The term business casual floats around like it’s easy to pull off with no rules whatsoever but that’s not entirely true. On the contrary, due to the interesting terminology, it has become a source of confusion for employees.
But before we start pounding them with titles of stupidity, let’s just accept that it’s not entirely their fault. There is no standardized definition of business casual, and so, every company and industry has given it its own meaning that may not be aligned with the conceptualization of others.
Not everyone is aware of the differences between business and business casual. People generally assume that both are the same, but is that really the case? Let’s find out!
What To Expect In This Article?
Define Business Casual for Men?
If we simply go by the definition, business casual does not fall under the traditional office attire. However, it also doesn’t render far from the expectations of usual business boundaries. And that’s confusing because everyone can come up with their own interpretation.
The word “casual” represents outfits consisting of Hawaiian shirts with shorts and sandals. And obviously, you cannot go to the office wearing those outfits; it’s completely inappropriate. This leaves us with the “business” side of the term. If you want to dress well, we suggest you lean more towards this side as it’s more appropriate and right for the occasion.
One thing to remember while dressing up in business casual attire is to keep it nuanced and tailored. For example, you can wear a slim-cut blazer with a simple white dress shirt and fine quality jeans. You can wear cotton chinos and many other ensembles; the idea is to maintain a capsule wardrobe and morph classic items into a variety of outfits.
Shoes are everything when it comes to creating a business casual outfit. It’s better to wear Oxfords and loafers for footwear as they go with literally everything.
Dos and Don’ts of Business Casual Attire
- Get a blazer tailored with quality fabric and material so it lasts for a long haul.
- Never wear blazers over fancy suit jackets as it is too formal.
- Polo shirts and casual t-shirts should not be worn.
- Always opt for cotton, long-sleeved button-down shirts.
- If you’re wearing collared shirts, complete the look with a tight-fitted sweater or cardigan.
- You can wear khakis, chinos, and trousers.
- Jeans are allowed but always ensure they are made of good quality.
- Neutrals and monochromes are always green-flagged.
- Stay away from excessive patterns and loud colors.
- Complete the attire with formal shoes.
- Sandals, slip-on, and sneakers are recommended.
Business Casual for Job Interviews
Many candidates preparing for job interviews get confused regarding their choice of attire. Some aren’t aware of the company standards and are aiming to impress the interviewer with their appearance and outward professionalism.
The rule of thumb is to always dress on the conservative side instead of dressing too casually. You can always check in with HR or connect with a company employee to find out exactly what is acceptable.
After earning employment, make sure that you remain consistent throughout the week; this means dressing up in proper attire every day. Some employees make the mistake of dressing formally Monday through Thursday, but on Friday, they show up wearing ragged shorts and plain t-shirts to embrace the spirit of the weekend.
Don’t do this even on “casual Fridays” because it’s just inappropriate. When you maintain a consistent image, you earn credibility and trust which is essential to your growth in the company.
Men’s Business Casual Wardrobe
We briefly touched upon building a capsule wardrobe for business casual outings. To ensure clarity and deliver precise instructions, we’ve designed a list for you. This list includes all the important elements for a business casual capsule wardrobe.
Jackets and Blazers
You always want to start the planning process with outerwear; leather jackets, denim jackets, trench coats, etc. Thus, invest in a blazer that is made to measure; properly tailored with a straight fit on the shoulders. The blazer should touch a slim cut and have a lapel that ends exactly above the rear end. The sleeves should stop before the cuff of the shirt. There are different types of blazers to choose from; single-breasted and double-breasted. Always opt for neutral colors that have repeat value.
Types of Shoes
As discussed, leather shoes are the most important part of your attire. There are a couple of shoes that go with literally every type of outfit. The two things that must be kept in mind before you make the investment are quality and style. Modern dress shoes and polished loafers are great investments.
In addition, you can go for Oxfords and monk straps made from leather and in darker shades of brown. If you want to experiment, you can go for suede Chelsea boots or chukkas. Some companies allow leather sneakers but they can be costly and appropriate for casual settings only.
The margin distinguishing the business from business casual is the suit pants. When it comes to business casual, you always opt for trousers that exert sophistication and sharpness. Tailor the trousers according to your measurements because you want them to be clean and tight-fitted.
The right trouser will elevate mobility and operational efficiency. Hence, always invest in mid-weight cotton chinos with flat fronts as they’re highly efficient and comfortable. Again, choose neutral aesthetics, that way, you’ll never go wrong. Since the bottoms last longer, make sure you buy premium trousers as they’re made from quality material and fabric.
There is not much to explore with tops. You can rock a simple white button-down shirt with oxford shoes and beige trousers literally every day of the week. However, don’t do that because that was just an example.
Try to keep it minimalistic; with lesser patterns and trendy cuts. Stick to monochrome and basic colors that complement multiple outfits. Business casual shirts should never be too tight or clingy; tailor them precisely as per the measurements. Pick up collared shirts, cotton cardigans, and button-down shirts.
Yes, good-quality jeans are business casual. However, one has to keep in mind that the rest of the look should be fully formal. For instance, you can wear dark blue jeans with a beige blazer and a white-collar shirt.
A basic business casual outfit for men includes chinos, tailored trousers, khakis, and quality denim jeans. It would also include button-up collared shirts, cotton sweaters, blazers, and jackets, with or without ties. For the shoes, men can opt for Oxfords, Suede boots, Loafers, etc.
This is totally up to the attire you’re going to wear. If you’re wearing a tailored blazer with proper trousers, a crisp shirt, and a leather loafer, there’s no need to go for a tie.
Black jeans are worn in business casual attire. However, you must ensure that it’s of good quality and original material.
The only thing you have to ensure is to wear professional and polished attire. As far as creating a business casual look for dinner, go for long-sleeved collared shirts with a darker shade of pants. Tuck in the shirt to tidy the entire look. Add a belt and a matching dinner jacket along with Oxford shoes or Suede boots.
It can be established that business casual attire is different from business attire. It’s better to keep the capsule wardrobe for business casual attires minimalistic and neutral as it adds class and sophistication.