The rules of business casual have changed in the past 20 years, sometimes not for the better. While some people consider it appropriate to wear a polo and jeans or even a t-shirt (yikes) to work every day, upgrading your style is the first step towards upgrading your career. Unfortunately the fact that business casual has no fast rules means that it can be difficult to decide what is really appropriate. I'm going to show you three great options for a "business casual" dress code that make you look like a professional without going for a suit.
The Navy BlazerA navy blazer is essential to any man's wardrobe, but to really pull off a great business casual look you'll want to make sure it is tailored well. Make sure that when you button it up it tugs slightly around your waist, the sleeves should show about a half inch of shirt cuff and make sure it is not too long. Notice that the man in the picture below isn't wearing a tie, but he still looks professional. They key is in the details: brown leather shoes, a white pocket square and smart grey wool slacks make this look impeccable.
|Navy Blazer with Grey Slacks | GQ|
The Business SweaterIf you haven't had the chance to invest in a well tailored navy blazer yet, a merino wool v-neck sweater is your next best option. Go for a muted color such as navy or grey, you can get a little bolder with the shirt underneath as all that will be showing is the collar and cuffs. Notice the similarities between this picture and the previous one. Once again, the keys are in the details. It's imperative that you pay attention to all pieces of your outfit, particularly shoes. Fashionable, well-made shoes that will last for a decade or more are a worthy early investment and should be part of your wardrobe as soon as possible.
|V-Neck Sweater with Grey Slacks | GQ|
The Chino PantsKhaki pants get a bad rap thanks to poorly fitted options that flood the marketplace but chinos with a trim fit and proper break over the shoes are a great piece for business casual. Go for something that has a flat front (no pleats), slight to no break over your shoes and a crisp crease on the front. If you're not willing to throw a blazer, sweater or vest over your shirt you should probably throw on a tie. Layers are sophisticated and signal that you take the time to consider your appearance rather than just throwing on whatever is available to you. Don't forget that a leather strapped watch is the best looking accessory you can own.
|Khaki chinos | GQ|
As usual, the imperative of great fit is more important than anything else. Note that all the options shown fit the man in the picture perfectly with no bunching, folding or rolling on any of the fabric. Ensure that your fit is perfect and all else will fall into place.
Thanks for reading. As always, be dapper.