From leather business briefcases to the socks you wear or whether you have a pocket square, how you dress on casual workdays sets the mood for your entire experience. Because of that, there is a right way and a wrong way to dress business-casual. Here are 4 ideas to ensure you dress the right way.
Some Ground Rules
There are a few business-casual and business-casual accessories rules that you must follow to get the most out of your accessories.
Comfort and Presentation
Your business-casual wardrobe should be comfortable, but also professional. A good rule is to pick business-casual clothes and accessories that you would wear if you have lunch with your boss.
You never know when you will have to visit or present to a customer. Your business-casual wardrobe should be versatile enough to go from casual to professional with very few changes. At the very least, your wardrobe should allow you to pull off a business meeting if that is needed.
A business-casual outfit serves no purpose if it is only for looks. You want your wardrobe to look amazing, but also allow you to complete work.
Follow these three rules and your accessorizing becomes easy.
You know the basics of belt choice. Because most people do, belts often get overlooked. A black or brown leather belt with a gold or silver buckle can help elevate a business-casual outfit. With few exceptions, it also is versatile and can just as easily work at happy hour or on a company outing.
Choose a belt that is understated, but elegant, noticed, but not stick out like a sore thumb. Some options that provide style but are interchangeable are tooled or woven leather belts.
The last piece of advice is to not skimp on quality. Your belt is the one article of clothing that can serve you well for years and always look good. Cheap belts fray and even discolor. Spend a little extra to get a belt you know will be with you for the foreseeable future.
In most business-casual environments, you can probably get away with not wearing neckwear. If there is a chance you might do any of the following, though, you need to make sure you have neckwear available, even if you are not wearing it:
- Meeting with the boss
- Meeting with a client
- Meeting with a vendor
- Personnel meeting
Your neckwear needs to achieve two goals:
- Be casual enough to embrace the intent of the business-casual environment
- Be professional enough to allow you to seamlessly go into a meeting
Since darker colors relay a more serious undertone, sticking with lighter-colored ties will lighten your perception a bit. Another fun tactic is to add stripes, shapes, or subtle designs to give your neckwear life beyond just being a tie.
As important as what you wear is, so is avoiding certain types of neckwear. Loud and gaudy colors should not be part of your business-casual repertoire. Neither should ties with risqué content be included in a business-casual environment. You should also avoid extremely busy ties as they can obscure both your outfit and you.
Watches provide a great look in a business-casual environment that also brings a lot of maneuverability to the table. A watch can be bold and make a statement without it being too far for the business-casual environment. While sleek and mottled colors are the usual recommendation, if you want to go big and noticeable, that is ok as well.
It is important to remember, though, that watch bands are a different story. You do not want a watch band that resembles a professional boxing title belt. Stick with thinner and basic colors and you will be able to pull off both business and casual with ease.
Check out or guide on How To Choose The Perfect Watch For Him for more details.
The footwear you choose can say a lot about you. In most cases, business-casual does not mean sandals, etc. It does mean you can get away with not wearing dress shoes. The colors should be basic:
- Light Brown
Keep your shoes professional as almost everyone takes a look at shoes. You might be able to pull off the brighter than needed theme tie, but you will suffer if your shoes look cheap, flashy, gaudy, or are an eyesore. Also, don’t forget your shoes should match your belt and, ideally, any other accessories such as watches or bags
Adding business briefcases to any wardrobe gives even casual clothes a more important aura. Check this beautiful leather briefcases from CarlFriedrik.com. A perfect example of great-quality accessories you can add to your business casual looks.
Images by Aaron Cameron Muntz for MMSCENE Magazine