Business casual is a term that can seem simple enough, after all, how tough can casual attire be for the workplace?
As it turns out, very.
Business casual is one of the most challenging things for a lot of men to get a hold of when it comes to choosing their professional clothes. They struggle to understand what it means, and it’s a term that seems to have a different definition depending on who you ask.
While working in an office with a business casual dress code might become second nature after a while, what do you do if you have an interview or you’re just starting a new job, and you’re not quite sure what to wear after just being told the dress code is business casual?
The following are some simple tips to be a master of business casual in any professional environment.
Fit, First and Foremost
No matter what, your first focus when you’re a man looking for any kind of business attire should be fit. Having items that fit well can completely change the look of an outfit, and make even more casual clothes look more professional.
Regardless of your body size or type, you want work clothes that fit well and aren’t sagging or seem to pool around your ankles.
Men who are larger tend to feel like they should go with looser fits, and that’s not the case. You’re only adding volume to your body, and you’re also more likely to look sloppy in the workplace.
Along with the overall fit, when you want to master business casual, think about the length of your pants and your sleeves. Your pants, for example, should fall just to the top of your shoe, but they shouldn’t bunch with extra fabric.
Your sleeves should go beyond your wrist bone when you’re standing, but just barely.
Seams should fall appropriately on your shoulder, and your jacket should show about a half-inch of the sleeve of your shirt.
Look Beyond Khaki
When people hear business casual, they often think of khaki, or perhaps denim. With khaki, it can get a bit stale and basic, and with jeans, you run the risk of being too casual.
Instead, look for pants that are unique shades, such as dark brown or olive. Charcoal gray can also work well in the winter.
If you are doing denim, go with a very dark shade of blue, not anything faded or distressed, and pair jeans with a nice, stylish belt.
Fabrics and Texture
Finally, the materials and textures of your clothes can have a significant impact on the impression you make. For business casual attire, look for items that are made from natural fibers, rather than things like rayon or polyester. Cheaper fabrics and textures can be really obvious.
Even if you only buy a few shirts or pairs of pants, if you invest in higher quality items they’ll look better, and they’ll last longer.
Ultimately, mastering the art of business casual is about quality above all else. This includes quality in the fit and the fabrics.