Great Tips on Business Dress and Business Casual For Men


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Adhering to a business casual dress code often poses a challenge for many men. You want to be comfortable and relaxed, yet still maintain a professional look. On the contrary, when maintaining a business dress etiquette, where do you draw the line on incorporating sportswear? Whether you’re a young professional just starting to build your wardrobe, or are well seasoned in the business world and want to add new inspiration to your men’s apparel, you’re in luck. Discover the differences between business dress and business casual for men and how to incorporate the appropriate style for your situation.

What to wear: Every work environment is different. What may be considered appropriate for business casual in some work spaces, may be too casual for others. Your best bet? Check out what your co-workers and leaders are wearing. You don’t have to copy their style, but it will give you an idea of how to dress business casual.

Suits and suit separates: A fine suit is the prime differentiating factor between business dress and business casual. The standard business dress code always requires a tie. A suit made from fine materials, well-fitting dress shirt, and silk tie are go-to items for business dress. However, make sure your suit, shirts and ties are clean and pressed each time you wear them. Wearing fine clothes that sport stains, rips or tears can be worse than not adhering to a business dress code at all. And in most cases, you can remove your jacket once you’re in the office or a meeting.
Dress trousers and khakis: Dress trousers are always suitable for any business casual dress code. Depending on your work environment, khakis will most likely be considered appropriate business casual apparel. Pair either with a sportshirt or turtleneck, sportcoat and leather shoes for a professional yet comfortable look.
Dress shirts: Dress shirts balance the look of your outfit and visually complement your accessories. For a business casual dress code, try pairing a pinpoint dress shirt with tweed trousers, penny loafers, a leather belt and cashmere scarf, and you’ll look instantly dashing. When adhering to a business dress code, a point collar is the most versatile for business or dress. Button-down collars look best with a sportcoat and khaki pants; they are not typically worn with a suit. Also, look for dress shirts that come in wrinkle-free and stain resistant materials. They’ll keep you looking fresh even during your busy travel schedule.
Shoes: Shoes are a versatile category. Many dress shoes that can be worn with a suit, can also be paired with your business casual attire. Tuxedo shoes, or black patent leather dress shoes, are too dressy for the office and should be reserved for black tie affairs. Historically, sneakers have been too casual, although designers are coming out with more sophisticated styles that may be appropriate for your work setting. Choose a pair of shoes that offer clean, crisp lines and are made from genuine leather. Be sure to treat them with a leather protector and clean them regularly, as a shoddy pair of shoes can instantly spoil an entire outfit.
Briefcase/laptop bag: A distressed leather mail carrier style bag, messenger bag and laptop case in subdued shades is acceptable for a business casual work environment. For business dress, however, a briefcase is best. Look for a classic case in a versatile shade such as cognac, burgundy or black.

What not to wear: Be forewarned in case you were debating wearing any of the following to work:

Obnoxious t-shirts: Wearing a soft tee shirt made from finely woven cotton underneath a V neck sweater is perfectly fine for business casual apparel. However, wearing your Spring Break tee from 1999 is not. Prominently displayed logos can look tacky as well. Save the raucous bachelor shirts for weekend use only.
Jerseys of any kind: Absolutely not. No. Not ever. A basketball, football, baseball, or any other kind of sports jersey is never appropriate for the office. The same goes with baseball caps, giant finger gloves, track jackets, or any other sports apparel you’re tempted to wear on a day when you’re not feeling so fresh. Others will notice your lack of effort and inappropriate attire immediately.
Sandals: While flip-flops have a charming, beach-hippie sort of appeal, you should avoid wearing them in a business casual work environment. No matter the designer or materials, they are simply too casual for the office.

