The following post is a contribution from TailorsDB.com, your number one resource for finding the best tailor in Thailand.
Dressing up for work has become much more complicated than before. Instead of full suits most men are used to, there’s a completely different dress code these days which requires you to not look as formal as you would on an important meeting, but also not as casual as you do on weekends. The style is business casual, and it’s causing headaches to a lot of men when choosing what to wear to a modern workplace. It’s hard to stay in the middle between formal and casual, and while a suit and a tie is no longer a must for most professions, a certain level of formality and conservatism should be maintained in office.
While always dressing sharp is a fashion statement by itself, in some office environments this could work against you, so you might think about taking it down a notch and use your fashion knowledge to create great two piece combinations that will still reflect your style, but in a more relaxed way. On the other hand, for the majority of men out there who find it hard to step out of their usual office suits without getting into khakis, t-shirt and sandals, this guide will help you completely reinvent your style and learn about the freedom you get with business casual outfits.
As we already mentioned, a certain level of conservatism should be maintained in the office, which is why shirts with no collar are never appropriate for work. Also, make sure you look clean and groomed, and always choose clothes that fit you perfectly. No matter how expensive your clothes are, if they don’t fit you right, you’ll never look sharp and professional. Quality is also important, so make sure you always buy the best you can afford.
Simplicity works for most men, so your best choice for business casual outfits will be long sleeve button up shirts. There are two most common types of shirts, the ones you have to tuck into your pants and the ones that should be untucked. You should go with the ones that should be tucked in, because they give you a lot of freedom for outfit combinations while maintaining a formal look.
When it comes to colors and designs, you should stick with simple solid color shirts like white or light blue, before you get more confident and start experimenting with other colors. If a solid color is a bit boring to you, go with simple patterns like conservative stripes. If you want to go even more casual, you can wear polo shirts, but they don’t have the versatility like button ups.
Business casual dress code will give you a lot of freedom when it comes to pants you can wear to work. Khakis, chinos, slacks, even jeans in some office, almost everything works. Slacks are most formal, and if you feel a bit insecure about your wardrobe choices, they will work best for you. Great thing about them is that you can use slacks from the suits you already have, which will reflect great on your budget. As with all other types of pants, dark colors are usually the best choice since they are very versatile and look very professional.
Chinos are the most versatile business casual pants and give you a lot of room for all kind of different combinations. It’s very important that they fit you perfectly because oversized chinos will make you look like a character from a bad 90’s movie. Again, if you feel insecure, go with dark single-colored cotton chinos, and you’ll easily find other pieces of wardrobe that will fit you perfectly. For older men, you can stir things up with different fabrics like gabardine or wool.
Jeans are not acceptable in some workplaces, so before choosing them, make sure they don’t get you in trouble. When wearing jeans to the office keep in mind not to use your casual worn out weekend jeans. The best choice are dark perfectly fitted jeans with no traces of wear or visible holes. You’ll easily combine them with almost all types of shirts, and emphasize your macho looks.
Blazers and sweaters
Sweaters are a great way to add some layers when it gets cold, and elevate your style to a more sophisticated level. The most important rule for wearing sweaters is that they should be the best quality you can afford, and always in pristine condition. In fact, any other type except cashmere or merino wool sweater will probably look like a usual sweatshirt.
Blazers are the best way to improve your style, and look professional and casual at the same time. Combined with nice chinos, and a simple pattern shirt, blazer will make you look very sharp but not too serious. If you don’t like to experiment with colors, navy blue will be the best choice. You’ll get that flattering shape a suit gives, but without too much formality. Other colors are always welcome, but make sure that they are not too bright and flashy, or you’ll look too casual for work. They work great with sweaters too, but always try to stick with more formal solid color blazers likegrey, dark blue, brown or black.
Shoes and accessories
The most common mistake people make is to wear overly casual shoes for work. Remember that sneakers, flip flops or sandals are never appropriate for the office, no matter how casual the dress code is. Not only will you appear unprofessional, but in most cases you’ll look ridiculous. Loafers, bucks, desert boots or moccasins – this is what you should be looking for when buying a business casual shoes. In general there aren’t any strict rules so choose the ones you find most comfortable.
Belts should match your shoes, but you already know this. Your socks should be dark if you go for simplicity, non-athletic and long enough not to reveal your skin when you sit down. Avoid too much jewelry because it will make you look unprofessional, make sure that you have some sort of a conservative watch (flashy scuba watches won’t work) and avoid wearing hats while in the office. It’s OK to wear them on your way to work, but make sure that they are subtle and that they don’t interfere with your outfit.