Want to know about the most stylish trends for the year? Take a look at our guide for the best business casual dressing. Gone are the formal suit and tie wear that corporations used to demand. In with the trendy casual smart look that turns heads – including your own.
Make a statement with the clothes you wear, your hairstyle, and the designer accessories that tell everyone that you know what you’re doing. And, you’re fully prepared to do it looking as if you’ve stepped out of the pages of a glossy mag…!
So, get into shopping mode, because that suit without a tie and all the sexy extras are what you need to dress for success this year.
Evolution of the latest business-casual look
Business-casual came about in the 1980s when men were really starting to make their mark on the world. Entrepreneurs sprang up around the country, keen to leverage the power of the internet for personal success.
Enter the concept of Casual Friday, and the doors were opened to a time of self-expression that soon became a culture. Individuality replaced formality, and the new metro-sexual developed a firm stronghold in the workplace. Casual, sexy and comfortable became the new norm, replacing the traditional dress-code.
Chinos and polo t-shirts were designed for comfort, but they didn’t quite hit the high mark. Fashion-conscious men soon cottoned on to the idea of personal brand dressing. Besides, the new business-casual made them feel good, and it expressed their personal identity and brand far better than the more casual wear suited to time outside the office.
Get your wardrobe updated to express your personal brand
In short, the new sexy business-casual means developing a style like James Bond. Be stylish without being stuffy. Think unstructured suits and pants. Avoid the matching jacket and pants.
Choose a subtly colored jacket, with small or no shoulder padding that is loose fitting or sexily styled to mold to your upper body like a second skin. Show off your toned upper workout look, without sacrificing comfort.
Ramp up your ‘formal’ jacket look with a soft, unstructured blazer made from natural fibers like Merino wool, for example. Italian designs have nailed this look.
Think of shorter jackets or blazers from Boglioli or go for the J. Crew brand, where blazers are now more like loose-fitting cardigans. Still stylish, but infinitely more comfortable. Good for the office, without being stuffy.
Match and mismatch your trousers
Yes, you can still wear chinos. But only if they’re matched with a stylish jacket or cardigan. Black tight fitted jeans are just formal enough to round off your look. Current trending modern trouser styles offer a vast array of choices to build your personal brand. Go for the overall casual look of chinos, and tapered drawstring athletic-type trousers. Add the casual but smart t-shirt for the more relaxed office environment.
Otherwise, dress up your look with tight denims, a smart shirt and loose-fitted jacket. Your wardrobe choices will obviously rely heavily on your office dress code. Get it right with the casual athletic wear with drawstring waists, and a less tapered look.
You also don’t want your clothing to be too tight, because you’re going to be the butt of many jokes. Speaking of butts, now’s the time to select pants that are tailored to your shape. Do fitted on your lower body, but (butt) also without being tight.
Lara Connor, fashion blogger and academic and lab report writer, has some advice here. She says, fitted is good. Tight is like the woman who dresses for a nightclub during office hours. That’s not the look you want to aim for. Different color jackets and pants are the target here. Mismatched but matched colors, basically!
Avoid tailored trousers that have a bright shiny sheen, unless you’re going to the Oscars. Shine is outdated and way too formal for the office. Trousers made from thin, shiny fabrics are also ‘so yesterday’ and do nothing for your personal brand. Textured fabrics are in. Selection of thicker and thinner textured trousers will depend on the season, but texture adds character.
Textured business-casual also goes really well with denim, which delivers a smoother look. Denim is good when devoid of all the studs, stripes and shiny stuff. Find a good balance between plain and flashy when it comes to denim because too much creativity is not always a good thing at the office.
As stated, match and mismatch make for an elegant, sophisticated look that is in harmony. Formal on top, less formal below. In fact, a formal jacket, informal shirt, informal pants, and formal shoes make the man.
Alternately, go for less formal on top with an elegant cardigan, combined with fitted jeans, and complete the look with brogues or trainers to really dial down your look, while still hitting the mark.
Don’t get too shirty
Plain cotton shirts in muted tones, fitted or unfitted also fit the bill for business-casual dress. Aim for a fitted shirt with collar together with tapered denims. Dress up your look with a sophisticated cardigan—all in muted tones. Loud colors are not going to impress at the office, but a contrasting shirt can deliver the individual personality that you want to demonstrate.
Loose-fitted t-shirts with jeans look good for office attire when dressed up with an informal jacket. Ensure your t-shirt is a good quality and is not too loose-fitting. Otherwise, you’ll look sloppy. Dress your casual suit down with a tight-fitted t-shirt and sneakers that respect your workplace, without looking ‘too smart.’
Go for a jock look rather than a nerd style, and avoid the traditional shirt with open collar and V-neck cardigan. You’re not wearing a tie, so ditch this look, pronto! The days of stiff-collared formal shirts are in the past, where they should stay.
Rather aim for a softer collared-shirt that is less formal and easier to wear. Make sure your new ‘formal’ collared shirt isn’t shiny but is made of natural cotton fabric or the more casual Oxford wear with shorter tails for the untucked look.
From the top to the bottom
Elegant shoes typically look good with most clothes, except athletic wear. They jazz up jeans or tapered trousers for that successful, pro look. Depending on your office, the sleek shoe is always smart and appropriate, but you may want to go for a rougher jock look with brogues and jeans.
Elevate the sexy eclectic in you that is rebellious within boundaries by adding a heftier Derby to your mix. It’s a modern jock while still avoiding the ‘military’ look, which doesn’t really work in the corporate world.
Trainers and t-shirts fall in the same category when it comes to business-casual. Too casual, and you look ready for the gym. Poorly combined with your other clothes, and your look is more appropriate outside the office, or more specifically, at home in your garden.
But, a good pair of dark leather trainers, together with tapered jeans etc., and your trainers could be competing with shiny formal footwear for the sophisticated, modern-man look. Balance is key here, so choose your footwear wisely. And, make sure they’re clean, sleek and not scuffed.
Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with boots of varying heights. We recommend ankle-high boots, though, just to be clear.
Back to the top from your feet to your crowning glory
Your hair frames your face. It is a blank canvas, but all good artists should appreciate their limits. Your face shape dictates what hairstyle will suit you best. Find a hairdresser who understands this concept, and can enhance your blank canvas with a contemporary look that suits you, and not Dwayne Johnson. Do your research to determine whether you have an oval, round, triangular or rectangular-shaped face.
Identification of whether you have a heart, diamond or square-shaped face or other will give you a good idea of what hairstyle will suit you. Browse through magazines or the internet for the latest summer haircuts, and then choose a look that you think will match your face shape.
Maybe you’re in need of a Peaky Blinders haircut, a French crop or you may be due for a sleeker look. A good barber will help you choose one that’s right to get you looking business-casual ready.
Best style guides for men focus on individual shapes, preferences, personality and office dress-codes. Stay true to who you are by expressing your most authentic look. Learn what works for your body, experiment, and get your best buds to help you out if stuck. Just do it in style.