Business Casual Style for Men: Different Ways to Dress for the Office

11 months ago / by Team SEEMA
Business Casual Men
Image credits: Medienstürmer via Unsplash

A Complete Guide to Men’s Business Casual Style

Business casual is not that complicated. It takes time to grasp the entirety of the style. But with wardrobe tips, you can easily be the best-dressed guy in the room.


You already know how to dress for a casual hangout and how to dress for business days. But merging the two styles can be tricky for most people. The workplace norms from previous generations keep changing to adapt to modern times.

The dress code has drastically changed over time as well. Take business casual men outfits, for example. When the style started, people thought it would be out of fashion sooner or later, but it appears it’s here to stay.

Modern workspaces are loosening their dress codes to be more accommodating. But the concept of business casual doesn’t have clearly defined rules, and that’s where the confusion starts. But if you are picturing a cotton blazer or dress shirt without a tie, you are in the right direction.

You will be invited to dress in office casual at one point. The last thing you want is to show up in full casual attire or a complete office look. You should try to understand the ins and outs of business casual looks for men.

This guide will show you what a casual business style is and the importance of dressing better than anyone else at the office. You will also uncover some of the frequently asked questions about this type of dressing. Here you go!

What to Expect

  1. What Is Business Casual For Men?
  2. Style Tips to Help You Get the Business Casual Look Right All the Time
  3. Casual Business Attire Men Essentials
  4. Common Mistakes to Avoid
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Business Casual For Men?

Business casual attire for men is a style that is not as formal as the traditional office look, but it still has a business-like impression. When you hear the word casual, your mind goes straight to shorts, t-shirts, and slippers. But that is not the case here; business casual attire is more official than casual.

Denim jeans should not be part of the attire. But some casual business offices allow a decent pair of jeans. If you must wear jeans, ensure it’s really nice and dark-colored or just stick to quality trousers to be in the safe hands. You can pair your outfit with comfortable shoes like loafers. Try to coordinate your outfit so that everything matches if you want to stand out.

Modern business casual men’s dressing is highly linked to the idea of casual Fridays from the past. The workplace would allow employees to show up in their favorite casual outfits on Fridays or any other day of the week. But these casual outfits were a little too casual for the workplace. Business casual is a great compromise that allows you to be comfortable and official at the same time.

A relaxed yet elegant approach to business casual requires you to make a little effort. If your usual business professional style is a suit and tie, you can ditch the suit trousers for chinos. You can take off the tie and the jacket. Mixing and matching your jacket is also an excellent option for business casual.

Business casual style is a bit ambiguous; people interpret it differently. But what all stylists and fashion savvy people agree on is that this style is a simple form of a professional business look. Consider how you usually dress around the office and take it down a notch but be careful not to overdo it. You might have to make a few wardrobe changes before fully complying with the concept of a business casual male.

Style Tips to Help You Get the Business Casual Look Right All the Time

These tips will help you solidify your grip on the casual business style. The tips will give you an idea of the changes you need to make in your wardrobe.

1. Invest In A Few Timeless Pieces

A wardrobe change can be expensive. If you want to reduce the cost, buy some timeless pieces. That means getting jackets, shirts, and shoes that won’t last only one season. Quality over quantity is the best approach. You can add other clothes with time, but the few timeless pieces in your closet will serve you well for a start. Get tips from friends or a professional stylist if you don’t consider yourself fashionable.

2. Go For The Neutral Colors

When you start shopping for business casual clothes men start with neutral colors. Tan, white, navy, grey, and brown are easy to pair or mix and match. The colors will also never go out of fashion. You can wear other colors, but neutral colors should be the base of your new wardrobe. Start wearing bright colors once you have mastered your business casual look. Navy and tan offer a stylish versatility that gives room for different personalities. Black can appear too formal for a business casual look.

3. Dress Consistently

If you have been working at the office for years, you have probably developed a sense of style. You shouldn’t deviate from it too much because you are switching to business casual. Remaining consistent will make the transition easier. Pick outfits that maintain a degree of consistency. Remember, different workplaces have different ideas of business casual. Stick to the dress code provided by the management at your office.

4. Get The Right Fit

You can get the style right but the fit wrong, making the whole outfit look bad. Too tight or too loose clothes are not appropriate. Try your clothes on first before buying to ensure they fit perfectly. You will look elegant without making a lot of effort when your clothes fit perfectly.

5. Consider the Occasion

Before selecting your casual work outfits men, consider your calendar and the occasions of the day. It might be a casual Friday at the office where you are allowed to run free. But the casual attire may not be appropriate for the meeting you have in the afternoon. When you pay attention to such details, you will always be in the right outfit for the right occasion.

Casual Business Attire Men Essentials

Business casual is a minimalistic fashion environment. You might still be feeling unsure when it comes to picking the right outfit. Understanding the basics will put you on the right path. These are the essential wardrobe items you need to be aware of.

The Pants

Suit pants are no longer mandatory. You have plenty of options now, which can be a good thing. The trousers you pick should emanate sharpness, sophistication, and intent like the rest of the outfit. The fit and tailoring are more crucial. A slim fit is okay, but it shouldn’t be overly tight on your body.

Cotton chinos are always a great starting point for a semi-formal workspace. Distressed or ripped jeans are a big no, don’t even go there. You can only wear jeans when your boss allows, and you should stick to dark, fitted high-quality jeans without too many additions.

The Shirt

Men’s business casual shirts are usually collared, and some structured t-shirts can make the cut. Polo shirts are generally not allowed unless your company insists on a polo shirt with company branding. A tasteful button-down shirt is all you need to complete the look. Find a breathable fabric that will be comfortable all day.

