Tips for Dressing Business Casual
Business casual attire is not nearly as complicated as many people make it out to be, however there are some simple rules that must be followed in order to maintain an air of professionalism while at the workplace. Remember, casual Fridays are your employer's gift to employee morale; not an excuse to turn the workplace into a frat house. Below are 8 styles that are perfect for your business casual days - some more professional than others. Pick the style that best suits your personal style, office culture, as well as profession:
No matter your profession, you simply can’t go wrong with this look. It is dressy and professional, yet far less stuffy than your full suit and tie. If you want to stand out, then pick a slightly brighter red V-neck sweater; otherwise stick to cherry red or burgundy. Since only a small portion of the tie is visible, a nice looking tie knot is key. Our stylist picked out the following deep red plaid tie for this look.
A truly classic and sophisticated look. Thanks to the layering of V-neck sweater and wool sport coat, this look is an excellent pick on colder days. Have some fun when picking out your pocket square, and, should you feel extra fancy add a fun tie.
The Napa Valley
This look was inspired by a recent trip to wine country. Even if you don’t work at a winery, this look will be a great pick for the Autumn days. The wool tweed blazer and brown hued gingham shirt are a fantastic choice for the Fall season.
The New England
Preppy and sophisticated is what inspired our “New England” business casual look. The brown houndstooth blazer is a must have piece for any well dressed man. To highlight this classic piece we paired with with a simple solid light blue shirt and dark navy wool tie. The brown suede leather shoes and belt were picked to compliment the blazer, and the light colored khakis make this look perfect even on warmer summer days.
Make in impression with this dapper New York City inspired look consisting of a light blue dress shirt, navy cashmere V-neck vest, plaid skinny tie, and fitted gray dress pants. Roll up your sleeves and add your favorite dressy wrist watch!
The Silicon Valley
This look was inspired by the San Francisco tech scene! While hoodies and T-shirts are all too common in San Francisco's startup scene, we suggest you pay some attention to the way you dress. While a sport coat and tie might be a bit too much for your uber casual office culture, this look strikes a perfect balance of casual and dapper.
The South Beach
This looks is perfect for those who live in warmer climates. As an even more casual alternative, you may also want to swap the shoes for some suede loafers worn sans socks and the pants rolled up a few inches.
The North West
Portland and Seattle are the cities that came to mind when we created the “North Western”. The navy cotton knit tie gets paired with a denim button up and dark navy cotton chinos. On colder days layer with a wool cardigan in either gray or dark blue.
More Tips for Business Casual Dress
It is not the weekend yet
Far too many people believe that casual Fridays are an excuse to dress as they would on a weekend. They think that because the word casual is used T-shirts and flip-flops are an acceptable wardrobe choice. This could not be farther from the truth.
Ostensibly casual attire simply means that suits and ties do not need to be worn. It's that simple. So long as you are not wearing a suit you are not over dressing for casual Friday; now on to the more tricky bit, how to ensure that you do not under dress.
If it has a collar you’re golden
When it comes to wearing shirts that must meet the criteria of casual attire for the workplace it is always a good idea to ensure that the shirt you are wearing has a collar. It doesn't matter if you're wearing a polo shirt or a dress shirt, so long as it has a collar.
If you choose to wear a dress shirt your next decision will be whether or not you wish to wear a tie. Either is acceptable, and on casual attire days you can experiment with your tie selection especially if you have quirky or humorous ties that you've always wanted to wear to the workplace. Just remember, keep it tasteful and avoid any tacky novelty or big-picture ties.
If you choose to go without a tie then feel free to unbutton the top one or two buttons of your shirt. Obviously you don't want to show too much skin, however unbuttoning your top button projects a more relaxed look that is appropriate for casual attire days.
The golden rule here is to keep it appropriate for the workplace. That means never wearing a T-shirt or Hawaiian shirt to work. When in doubt just wear a polo shirt and call it a day.
Respect the Latitude you are given
These are all of course very general rules that may vary between workplaces. Obviously, if your workplace has a specific dress code for casual attire days you would do well to follow this dress code and not take any liberties with it. Remember, what your employer gives your employer can very quickly take away; and your choice of wardrobe may not be the best issue for you to take a defiant stance on. Always keep in mind, whether it is on a casual Friday or a regular Monday, always: Dress to impress because the clothes make the man.