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What The Heck Is Business Casual? Business Casual Essentials & Style Ideas

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Ah, the wonderful and utterly confusing 'grey area' of the office dress code known as business casual. In hopes of making this world a better place, this article will attempt to finally shed some light on what business casual actually is, how you can easily achieve this desired look, and what it looks like in terms of examples / style ideas. Moreover, this article will focus on the look as it pertains to men's clothing.

What Is Business Casual?

Business casual refers to an office dress code that, as per the name itself, is more casual than formal. Simply put, this dress code typically involves wearing a dress shirt, khaki pants, belt and leather shoes. Also, ties are optional.

 

Business Caual - With Tie

The Essentials

Dress Shirts: most styles of dress shirts are acceptable. Although, as with any dress shirt that you purchase, the fit of the shirt is critical for a great look. Regardless of brand, dress shirts categorized under 'slim fit' or 'extra slim fit' will be your best bet. Furthermore, although I like wearing white dress shirts, they are considered more formal and, as such, do not typically fit the business casual style. With that said, however, a white dress shirt with a subtle
pattern such as fine stripes can look amazing!

  Top 3 Favorite Brands:
    1) Charles Tyrwhitt
    2) Brooks Brothers
    3) Calvin Klein

Pants: when shopping for business casual style pants, there are only two materials to consider: cotton and wool. Cotton pants such as khakis and chinos are absolute staples of this dress code and can come in a variety of colors, which range from beige to navy blue. Your office, whether the environment is more casual or more conservative, will ultimately determine what the acceptable range of colors for your cotton khakis / chinos will be - if more conservative, recommendation is to stick to beige and navy blue. In terms of wool pants, this is also an option that may be more appropriate for fall / winter months. For wool pants, or any pants for that matter, try to avoid purchasing ones that are pleaded - extra bulk gives the impression of extra weight and a shorter stature. Also, staple colors for wool pants are grey (light and dark), charcoal, and navy blue.    

Top 3 Favorite Brands:
    1) Banana Republic
    2) Bonobos
    3) GAP

Edmonds
Shoes: business casual shoes usually fall into three categories: lace-ups / oxfords, slip-ons / penny loafers, and monk straps. Lace-up shoes, although considered more formal, can look great with your business casual wardrobe as long as you keep it simple. For instance, plain toe oxford shoes are appropriate for any office setting and can be both dressed down and up depending on your style. Penny loafer shoes are another great option, and are perhaps my favorite type, since they both look and feel casual. Simply put, you can't go wrong with a nice pair of penny loafers. Last but not least are the less known monk strap shoes. If purchased from the right company, these stylish shoes can elevate your look while maintaining a professional demeanor.

Top 3 Favorite Brands:
    1) Allen Edmonds
    2) Ralph Lauren
    3) Johnston & Murphy

Allen Edmonds Men's Strand Cap Toe With Perfing,Walnut,10.5 D US
Amazon Price: $365.00 $364.95 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 12, 2014)
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