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A Man’s Guide to Dressing in a Business Casual Environment

Many companies began instituting a business casual dress code many years ago with the creation of “Casual Friday.” Over the last ten to fifteen years, casual Friday has turned into everyday for many businesses. If you find yourself in a business casual environment, care should be taken in the choices of work attire. An employee in this environment must remember that casual or not, their appearance makes the first impression, and each employee will, at some point, be the “face” of the company to someone. Gentlemen, business casual means much more than khaki pants and a polo golf shirt. Don’t be afraid to show some personality through your appearance, just be sure to show some restraint. For example, T-shirts, either printed or plain, have no place in a professional workplace. Also, do everyone you work with a favor and do not wear any shoe that exposes your feet. Leave the sandals for the beach and always wear socks to work.

Now that we have looked at two rules that should be considered unbreakable, let’s tackle some options that the business casual man does have.

The Suit

Believe it or not, this is an option in the business casual environment. Today’s suits are designed to be more versatile. Many styles can be worn without a tie or with a crew or mock neck shirt. A sweater can even be added during the colder months.

The main thing to remember is that it is still a suit. It should be worn only after being pressed and cleaned. Also, be sure the pants have a clean and crisp crease. You can dress the suit down, but it still has its place and appeal. The point of the dressed down suit is to look more casual and relaxed, but still look sharp and well put together. In terms of keeping the suit in good shape, try not to have it cleaned any more than four times a year. Dry cleaning too much can compromise the fabric.

The Sportcoat

Today, there are too many options available to touch on each. The important thing to remember about the sportcoat is, much like the suit, look for versatility. Many jackets can be worn in a business casual environment by day and dressed down with a nice pair of jeans by night. Also, be sure to keep it in good condition, just like the suit.

There is a difference between a sportcoat and a Blazer. Really, no man should be without a Navy Blazer in his closet. This is simply one of those items that every man can use at some point, and in this man’s opinion, it is just as necessary as a pair of jeans or khakis. Stick with wool for your Blazer because it just looks and feels better than blended fabrics. The blazer is not as casual as many sportcoats, but, like the suit, it can be dressed down and keep that well put together look.

Shirts

I cannot say this enough, but do not wear t-shirts, printed or solid to work. They simply are not appropriate in a professional environment. The three options here are polo or golf shirts, mock neck shirts, or button-up shirts. Mock neck shirts come in a variety of fabrics and look great under suits and sportcoats. Polo shirts also come in variety of colors and fabrics and are a fairly traditional option for business casual.

More and more men are wearing button-up shirts, normally worn with a tie, with an open collar. The important thing here is to be sure to keep them clean and pressed. Just because the look is less formal doesn’t mean it should be sloppy. There are several different collar choices, from button down, to spread, to pinpoint. There is really no rule here, but my suggestion is to try all styles and choose what you are most comfortable wearing.

Another note about button-up shirts is the French-cuff shirt. It has become far more acceptable to wear a tasteful French-cuff shirt with a nice set of cufflinks, without the tie. It adds a little touch of a classic look without dressing you up too much. Again, this is another one of those personal preference things. My suggestion is to give it a try. If you don’t like it, don’t wear it.

Pants

Don’t wear jeans to work. Now that we have dealt with that, what should you wear? Khaki pants are a very traditional option. Be sure the ones you wear to work are clean with a crisp crease, and that they fit properly. Wearing these everyday can make you seem, well…boring.

Change things up with charcoal, black, or olive. Even a pair of gray pants can work with the right shirt and jacket. We come to another personal preference with pleats versus flat front. Again try both and go with comfort.

Something to be mindful of is how you wear your pants. Many men (most men) in America unfortunately have a bit of a gut (including yours truly). Stop fooling yourself and stop hiking up your pants twenty times a day. If you have a gut, accept it and don’t wear the pants below your true waist line. You may think it looks better, but it doesn’t. Actually, it makes your stomach look bigger because it hangs over the waist of the pants. One option here is to add a pair of bracers. Bracers are becoming much more acceptable for men under 70 years old. In fact, I know many men that can’t stand wearing a belt now that they were willing to take the leap of faith and try a pair of bracers.