White, light pink, and light blue are the best colors when starting out. You can sample more bold colors, prints, and persons when your confidence increases. Your sense of fashion or style should be within reason. Remember, you are still dressing for work, so try to stay reasonable. Keep the armholes high for a professional look.

You should never leave the shirt untucked. Explore other possibilities while remaining within the confines of a business casual outfit.

The Jacket

Business casual looks for men keep favoring jackets less and less. But it can be challenging to construct a business casual men outfit without a jacket. Most men don’t feel confident and smart to takeover any room without a nicely-fitted jacket. A few anchor pieces for your wardrobe are not a bad idea. Several blazers do the job perfectly. You have a lot of materials and styles to choose from.

Blazers or sports coats are less formal compared to suit jackets. Tweed creates a subtle contrast while still keeping it business-like, and it will pair well with knitwear. Every man needs at least one classic navy blazer. The navy blazer pair well with most complexions, and it’s flattering to any physique. A grey blazer will make you look elegant but slightly different from everyone else. Fit is also crucial when picking blazers.

The Shoes

There is a wide range of acceptable men’s shoes. Stick to polished loafers, Oxfords, monk straps, or derbies to play it safe. Most of these shoes are long-lasting and comfortable. The specific style depends on your preference. Colors like tan, dark red, or chocolate are the best options. Pick colors that are easy to match with the existing items in your wardrobe.

Socks are becoming more and more optional, even with casual business looks. Stay away from boots and other types of shoes. You can ask your boss first before wearing them to work. Even the most casual workplaces expect you to uphold some standard with your dressing.

The Accessories

Any fashion-forward man finishes a look with some accessories. Probably the most beautiful thing about business casual men outfits is the absence of a tie. You can add accessories and express your personality. A distinguished wrist watch, belt, a bag, subtle cufflinks, and pocket square on your blazer can be great accessories.

Less is always more with accessories. Too many details can take away the beauty of your well-chosen outfit. Accessories are personal elements that make you stand out from a group of business casual dressed men. Sometimes the weather can allow you to add accessories in the form of layers like scarfs. If you look at the mirror and feel like you have added more accessories, take off some items.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Most men’s first mistake is wearing their suit jackets as sports coats. You can mix and match dress pants and jackets. But a jacket will make you look off when worn casually. Find something less structured with a more textured fabric. You will look well put together even though it’s business casual attire.

Avoid pairing casual accessories with business casual clothes. A backpack is very informal; find a leather bag for men that are more suited for the occasion. A leather briefcase or a messenger bag should be what you are looking for. If you must carry a backpack, find one that is nicely constructed and looks great with the outfit.

Too casual shoes are a big no for the office. You have spent a lot of time picking the shirt, pants, and blazer; don’t let the shoes destroy everything. Double-check with your office’s dress code before showing up with any kind of shoes. Figure out if your office leans casual or leans business. Business casual style means different things to different people.

You don’t have to button all the buttons. If you are not wearing a tie, there is no need to button the shirt all the way up. If you look at all the pictures of men who inspire you when it comes to business casual, you will notice they left a few buttons. But don’t leave a lot of buttons; it can be inappropriate.

Not tucking in your shirt is unacceptable at the office in most cases, regardless of what you are wearing. Try to remain professional, especially if your job requires you to meet clients all the time. Some people assume that they can untuck their shirts since it’s business casual. There are boundaries that you shouldn’t cross no matter what.

Not paying attention to details can also be a costly mistake. Pay attention to the fit of the clothes and the accessories. You should be confident with your choices every time you step out. Choose a belt that compliments your shoes. They don’t have to be the same color, but they should be from the same color family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Keep My Shirt Out As Business Casual For Men?

In most cases, you must tuck in your shirt for business casual attire. A tucked-in shirt is more formal and acceptable at the office. You might look too sloppy or relaxed with a hanging shirt. Business casual events like interviews and business lunches need you to appear neat and well kept.

There are some exceptions where you can keep your shirt out with a business casual look. Your boss probably allows it during casual Fridays. If you leave the shirt hanging, ensure it’s shorter in length and it’s perfectly fitted for your body. But it’s always recommended that you keep your shirt tucked around the workplace.

Are Joggers Business Casual For Men?

Joggers are not considered part of the business casual for men because they are too casual. They are also impossible to combine with traditional items from the business attire. Joggers will force you to wear a more casual shoe, blazer, and shirt. This will make you look more casual than business. Dress pants and chinos are better alternatives to joggers when it comes to men’s business casual.

Joggers are almost always worn with sneakers, and sneakers can never be part of the business casual. When you consider such things, you will realize that there are better pant options for the office.

What Are The Appropriate Colors For Business Casual For Men?

It all depends on how adventurous your workplace is. But neutral or plain colors are the best. When shopping for clothes, stick to tan, grey, brown, and similar colors. Avoid bright colors because they are usually tricky to pair with other clothing items. Colors like neon yellow or green are not professional.

The versatile colors are more appropriate to wear for any occasion. Stick to simple styles, prints, patterns, and colors. You will have an easier time styling neutral colors for different business casual looks.

Does Business Casual For Men Include A Jacket?

Jackets are optional. Some men find ways to keep the jacket in their business casual attire. However, more businessmen prefer a more relaxed look, and that is why they go for sports coats or blazers. A nicely-fitted blazer will perform the same function without making you look too formal.

You won’t miss the jackets a lot once you switch to blazers. But everyone needs a suit jacket you can wear on special occasions. Go for a tailored blazer with quality material if elegance and stylish are your end goal.

Final Thoughts

Understanding men’s business casual style will take some getting used to. But hopefully, this article is enough to help you hit the ground running. Look at what other men are wearing if you want some inspiration. Seeking guidance from an established stylist can be an option, and learn all the great men’s business casual brands. You will be a pro at coming up with business casual male outfits in no time.