Updated: Aug 25
If you pay even the tiniest attention to what people wear to work these days, you’ll notice that men's professional dress code has evolved.
In fact, men's office attire is currently far more informal than ever. Rather than going for a whole suited-up look, offices are now more open to the business casual look. But this is not a problem. By breaking the strict dress codes at work, being more casual gives you more freedom to show your personality. But it also makes making a lot more mistakes possible. You've probably observed a few men in your area who don't appear to know how to dress appropriately for the workplace.
If you're reading this guide to men’s dress code at work, you already know how crucial it is to look the part. Your professional business style represents how much you value your career, whether it's for an interview, your first day at a new job, or to refresh your wardrobe as your career advances. Your choice of clothing reflects how much respect you have for yourself.
Using this guide to business attire for guys in 2023 will improve your professional appearance. But more significantly, it will teach you how to present yourself professionally and help you get that next promotion.
Don't trust us? Read on to see why.
Looking into men’s office/professional style guide
Let's start by clarifying a misconception: business attire doesn't have to be pricey. You don't have to spend a lot of money on a high-end business suit and tie, but you may if you want to. This article will show you how to look fantastic with just a few well-chosen items, regardless of your office style.
As more and more workplaces employ the business casual dress code, we will go in-depth into this style.
Business casual dress code for work
For men, business casual attire consists of a button-down shirt, dress pants, khakis or chinos, and classy shoes. Business casual is generally more formal than jeans but less formal than a suit. Of course, there are exceptions to any rule.
One rule is that you should always follow the company's culture. Consider the industry's general dress code if the industry is professional. For instance, business casual in Silicon Valley is the same as formal and consists of a black t-shirt, jeans, and a zip hoodie. However, business casual is a little different for bankers. You could wear a polo tucked in and a woven belt with chinos and loafers.
Additionally, you should err on the side of formality as you get older. Having said that, beanbags and hacky-sacks aren't the only elements of millennial business casual. Although the trend is still toward more slender and fitting clothing, men in their late 30s to early 40s are giving up sneakers in favour of a classier style like loafers and denim jackets in favour of cashmere wool jackets.
Examples of business casual attire
This is an example of classic business casual attire for a less formal white-collar setting.
The navy blue dress pants aren’t traditionally paired with a pink dress shirt and a passionate maroon-coloured coat. Still, in a business casual setting, you have the permission to experiment and have more fun with colours!
Generally speaking, a collared shirt and slacks are acceptable attire. The most crucial factor is that you will look tidy and put together as long as your clothes are ironed or steam-pressed. You can still rock the jacket or blazer with a few adjustments, so you don't have to get rid of it completely. For example, you can ditch the tie and wear a scarf instead for a smart casual get-up.
Essential guide to business casual dress code for men
Here are the main recommendations for each sort of apparel that makes up a typical business casual wardrobe:
The centrepiece of any business casual ensemble is the shirt. One of its main advantages is that business casual allows for some flexibility in shirt styles. Once more, the culture of your business will be important. Choose a shirt with a well-fitted collar that hugs your neckline on its own because you probably won't be wearing a tie. Although the slim fit trend is still popular, if it doesn’t flatter your body type, go with a traditional fit. Your shirt should be tucked in, and it should be tucked in correctly, so it will be more visibly exposed.
Khakis and dress pants are perennial favourites for informal office attire, and we don't see that changing anytime soon. You can choose any brand of khakis that is inside your price range. It matters more that they fit properly. Generally speaking, choose a slim fit (not skinny). Many ‘stretch’ khakis are available on the market today composed of technology materials, but for business casual, basic cotton is the way to go. Stick to navy, grey, light blue, or charcoal dress pants with a flat or pleated front.
Chinos are also quickly becoming a preferred option for business casual attire. If your place of employment permits them, they're a convenient and welcoming option. Maintain a sleek fit and traditional hues like navy or khaki.
Although twill pants have a similar appearance to chinos, the five-pocket design is too similar to jeans for them to be successfully worn in a business casual environment. Save them for Saturday because Twill is casual-casual. The dress shirt you choose for slacks should not be overly formal. The easiest way to avoid an overly formal atmosphere is to forgo the jacket and avoid wearing a tie.
Your shoes complete any ensemble, and business casual is no different. And the fact that you can be so creative with your footwear is one of our favourite aspects of this dress code.
It goes without saying that the traditional Oxford and derby dress shoes are excellent options, but you may also mix in brogues and more relaxed dress shoes like loafers and monk straps. In play also are boots – choose Chelsea boots or chukka/desert boots. As or hues? A great option for business casual is always brown. For a bigger statement, you can also use richer hues like burgundy and oxblood in your attire.
An important reminder is that your belt and shoes should be the same shade. Additionally, if you're wearing a watch, it must coordinate with both.
While there is generally a clear and acceptable guideline on what and what not to wear as business casual attire, the rules aren’t set in stone, and you’re still welcome to experiment with your own personal style. For more information on how to dress up for a business casual working environment and how to build your professional business casual wardrobe from the basics, get in touch with us, and we’ll gladly help you out.