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Upgrade Your Office Style: What to Wear for Business Casual



Upgrade Your Office Style: What to Wear for Business Casual

Wearing something casual to work comes with a lot of benefits, starting with feeling more comfortable and relaxed at work to save money from not having to wear high maintenance, costly suits.

It helps that having only to maintain a casual appearance at work makes the employees feel less conscious about their appearance, allowing them to focus more on their tasks instead of how they look. Casual dress codes also send the message that employers care about the employees’ sense of individuality. These incentives often lead to better performance at work.

So, what does it mean to wear casual clothing to work? Casual business attire usually involves slacks or khakis and button-down shirts for men and nice shirts paired with a skirt or pants for women. 

Some employers also specify just how they define what a casual dress code is. The shoes also matter. If you want to master this type of look for work, pay attention to the following reminders in choosing your casual attire.

Casual shoes

Instead of the derbies and classic oxford, going for a casual look at work means having the freedom to experiment with loafers, monk straps, chukka boots, Balmoral boots, or Chelsea boots.

If you’re working for a traditional white-collar environment, wearing casual might still look more formal than in other work environments. You can wear brown derby shoes or those in reddish-brown, red, oxblood, or burgundy colors.

You can wear monk strap shoes for casual days, either in burgundy, red, or dark chocolate brown colors. These are perfect for casual wear in a more traditional work environment.

Chelsea shoes are also ideal for casual workdays. 

Their round toe and elastic sides, along with an easy slip-on feature due to the lack of buckle or laces make them comfortable to wear.

Chukka boots are great for casual wear, too. They have an ankle boot, round toe, and two to three lacing eyelets. These are perfect additions to your corporate attire if you want a casual-cool feel. 

Choose ones in beige or tan and pair them with bootcut jeans, skinny jeans, or chinos and short sleeve button-down or polo. During colder days, you can pair these with casual trenches and sports coats.

Go for dress boots in more muted colors. Pair them with a slick pair of jeans, chinos or trousers to complete the casual look.

For a more casual look, especially if you are mostly doing fieldwork, you can relax in basic sneakers. There are just a few tips in matching your men’s casual sneakers with the right outfit. It’s a good thing that they work well with chinos and skinny denim, gingham or print T-shirts, and a blazer. Your work sneakers, though, should be kept clean and respectable.

Casual shirts and outerwear

Blazers are among the staples of a business casual wardrobe. Just avoid those with gold buttons and favor dark colors instead. Go for navy and ones that are single-breasted.

You can wear a sports coat, but choose one with a more subdued color and subtle pattern.

Wear a long-sleeved dress shirt in pastel or blue colors. 

Look for an Oxford dress shirt and keep the top button undone. If you’re preparing for a meeting before your day ends, you can wear a white Oxford shirt to match a tie and a blazer.

For additional protection during the colder months, you can wear a cardigan, sweater vest, or turtle neck to work. Just put a blazer or a sports coat on top of it and a collared shirt underneath it. Any look that comes with a knitted vest usually looks more casual than formal.

Casual trousers

For your casual look, go for a solid grey, navy or charcoal dress pants pleated. You can match any of these pants with a neatly tucked dress shirt and a sports jacket or blazer.

Khakis and chinos are also acceptable for a business casual look in the office, but choose what you wear with it wisely. Due to their more laidback nature, these should be paired with a contrasting blazer.

Corduroy pants work best during the colder season. Just like with the chinos and khakis, these pants should be worn with a blazer.

Lilly Myers is a Marketing Specialist at Big Easy Magazine.