versatile than a pair of jeans? We don’t think so. You can wear them casually with a tee on the weekend. Or, pop on a polo for an easy men’s business casual outfit. Look like your best, professional self in your trusty blues by leaving overly distressed denim at home. Dark or rinse washes are always your best bet for work as they are the most polished of denim options.
Don’t count out colored denim. Black jeans or denim dyed in earthy tones are awesome alternatives to blue. Not sure how you’ll wear black jeans to work? Style them like you would your favorite pair of blue jeans. Wear them with a short-sleeve, printed button-down, and add Chelsea boots. If you haven’t worn men’s business casual jeans to work, give them a try, especially on Fridays. Soon, they’ll become a work wardrobe staple, and you’ll want to wear them throughout your week.
Textured Tees and Printed Shirts
While solid button-down shirts are work essentials, men’s business casual attire also calls for casual shirts. Since T-shirts are the ultimate in casual wear, it’s a fine line. We know you want to be comfortable while looking executive. So, how exactly do you wear T-shirts in a work setting? It’s all about the quality and fit of your tee. Seek out T-shirts that have a bit of weight behind them. Additionally, refrain from oversized tees. Solid structured tees are your work wardrobe buddy. You can also change things up by picking a henley to add detailing to your outfit. On casual Fridays, don denim with your T-shirt. For the other days of the week, wear a v-neck tee with a pair of slim-fit chino pants. Instantly upgrade your ensemble by layering a knit blazer over and add oxfords for an incredibly on-trend business casual look.
If you are a guy who loves a good print, don’t shy away from wearing one in your men’s business casual outfit. Tired of classic plaids and railroad stripes? Break out of a style slumber and pick micro florals or big tropical blooms, nature-inspired patterns or bold watercolor abstracts. Let your printed button-down shirt be the star of your business casual look, and pair it with jeans or pants. Add crisp white sneakers, and you are ready to rock your 9-to-5.
Men’s Business Casual-Approved Sneakers
Sneakers are another casual Friday favorite, especially if you’ve been walking around in men’s business casual shoes all week long. For business casual dress codes that permit sneakers, opt for a classic white leather pair. Keep the trainers in your gym bag, and choose a pair that’s made for casual wear. The key to wearing sneakers in the workplace is that they look clean and crisp. Another pair of sneakers to keep on hand? The simple slip-on. While these casual kicks come in an array of colors and prints, keep your work pair straightforward. A leather or suede pair presents professional over canvas options. Lace up or slip into your sensational sneakers, and you’ll be ready to meet your workday head (or should we say foot) first.
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