Winter is an interesting time for business casual. Most business casual ensembles default to a moderate temperature. Light dress shirts, knits, and slacks work well most of the year, but what about when you need to keep warm? The best way to achieve a comfortably warm and professionally laid-back look is with winter layering.
Winter business casual is all about knowing how to combine your layers. A smart-looking winter ensemble can improve your stature and also come apart easily if the day warms up. The key is to know how to combine your layers and to avoid ill-fitting pieces that throw off your professional look.
The Essential Elements of Men’s Winter Layering for Business Casual
- Dress Shirt or Turtleneck
- Tie or No Tie
- Sweater or Vest
- Blazer or Sport Jacket
- Formal Flannel
- Winter Slacks
- Winter Suits
- Gloves and Scarf
- Winter Dress Shoes &Socks
The way you build your winter wardrobe should depend on the weather and your working conditions. Are you bundling up to tour outdoor properties or preparing to shrug off your overcoat in a well-heated office? Know the level of formality and number of layers you want to incorporate. And in the winter, never skip the undershirt or good socks.
Crisp Dress Shirt and Sweater
The single most popular business casual winter look for men is the dress shirt and sweater combination. A crisp dress shirt – open or closed collar – with or without a tie – looks great underneath a sharp-looking knit or even fleece sweater. Tight weave and rich color are important. Focus on lighter colors for the shirt and dark autumn and winter colors for the sweater.
If you wear a tie, color-coordinate with the sweater. Decide whether to tuck your cuffs back around the sweater sleeves for an added layered style. Wear warmer slacks or suit pants that match or compliment the sweater.
Try Winter Layering With a Turtleneck and Jacket or Vest
Turtlenecks are a great way to look sleek and stay warm at the same time. A light-colored turtle neck with a looser fit will make you seem softer and more friendly, while a dark closely fitted turtle neck can create an air of mystery.
A turtle neck under a sports jacket can make you look like a business casual artist, and turtlenecks pair well with fitted slacks that follow the line of your legs rather than a straight cut.
A turtle neck or well-fitted knit can also look excellent with a vest. A sweater or fleece vest will create a more approachable look while a solid or pattern vest in nylon, corduroy or wool adds a greater layer of formality to your winter look.
Winter Wool Suit
There’s no greater classic than the wool suit. Both two and three-piece wool suits are designed to keep you warm during a cold business season. Three-piece suits including a vest are especially stylish for keeping warm, and the vest can be used for alternate outfits that are slightly less formal but still efficiently insulate your core.
Winter suits are best in grays and blues. Pinstripes are elegant but bold patterns are more often reserved for warmer seasons. Instead, focus your desire for color on tie designs, which are often festive around the holidays.
Overcoat and Scarf
If you need to transition from freezing outdoors to mild indoor temperatures, consider the appeal of an overcoat and scarf. A friendly classic, the overcoat, and scarf allow you to quickly bundle up to duck between buildings or out to lunch but shed to a more all-seasons business casual outfit beneath the coat.
In colder climates, many businessmen combine a winter suit or sport-jacket outfit with an overcoat in addition. This double-jacket approach is quite normal in the Northeast and Europe.
Sweater and Sport Jacket
Another great way to use a warm winter sports jacket is over a business casual sweater or knit. A good sweater can look great in the office as part of your business casual attire. Make it more formal and warmer outdoors with the addition of a stylish sports jacket that flatters the shape of you and the sweater.
Business Casual Accessories
Hats, scarves, socks, and winter shoes are also essential to be both stylish and warm in the winter. Business casual style demands black or brown men’s shoes in a formal style. Pick up some ankle-height boots or padded loafers – depending on your expected terrain – along with a heavier type of sock to keep your feet warm.
As for hats and scarves, here is where the local style should be your guide. Scarves, like ties, can be formal and practical or they can be the one item in your business casual style that is colorful and entertaining.
Find Smart or Business Casual Looks With Winter Layering
You can find everything you need for a stylish winter business casual wardrobe with Family Britches. Contact us today or check out the online shop to explore your winter style.