Are you getting ready to start a new job with a business attire dress code? Perhaps you are stumped regarding what this really means for you and how business attire for men works?
Well, gentleman, the good news is that business attire is not so complicated as you might think. Business attire for men comprises several main components, and there are some strict dos and don’ts for adhering to this dress code. To learn what business attire is, when you need to wear it, and all about business attire for men wardrobe basics, look no further than the following comprehensive guide.
Business Attire Defined
Business attire for men is the clothing you are allowed to wear to the office. Depending on the environment you work in, your business attire might be more or less formal. Some offices adhere to more traditional standards while others allow smart casual or business casual into the mix.
Understanding business attire is important because the way you present yourself at work conveys how seriously you take your job. Dressing professionally is not only a matter of good business, but it will garner respect from those around you.
What Is Allowed
There are general rules to know of regarding what is allowed with business attire for men. While we will delve into the exact garments further down, here are key elements to get you started.
First, formal slacks are a must for any business attire for men dress code. It is important to wear pants that are the right length for your body. The pants should rest at the top of your shoelaces while covering the back of your shoe. This works for gentlemen of any height.
A tie is another staple. You need to make sure you pick a tie that will complement your suit or dress shirt and slacks well. Your tie should always rest at the upper portion of your belt, but should never be tucked into your pants.
It is perfectly acceptable to wear more bold colors and stripes with your ties, but stay away from ones that have crazy patterns.
What Is Not Allowed
You should wear nothing that is too tight. You want your clothes to be fitted and tailored properly, but there is a fine line between that and wearing apparel like a second skin.
Wear clothes according to the size you are rather than the size you are aiming for down the road. It is better to have a tailor change your business attire for men later on than wear something that does not fit you correctly.
You should also stay away from clothing that is too short, like shirts, jackets, or pants. For our tall gentleman readers, we know that finding clothes that fit your height can be a challenge. Enlist the help of a skilled tailor if you cannot find clothes to fit your measurements so you can dress for success wherever you go.
Leave your scuffed shoes at home. We understand that daily wear and tear can happen to your shoes, but when major scuffs appear, it is time to wear a different pair. The shoes you wear to the office need to be cleaned and polished, free of unsightly marks.
Finally, one style element you should always avoid with business attire for men is the short-sleeved dress shirt. This piece of clothing has made its way back onto the male fashion scene, but it is dated and will do nothing to enhance your professional appearance. Stick with long-sleeved, tailored shirts.
When to Wear Business Attire
You can break business attire for men down into a few main categories, the first of which is business formal dress. This is often worn for formal work events that require you to take your style up a notch. Clothing like a dark suit, dress shirt, and silk tie are trusted examples of business formal clothing.
When dressing for a business formal situation, make sure your shirt has a French style cut. Take your cufflinks and pocket squares out of storage and put them to use for business formal events.
Business professional is the business attire for men standard that most people think of when considering an office dress code. Business professional is not far off from business formal, but it is usually geared towards day-to-day attire and does not have to be so fancy.
Clothing pieces like a suit jacket or blazer, a button-down shirt, slacks, tie, and dress shoes are business professional staples.
Business casual is the most laid back version of business attire for men. Many companies are allowing business casual these days, offering more flexibility with your clothing options.
That said, business attire should still be professional and tailored. You need not wear a suit, but still steer clear of items like t-shirts and jeans. Clothing like a button-up shirt, polo shirt, sweater, dress pants, or khaki pants all fit into business casual attire. You should always wear dress shoes but you are not required to wear a tie.
Business Attire for Men Wardrobe Basics
The first quintessential wardrobe basic in business attire for men is a business suit. Dark business suits are the ideal choice, in hues like dark gray, charcoal, navy, and dark blue.
If you want to wear a slightly lighter color, medium and light gray will also be acceptable. Your best option is to select a solid colored suit. Some suits have tiny patterns like pinpoint or needle head, which is perfectly fine because they are so subtle.
If you really want to mix things up with your business attire for men suits, a chalk stripe or light pinstripe is a classic choice. Stay away from bold hues or clashing patterns though unless your office is less conservative.
For picking a style of suit, you can choose between a 2 or 3-piece suit. If you select the 2-piece suit option, look for a single-breasted 2 or 3-button jacket with a notch lapel. Try to pick suits with side vents rather than center vents. These give you room to put your hands in your pockets as needed without offering too much exposure.
When choosing slacks to fit in with business attire for men, you can have a pleated or flat front. Inward pleats are great for sitting, but the choice is up to you. You can choose cuffed or non-cuffed pants as desired. Pants sans cuffs are seen as slightly more formal than those with cuffs.
If you like cuffed pants, you will notice the cuffs help your slacks drape with more finesse. For many office environments, particularly those that adhere to business casual, you might get away with a pair of chinos and a blazer to dress things up a notch.
A discussion of business attire for men would be incomplete without the all-important dress shirt. Always look for dress shirts with French cuffs so you can use cufflinks.
If your office allows a less formal version of business attire for men, still have at least 4 or 5 button up shirts in solid hues like white and light blue.
When selecting shoes for business attire for men, your first investment piece should be a black, cap toe oxford shoe. This shoe is a classic that will stand the test of time and go with any other wardrobe pieces you have on hand.
For a second pair of business attire for men shoes, select a quarter brogue oxford. These shoes have small, holed perforations on the cap toe. Black is always the safest color to go with, but brown shoes will usually do the trick too.
With business attire for men, darker shoes are better. So, if you go with a color other than black, pick an oxblood or dark chocolate brown. If you are on a budget, however, a classic black dress shoe will serve you well for years to come and go with literally everything in your work wardrobe.
When choosing cufflinks to go with your French cuffs shirts, stay way from diamond, colored, or any other eye-catching piece. It is better to stick with the standard silver and gold cufflinks.
For your pocket squares, silk ones will do. Low key patterns and subtle hues will always meet office standards.
When choosing your necktie, fabrics like silk are a classic. Blue, burgundy, and red ties are common choices. Depending on your work environment, you might have more fun with your ties and pick colors like purple, yellow, or green. Avoid bold or flashy patterns though.
Finally, when picking socks, aim to match them with your pants, particularly if you work in a more traditional environment. If you have a little more freedom to work with, you could match your socks and tie together for added interest.
Navigating business attire for men is not rocket science, but it requires you to stick with timeless choices that exude professionalism. If you are just getting started, make more basic selections that will offer you versatile options.
Invest in key pieces like a dark colored suit, dress shirts with French cuffs, a couple ties, cufflinks, solid colored socks, and black dress shoes. Once you have mastered the art of simple business attire for men, you can expand on the classic pieces and mix them up.