Full Business Casual Guide, here:
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So how do we get from suit, dress shirt and tie to a very relaxed dress code with khakis and Polo shirts? Well, it all started with Aloha Fridays. This trend became quite popular in Hawaii and was eventually adopted on the mainland. Subsequently, people were familiar with it and wore it more often.
So what does business casual mean in a nutshell? Basically, it means no suit but also no jeans.
1. White collar business casual – Bank, law firm, accounting firm
The core piece in your wardrobe would be the dark navy blazer. Stick with just dark horn buttons. Stick with a single breasted and notched lapel look for a very normal appearance.
You can also go with other kinds of sports coats that are patterned.
When it comes to dress shirts, you should invest in some oxford shirts. They have a nice 2-tone appearance to them which makes them more casual and perfectly suited for business casual.
When it comes to pants you can either wear chinos or khakis or dress pants in grey, light grey, mid-grey, not blue, especially if you have a navy blazer because it’s too close but not the same. Basically, you want to have a certain amount of contrast.
As far as accessories go, you can have a pocket square, you can go with a dressy watch or maybe with a naval strap to mix it up and make it more casual, depends on your specific office. When in doubt, always go a little more formal.
For shoes and boots, you can basically wear anything in the color brown, reddish brown, or dark brown, maybe even tan.
Since you’re at the office, you should always bring a bag. A proper gentleman always carries a bag. It could be made of leather, of canvas, or a mix of the two but leave the backpack at home and only use it when you go hiking.
2. Service business casual or more relaxed office environments
If you have client contact, chances are you are required to wear a jacket, sportscoat, blazer, at all times. If you’re not, maybe you can get away with just wearing a dress shirt or a polo shirt. If you feel a sportcoat would be too formal, you can also try just to go with a vest because it’s dressier than just a dress shirt but less formal than a jacket.
For shirts, button down collars are good as well as long sleeved polo shirts. Neckties are entirely optional. At this level, denim or jeans are still not okay to wear, go with chinos or khakis.
During the colder months of the year, sweaters of all kinds are great, you can either have them with a tie or without. Alternatively, have a cardigan or a sweater vest. Simply an ideal look for this environment because it’s dressier than just having a shirt.
As far as shoes go, I personally would suggest you go with classic shoes such as derbys, monk straps, loafers in brown because they work with everything and are just the perfect business look.
Of course, the bag you should have can be a little more relaxed so it can be canvas, could be more weathered. Of course, a vintage leather patina bag is always appropriate and looks phenomenal.
3. Startup Business casual
It’s always to your advantage to put your best foot forward and that means, dressing up a bit more.
Wear a polo shirt even if it’s short sleeved. Rather than wearing shorts when it’s warm consider maybe a pair of seersucker pants. Instead of crocs or flip-flops, switch over to boat shoes, you can also go with driving mocs and a sockless look.
When it’s cold outside, you can’t just go to the office with just your blazer so ideal companions would be a trench coat in between seasons. When it gets much colder, you can get something like a peacoat which is shorter but it covers your jacket and it’s very warm. If you want something lightweight that’s more fun, you can think about something like a quilted jacket.
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