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How to Approach the Business Casual Dress Code
November 27th, 2013StyleSolosso 0 Comments

Doesn’t it oftentimes feel as if women are born with a knack for fashion, whereas most men aren’t as lucky? Even on their “dressed down” days, many if not most girls still manage to look polished and pulled together. On your days off, you tend to pull on baggy jeans or gym shorts and an ironic tee without a thought.

Just because you weren’t born with a natural instinct or passion for fashion, doesn’t mean you can’t look sharp on both dressy and casual occasions. When it comes to work, date night, running errands or heading out for a drink with friends, you can manage to look carelessly impressive with a simple – and comfortable – business casual look. These tips will help you put together a versatile cool, effortless outfit, giving you the appearance of someone that has a natural capacity for dressing well.

 Shirts

You will never go wrong with a classic, button down shirt, as you can play with color, pattern and style to find the perfect shirt for any occasion. If you prefer to stick with solid colors, you can add a tie and a pair of slacks to create a business casual look that is great for the office or a date. Once you leave the office, you can ditch the tie and undo a few top buttons, and create a more relaxed, yet still suave, ensemble. If you want to keep things a little more casual, don’t be afraid to be bold with fun patterns and designs, like these examples from the Solosso Custom Dress Shirt Gallery. For something a little more masculine, especially on a date or fun time out, roll and cuff up the sleeves – and maybe untuck the shirt, too.

If you’re aiming to achieve an even more laid back ensemble, opt for a short sleeved V-neck or a long sleeved shirt. (Remember, stick to solid colors and flattering patterns – ironic and branded tees should be saved for weekends spent inside.) These options are better suited for a friendly hangout or trips around town to the store, because although the look is neat and put together, it is not quite formal enough for most workplaces.

When striking a balance between weekend casual and business casual, you can’t go wrong with a simple polo shirt or a short sleeve button up. Both still manage to look smart and stylish due to the collar (which, by the way, should never be popped), yet are relaxed enough to bare some skin, making them the perfect choice for a summer day.

Pants

When dressing for the office, refrain from wearing shorts (yes, even khakis!), and always say “yes” to a pair of well-fitted slacks in blacks, browns, and grays. If you aren’t sure of your correct size or fit, ask a store attendant to assist you in giving some pointers. This is advisable for long sleeve button down shirts as well, as even a bit of extra fabric in the wrong places will take you from well-dressed to a total mess. Spend a spare couple of bucks getting work pants fitted by a tailor if they don’t flatter your figure straight off the rack. Your tailor will know where the pants should be tapered and shortened, and doing so for a first time can really transform your appearance and attitude towards clothing and fashion in the future.

If you are heading to an event that is a little more easy-going, you could match your polo or button down shirt with a pair of dark jeans. As a rule of thumb, stick to darker blue and black denim, and always go for classic washes and jeans that don’t include pre-made rips and holes or flashy stitching and designs. Make sure, again, that these fit correctly; jeans should adhere to your form comfortably without pinching or bagging at the thigh. Even if you think you’re shopping for your correct size, bring a girl friend or even a female family member along for your next purchase; she’ll be able to tell you what size and cut looks best!

Jackets

One of the greatest and simultaneously most frustrating things about fashion is you never know what new trends to expect. Recently, formal blazers are being matched with t-shirts to create a smart hybrid on casual-chic attire. You can combine a comfy t-shirt with a blazer to create a look that is business casual without the tie. For something more laid back, a cardigan or fitted jacket with buttons – three-quarter sleeves are great in the fall and spring, while full-sleeves work well for winter weather – could be the perfect complement to any ensemble. Since you want to keep your appearance clean, you will want to avoid any loud designs on a jacket, and save any bright hues or eye-catching patterns for the shirt underneath.

As for heavier coats during the winter, a slick leather jacket is a staple that belongs in every man’s closet. On dressier occasions, a simple black pea coat will always leave you looking sharp. When shopping for a thicker winter sports coat, look for styles that maintain a slim shape, and pay especially close attention to where the hem falls on your waist or thigh to choose the style that is best suited for your size and build.

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Shoes 

The staple footwear for business and business casual attire is, of course, the dress shoe. A polished black shoe will match most suits and more formal ensembles, and is appropriate for most any occasion. However, when opting for a shoe that’s a little more relaxed, go for a brown low-cut boot in the fall and a handsome yet relaxed loafer in the springtime, sans socks. Sneakers should be avoided for business-oriented events, although a pair of fashionable digs whose pattern and color works with your ensemble can make a positive statement at more casual affairs.

Accessories

Just as it is with women, clothes are only the first layer in creating a winning wardrobe. To take your appearance to the next level, you have to know how to accessorize. For starters, one of the best accessories a man can wear is an attractive scent. Rub just a few drops of your favorite cologne onto your wrists before going out, being careful not to overdo it. You want a subtle scent which will pleasantly surprise those in close proximity. If you don’t own cologne, visit the cosmetics section of a department store and speak with one of the assistants there. They can help you to determine between the different spicy, citrusy, and green scents to select the right one for you.

A simple watch is a powerful, not to mention functional, statement piece that enhances any attire. Silver wristbands make for a fashionable accessory at work, while leather bands are great at enhancing that lazily fashionable appearance. Brands like Invicta watches sold through Evine Live offer luxury models with a bold orange, blue, yellow, or even purple face and band. Don’t shy away from adding a splash of color through your accessories! A solid-colored bag is another great way to incorporate bright hues into neutral business attire. If you’re in the market for a briefcase or laptop messenger bag, refrain from buying something in traditional black and instead go for a stylish brown or deep blue.

A pair of wire-framed sunglasses is a simple accessory that can go a long way in pushing your cool factor. Conversely, something that easily takes away from that breezy coolness is pulling out a bulky or youthful-looking wallet in front of your boss, buddies, or a girl you’re trying to impress. Find an attractive, thin leather wallet to contain your important IDs and cash, such as a handsome patterned or solid colored selection from Fossil. Never underestimate the allure of a nice belt, either. Belts should be subtle, a solid colored matte, when paired with work slacks, but can be a bit more rugged in leather with a larger buckle when worn with jeans on less formal occasions. On casual jean days, some guys can also rock a bohemian style necklace or bracelet – however, this is the one accessory which you’ll definitely need a second opinion on before purchasing.

Just because you do not currently possess a flare for fashion, doesn’t mean you can’t learn to dress well on both business affairs and for your days off. The world is filled with people who will be judging you by your appearance: you can either give in to the daily struggle and dissatisfaction of dressing yourself, or invest a bit of time in developing your personal brand of business casual style. Once you understand how your clothes can enhance your appearance, shopping and styling becomes easy – and that’s a fact which will be easily read through your impressively carefree ensemble.

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