Top Styles for Business Casual Men Today

Top Styles for Business Casual Men Today

Business casual is a very common dress code for offices around the country — but it wasn’t always that way. It first started gaining popularity around the 1990’s with the introduction of casual fridays and some well-placed marketing campaigns from brands like Dockers. But even in that short time frame, the meaning of the phrase has begun to evolve.

In general, business casual is a dress code that’s meant to be a mix between traditional business attire and casual weekend wear. However, your exact outfit decisions should be tailored to your specific workplace and the demands of your position. Some more traditional offices may still require that men wear suit jackets and ties on a regular basis, but others are open to slightly more casual looks like khakis and cotton shirts.

Business Casual Men Trends

Though different offices may have more specific policies or tendencies, there are some general do’s and don’ts that can help you make sense of the ever-present business casual guideline in offices around the country. Here are some guidelines for business casual menswear.

Business Casual Shirts for Men

In most office environments, long-sleeved button-down shirts are the norm. Choose ones made out of cotton or another casual type of fabric. Classic oxford shirts in white, light blue or other pastels are perfect. However, you could also opt for nice dress shirts in solid colors or classic patterns like stripes. You can also pair them with a sweater, vest, fitted cardigan or casual jacket. When it comes to blazers and sport coats, opt for single breasted options in neutrals or subtle patterns.

Overall, you should stay away from anything too casual, like t-shirts or henleys. In fact, short-sleeved shirts in general tend to be a bit too casual for business casual environments, though polo shirts may be okay in offices that veer more toward the casual side of business casual. In addition, you don’t need to get too formal with fancy suit jackets or high end materials like silk.

Business Casual Pants for Men

When it comes to pants, a good rule of thumb is to stick with slacks or trousers in neutral colors like gray, navy, brown or khaki. You can also opt for chinos or corduroys if you pair them with a nice sport coat or shirt and tie combo that elevates the outfit a bit. You may even be able to get away with high quality dark-wash denim if your office tends to be a bit more casual. Flat front and pleated styles are both fine; it just depends on your personal style and preference.

However, stay away from shorts, loose denim, bright colors or ill-fitting pants. Black also tends to be a bit too formal for business casual environments. So save those for your next weekend event and stick with gray, blue, and brown during the week.

Business Casual Shoes for Men

There are a wide range of dress shoe styles that can be appropriate in business casual offices, from classic oxfords to monk straps or loafers. In the winter, you can also wear chukka or chelsea boots, or another dressy style that offers more coverage. When it comes to color, brown and tan are classic options that go with most business casual outfits. But you could also opt for something a bit more interesting like burgundy or oxblood.

Stay away from sneakers unless your office is very casual. And even then, stick to high quality leather ones in a dark color. Generally, anything aside from leather or suede should stay in your closet throughout the week. And of course, no sandals or slip-ons.

Business Casual Accessories for Men

Ties are fairly popular in business casual offices, though not usually required. Pair a nice tie with a casual oxford shirt and chinos to elevate the look a bit or stick with a knit tie so it’s not too formal. Simple wristwatches, tie bars and classic leather briefcases can also work, but are not essential.

In general, you want to keep the accessories pretty simple. So steer clear of anything that’s especially formal like pocket squares or collar pins, unless your office is pretty traditional or you’re attending a special event. And don’t go too casual with your look either; don’t swap the leather briefcase for a backpack unless you’re traveling and stay away from those silly ties.

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