Finding the Right Style
To really nail a great business casual look, you might want to find a clothing brand with consistent fits and prices that work for you. Spend a bit of time browsing online catalogs of companies like J.Crew, Ralph Lauren, and smaller outlets like Uniqlo.
Often, individual companies will tailor their clothing to specific sizes. Historically, for example, you could purchase an Oxford cloth button-down shirt from Brooks Brothers or LL Bean and know that a medium-sized shirt would be very roomy. At the same time, you could bet on the consistency of those shirts. You knew what you were getting. To a certain extent, that is still true. If you don’t like the fits offered by J.Crew, you probably aren’t going to find much that you want there anytime soon.
This isn’t to say that clothing companies deal with a “one size fits all” capacity in 2021. Nowadays, companies like Brooks Brothers offer slim-line variations of classic Oxford cloth shirts. These kinds of dress shirts have a “thicker” and more comfortable feel than your typical dress shirt and are often perfect additions to a business casual clothing collection. Many can be worn right out of the drier.
As articles of clothing, slim-line Oxford dress shirts can help you retain an air of professionalism without sacrificing your sense of comfort. These shirts also look fabulous with or without a sports jacket. Knitted ties from companies like Brooks Brothers, J.Crew, and Ralph Lauren also pair extremely well with Oxford cloth shirts.
Clothing Ensembles That Stand Out
In today’s business world, many professionals also opt for slimmer cuts on their trousers. Where wider and baggier slacks or suit pants were de rigueur in yesteryear workplaces, today’s professionals often choose to wear comfortable khakis or clean-pressed denim. Denim is a bit tricky to wear well in a business environment; however, clean and light-colored denim can look great in the right context. Use your best judgment to determine what kind of jeans will strike the right business casual note at your office.
In autumn and winter, a comfortable wool pullover sweater or cardigan can also look great at work. When it comes to sweaters, cashmere looks and feels wonderful; however, be aware that the price tag on cashmere sweaters can be relatively high. Lambswool sweaters are cheaper than cashmere sweaters and still look and feel great. Pair one of these items with a tweed sports jacket for a professorial look that provides a professional appearance with cozy comfort.
Don’t Skip the Shoes!
Lastly, you’ll want to find a couple of pairs of good shoes to round out your business casual wardrobe. When it comes to finding the right pair of shoes, a good rule of thumb is to wear brown dress shoes when you aren’t wearing a suit. Black dress shoes with khakis or corduroys can really clash. While brown leather shoes are more comfortable to clean, brown suede shoes have become popular recently. Moreover, if you wear them right, a good pair of simple sneakers can even fit with a business casual wardrobe.
If you choose to wear sneakers to work, be sure that your shoes are kept clean and looking smart. Simple designs by brands like Converse or Vans can look great with khakis or jeans; if you want a more elaborate look, try out a few pairs of New Balance sneakers to see if any meet your dress standards. After all, Steve Jobs proved that you could wear these in an office without attracting glares of disapproval!
However, you choose to wear your business casual clothing, be sure that you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing and that you’re happy with your clothing choices. At the end of the day, it’s no fun to spend over forty hours a week wearing clothes that you don’t like!