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Ever wondered what it takes to master the business casual dress code? Finding the right balance can be challenging, given the term ‘business’ suggests a level of formality while ‘casual’ introduces a relaxed, laid-back element. Ultimately, this dress code offers men the chance to look sharp and put together without sacrificing their style or feeling out of place — so pay attention to the fit, fabric and finer details of each piece you select.  

If you’re unsure how to curate the perfect ensemble, this guide will highlight what the business casual dress code for men is so you can understand what pieces pair well together and make choices that blend sophistication with a touch of personal flair. 

What is business casual?

Defining this dress code can be nuanced, given the varying expectations across different workplaces. Usually, business casual for men combines traditional business wear elements with a more relaxed style suitable for office and everyday wear.  

Key elements of business casual attire 

When deciphering what to wear for business casual for men, focusing on key wardrobe elements can simplify your morning routine. These foundational pieces can serve as the building blocks for men’s business casual outfits that are both professional and comfortable.

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1. Shirts

Selecting the right shirt is crucial in embodying what is considered business casual for men. While traditional business attire often calls for a crisp, button-down shirt, business casual allows for a bit more flexibility.

  • Button-down shirts — A staple in men’s business casual, these shirts are versatile enough to pair with trousers or chinos. Opt for classic colours like white, light blue or subtle patterns to maintain a professional appearance.
  • Polo shirts — For a more relaxed look, especially in warmer climates or more laid-back office settings, a high-quality polo shirt can be appropriate. Stick to solid colours like white, navy or black to keep it understated and choose a luxurious cotton silk or cashmere blend. 

Shirts can set the tone for your whole business casual outfit. A well-chosen shirt can elevate the simplest trousers and shoes, showcasing your attention to detail and understanding of the business casual ethos.

2. Trousers

Trousers are equally crucial in defining the formality of your outfit. The right pair of trousers will not only complement your shirt but also ensure comfort throughout the day.

  • Chinos — A perfect bridge between formal and casual, chinos are available in various colours, though neutrals like navy, grey and khaki are particularly versatile.
  • Dress pants — For occasions that edge towards the formal side of business casual, a pair of well-fitted dress pants can make all the difference.

Chinos and dress pants are what come to mind when thinking about what business casual attire for men is, as they provide a polished yet versatile look.

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3. Blazers and jackets

Adding a blazer or jacket instantly elevates a business casual outfit, introducing an element of sophistication and structure.

  • Blazers — A single-breasted blazer in a neutral colour like navy or grey is incredibly versatile, making it easy to pair with different trousers and shirts.
  • Sports jackets — These can add depth to your outfit by offering a range of textures and patterns. They can allow you to introduce some personality into your business casual attire.

A well-selected jacket can transform your look, making it more cohesive and thoughtfully put together. It’s an item worth investing in, given its ability to adapt to various outfits and occasions.

4. Shoes

Shoes can make or break an outfit. In the realm of business casual, they are the subtle details that can tie your overall look together.   

  • Leather shoesOxfords and loafers in black or brown leather are safe and stylish choices that complement most business casual outfits.
  • Smart sneakers — In more modern workplaces, clean, minimalist sneakers in neutral colours can be acceptable, but tread carefully and consider your office’s culture.

When it comes to business casual attire, footwear should be chosen not just for style but also for comfort, especially if your day involves a lot of standing or walking.

5. Accessories

Accessories are the final touch in men’s business casual attire, offering a chance to personalise your look.

  • Watches — Whether paired with a crisp shirt and trousers or a more relaxed polo and chinos, a watch can bridge the gap between casual and formal, ensuring the perfect balance for business casual attire.
  • Ties — When it comes to ties, you can choose a less formal design with a subtle pattern or one made from a textured material like wool to add style without appearing overly formal. 
  • Bags — Choose a quality leather bag or a sleek briefcase to carry your essentials. It’s not just practical; it’s also an extension of your style.

Dressing for your day

The beauty of business casual is its adaptability. Consider your day’s agenda when selecting your outfit. If you have key meetings or presentations, lean towards the more formal side of business casual. 

This might mean opting for a crisp button-down shirt paired with dress pants and a blazer. For a regular day at the office or casual Fridays, you might choose a polo shirt with chinos and a pair of clean, smart sneakers or loafers.

Navigating business casual in different settings

Business casual can vary significantly from one workplace to another, influenced by industry, company culture and even geographic location. In creative fields, there might be more freedom to experiment with colours and patterns, while traditional sectors like finance often expect a more conservative approach. When in doubt, observe what your colleagues and leaders wear or don’t hesitate to ask about your company’s dress code.

Seasonal considerations

Your business casual wardrobe should adapt to the seasons. Lightweight fabrics like linen and light cotton are perfect for summer, while wool, flannel, and heavier cotton can provide warmth in the colder months. Layering is key in transitional weather, allowing you to adjust your outfit for comfort and style throughout the day.

The role of custom-tailored suits in business casual

While business casual typically moves away from full suits, incorporating elements of a smart casual suit can significantly elevate your look, whether you opt for a comfortable, unstructured half-canvas suit for a casual feel or a full canvas suit for more formal occasions. A tailored blazer or a pair of trousers can also be mixed with more casual pieces for an outfit that’s sharp, sophisticated and comfortable within the realm of business casual. The fit of custom tailoring ensures that each piece looks like it was made just for you, contributing to a polished and confident appearance.

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Step up your business casual game with Woolcott St.

Understanding what to wear for business casual for men is the first step in building a versatile wardrobe. Remember, this dress code should appear professional yet be comfortable enough for easy everyday wear. 

If you’re ready to level up your business casual game, you’ve come to the right place. From selecting the perfect fabrics to the final fitting, Woolcott St. is committed to delivering an experience that highlights the perks of customisation, so you’re always dressed to impress. Each bespoke suit we design is crafted to your precise specifications, measurements and preferred materials, allowing for a men’s business casual wardrobe that is as unique as you are. Our expertise in tailoring ensures every stitch and seam is considered, providing foundational pieces that offer unparalleled fit and comfort.

Swing by Woolcott St. or book a fitting with our expert team of tailors online today to curate a men’s business casual wardrobe that embodies your style preferences.