You have a lot of freedom of choice as you put together your business casual wardrobe.
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Rising in popularity as professional settings become less rigid, business casual is among the most relaxed dress codes you’ll ever come across. Requiring just a touch more refinement than ripped jeans and a t-shirt, you have a lot of freedom of choice as you put together your business casual wardrobe.
With freedom, however, comes ambiguity. In this guide, we’ll cover exactly what is acceptable and what isn’t when it comes to business casual, so you never look out of place.
Although not a difficult dress code to meet, business casual is a nuanced dress code that requires careful consideration to avoid showing up underdressed or overdressed.
But what precisely does business casual for men entail? Put simply, a business casual dress code calls for a long-sleeve collared shirt, chinos, khakis, or dark-colored jeans, and a pair of leather shoes.
In more relaxed workplaces, business casual is the go-to everyday workwear or job interview attire. You’ll also find business casual outside of professional settings – nice lunch spots, golf clubs, and some daytime academic or sport events, like Model UN competitions and professional tennis matches, for example.
Smart casual is the least formal dress code, while business casual is just a touch more formal. It’s another popular choice for business attire, as well as any event that requires a bit more sophistication, like brunches, or daytime events like engagement parties or wedding luncheons.
In both smart and business casual settings, you can skip the jacket. But wearing smart casual, you can untuck your shirt and even wear a pair of sneakers, too.
When dressing business casual, you have plenty of options. You have a lot of opportunity to inject more personality into what you wear, but on the flip side, there’s more room to mess up.
Here’s exactly what is acceptable in business casual settings:
You don’t need a jacket for business casual events, though you’re more than welcome to wear one. The following are acceptable jacket styles for a business casual look:
While a dress shirt may not always feel like the most casual option when it comes to a business casual dress code, the absence of a tie makes a shirt relatively informal.
Sweaters and cardigans bring a stylish, yet subtle charm to a business casual look. Go for premium materials like cashmere or merino wool, and aim for a slightly less-than figure-hugging fit for the most flattering look.
Business casual wear should still look fitted and polished. Plus, well-tailored clothes can improve your overall look, fit, and confidence, allowing you to look and feel your very best in just about any setting.
It’s important to pair an undershirt with all types of menswear, not just in the office or at special occasions. A fitted, quality undershirt can help streamline the look of your body, regulate your temperature, and prevent sweat stains and odor.
An important note – avoid baggy undershirts, as they’ll do little for your shape and can actually make you look heavier than you are. Plus, they won’t do much to protect your clothes from odor and sweat stains.
The relative informality of business casual gives men a lot more freedom for self-expression, as long as they play within the rules.
Consider adding pocket squares, lapel pins, or cufflinks to an outfit to put your own stamp on your look. Just remember that less is almost always more, so be careful not to overdo it.
Dark denim jeans are acceptable as part of a business casual look. However, it’s important to stay away from lighter denim as this can completely throw off the look, making you look sloppy at best and incompetent at worst.
T-shirts aren’t considered business casual and should be avoided. Instead, consider Oxford shirts, dress shirts, or polo shirts to round out your look.
While some people think sneakers can be business casual, in our opinion, sneakers are just a bit too informal and should not be considered a part of business casual attire.
It isn’t always easy to interpret a dress code, but luckily, business casual is one of the most straightforward to maneuver. By sticking to the rules, as well as giving yourself a little room to incorporate your own personal style, you can create an outfit that makes you look sophisticated without overdoing it.
Don’t forget, whatever you decide to wear, be sure to invest in a high-quality undershirt to enhance your shape, protect your clothes, and increase your confidence. Check out our range of premium undershirts in crew neck and V-neck designs to find the best fit for you.
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