Rules of the Office: Business Casual for Men

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Whether you work in Midtown Manhattan or middle-of-nowhere Iowa, you should look good at the office.  But looking good doesn’t only consist of suit and tie combos.  We’re here to teach men how to do business casual right: looking good while being comfortable.

The Office Suit

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First things first, when you do wear a suit, it doesn’t need to be a power suit.

Unless you’re the CEO or on the Board of Directors, the huge knots, wide stripes and extra wide ties and lapels are a no-no.  Keep it slim and a little more casual.  Go with brown kicks instead of black (and on that note, please, no black suits in the office), and mix and match your patterns.

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Follow this guys lead: different sized checks with a knit tie add great texture to your business casual look

Gingham shirts, knit and wool ties, cotton pocket squares: these are all great ways to take a suit and step it up a notch.  Don’t get so bogged down in everything matching, make your suit more fun and less formal.

The most important thing, make sure your suit fits.  That doesn’t mean grabbing a 40R off the rack and assuming everything about that suit will fit you to a ‘T’, it means getting it tailored so you truly look like an adult.  Dress well, in a well fitted suit and watch the difference it makes in how you are treated.

Everyone laughs at the guy in the sloppy get up, everyone listens to the guy who is impeccably dressed.

Go Full Business Casual

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Somewhere along the line things got blurred and it seems men decided to go full suit, or look like schlubs.  Thankfully those times are changing and men are once again embracing the act of looking good no matter what they put on for the office.  This may take a little extra time than your khakis and polo combo you’ve rocked every casual Friday for the last how many years, but you’ll look ten times better.

Lose the Polo

Switch out the shirt for something a little slimmer, this elevates the look right from the start.  Baggy clothes make you look sloppy and sloppiness at the office says you don’t care.  Try something with a nice semi spread collar that has a little character to it.  Try something like these shirts from Hugh & Crye.

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Say Goodbye to Your Khakis

Next, which out your khakis for a great pair of chinos.  Go wild with your color choices as long as they make sense for the season, salmon pants work in the summer, you look rather strange in the winter.  And again, like you should always be doing these days, keep them slim cut for god’s sake.  If your pants have rips at the bottom from dragging on the ground (yes, I have sadly seen this even in office settings) they are far too big for you.  Wearing clothing that baggy actually makes you look heavier.  Wear slim, look slim, feel slim, impress the girl in the cubicle over with your new found confidence.

Switch Out the Jacket For a Cardigan

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Leave the jacket at home and opt for a slim fit cardigan instead.  Cardigans are like the suit coats of business casual, throw it on in the morning and lose it after lunch if you’re too warm.  Or, keep it and use it to cover up the stain from your lunch, either way it’s nice to have with you.

If you go for the cardigan look, pair it with a slim tie and be prepared to love your outfit.  This is much more business casual than it is Men’s Warehouse, but you’ll like the way you look, we guarantee it.

Of course if you aren’t a cardigan guy…

Lose the Tie, Keep the Jacket

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Personally, I stand by wearing a jacket to work, even if it is a Friday.  Losing a tie and not completing the suit can do wonders for making you feel casual, while still reminding you that you’re at work.  Stick with the same shirts and chinos we recommend earlier, but throw on a style forward jacket to pull it all together.  Keep the pocket square or lose it, we’ll leave that detail up to you.

Our Final Tips on Business Casual

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At the end of the day the most important thing to remember is that fit is everything.  Everything from jeans to sweaters can look office ready if they aren’t hanging off you like you’re a child.  So whether you decide to keep the tie or lose it, just make sure your shoes are polished, your pants fit you like a man, and you suck up just the right amount, and the office life will be a breeze.

Enjoy being the best dressed man (and the ladies of the office new favorite) this Friday.  Trust us, ya look good.

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