Shoes

Do not wear tennis shoes, sandals, or flip flops. This is simply poor taste. Look for a nice dress shoe, either lace up or slip on, and keep them polished. By the way, stick with the basic colors such as black, brown, or burgundy. While your taste may lean towards the indigo dress shoes, they simply are not professional.

There you have it. Business casual done right is really not that difficult, but many men would rather have a root canal than spend much time on how they dress. If you are that guy, and you just can’t get it right, your best bet is to visit your local men’s store. Make sure it s a men’s store, not one of the big anchor retailers in a mall. Any rep at a men’s store worth his salt will be able to give you great advice.

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Business Casual – 3 Ways to Look Sharp in Men’s Business Casual

Men, when it comes to dressing for work you’ve had it easy until recently Men’s clothing has evolved over the years to a look that fits men’s body types and activities, and makes most men look great.

Most men look good in a suit, and the traditional colors for business, such as a navy or grey suit with a white or blue shirt, compliment most men’s skin, hair and eye colors.

Then along came business casual and a new generation of men in the workplace, and the old rules no longer apply. Putting together all the elements isn’t as easy as coordinating a suit. It’s more difficult to dress in casual mode and look good.

1. Every industry has a dress code. Do you work in a conservative industry, such as finance or insurance? You most likely need to wear a suit when meeting clients, and dress down only on casual Fridays.

On the other hand, if you work in creative industries, such as advertising or design companies, it’s fine to have a bit of an edge. But you have to tailor your looks to a work environment, and choose clothes that suit your body type, coloring and personality.

And if you work in a high-tech, such as a software design company, the look is very casual. But you still have to look neat and clean. Grungy is not a business casual look!

2. Look at the people above you, and your clients. What are they wearing? If your boss or manager wears a suit most days, despite the casual dress code, you should probably do the same. Remember that you should be dressing for the job you aspire to, not the job you have now.

How do your clients dress? Dress to make them feel comfortable. If they are dressed very casually, you can match them, but be sure to be clean and neat. Sloppy and grungy are not business casual looks!

3. When in doubt, dress up. A common rule for business is to dress in traditional business attire for important meetings with outside business people. They still expect to see a business suit or jacket when a business deal is closed. Wearing a suit to meet a new client, or for a job interview, shows respect. Wear traditional business clothing when conducting business overseas.

If you are staying in the office, you can wear a sweater and casual pants. But jeans are only allowed in the most relaxed environments. Check with your human resources department if you aren’t sure what’s allowed.

Putting together a polished, professional business wardrobe takes time and thought.

Do you know the biggest business wardrobe mistakes? Find out with this free report:

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Business Casual Clothing

In general, business casual means to dress professionally and have the image of a relaxed man, half-way the distance between formal clothes and what you wear on the street. Suits for job sites where you need the image of a businessman and at the same time you can get advantage of comfortable clothes. It is ideal for those moments when you accidentally meet with a client, with a business partner and you need to look dressed business.

Tie: in general is not required for business-casual. If you are in doubt, you can count. Never hurts to be well-dressed – this also is like making a compliment to the host. You can wear a tie and walk through room – if no one is wearing one, you take it off discreetly.

Shirt: it is considered to be better dressed when wearing a long sleeve shirt than a short-sleeved, even in the middle of summer. White t-shirt with collar can be a good choice when you’re at an event outdoors – in an open location.

Pants: cotton, synthetic, wool or dock, as long as they’re clean and well-ironed. No need to look ready for a photo shoot but if you think about blue-jeans, gym pants, bermuda, short pants or cycling pants, you are not on the right track.

Socks – wear them in dark colors and long enough so you don’t see any skin when you sit down.

Shoes – match their color with the belt and always wear leather shoes. Forget about sandals or running shoes, when you wear a smart-casual outfit, no matter how tempting it would seem.

Facial hair – if you wear a beard or mustache, develop yourself a habit of keeping them impeccable. But there are industries in which you really should reconsider this habit.

Jewelry – always wear a good quality watch. If you choose to wear other jewelry, choose to be discreet – and …

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