All across the nation, the average workplace is becoming more casual. But that doesn’t always mean you can wear jeans and a t-shirt to your place of employment. Even if your office has embraced casual business wear, you still need to put effort into how you look.
If you’re wondering how to make your men’s business attire a bit more casual without looking sloppy, be sure to follow these dos and don’ts.
Do…Make sure your clothing fits properly
Whether your closet is full of premium men’s suits or you’re more of a button-down and casual men’s pants kind of guy, your clothing still needs to fit you as it should.
In 2016, a study found that American men over the age of 18 spent $85 per month on menswear, but even an expensive jacket can look cheap if you don’t tailor it to your proportions. Overly baggy shirts or too-short pants can completely ruin any positive impression you’re trying to make.
If you’re embracing casual business wear, you still need the fit to be impeccable.
Do…Dress down your formal business attire
Rather than thinking of “business casual” as putting a jacket over your jeans and t-shirt, you need to find ways to make your professional clothes a bit less stuffy.
That means starting with a formal suit and dressing down from there. You can easily swap out dress pants for nicely tailored chinos or corduroy trousers. Usually, a collared button-down shirt is still considered to be casual business wear, but you can swap it out for a nice polo shirt in summer. A tweed jacket can be a welcome break from a more formal suit jacket.
But be careful not to abandon those more formal staples completely; you can easily mix and match them with other items to get longevity out of your wardrobe.
Don’t…Forget about footwear
Some men see “casual” and automatically think that sneakers are fine. But unless your office doesn’t care about how employees look, you’re probably better off with other options.
Loafers and oxfords, for example, are versatile and look just as good with a suit as they do with jeans and a polo shirt. That makes them a great investment. It’s best to have both black and brown options to cover your bases.
This finishing touch can make an outfit look complete (or can completely derail your look, if you choose poorly).
Don’t…Be afraid to mix it up
While you should generally stay away from ensembles that look too casual, that doesn’t mean you have to restrict your style. A high-quality knit can be a great alternative or even a supplement to a button-down and jacket.
And although you shouldn’t look outlandish, you can also be a little freer with color and pattern options with a business casual look. Many top men clothing brands now cater to customers who want options that are slightly less formal, so it’s more common to see some deviation from the more boring basics.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that “casual business wear” doesn’t mean you can wear whatever you want, in most cases. And ultimately, it’s better to be a bit overdressed than to look messy.
By utilizing more formal wardrobe basics and mixing them with slightly more casual elements — and working with an experienced tailor to ensure everything fits properly — you’ll look professional in any situation.