Full Business Casual Guide, here:
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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This is the dress code I follow at work and during free time. My work environment is VERY very casual, so I don't want to be too much dressed up compared to others. I align my style with my boss (a woman), who wears business casual. For special occasions like important work meetings and seminaries, I dress up within this dress code. In my free time, still within this dress code, I dress down.
I work at Deloitte the largest CPA firm. I haven't see a tie in years. Mostly jeans and polo shirts. Also you can get around the office in a skateboard or scooter. When meeting clients we only match their dress code never dress better than your client. I never want my client to feel like they are at a used car lot.
It's different everywhere you go. The majority of my business degree I completed online the only part I did in person was the six-month internship for a private investment company, with a strict dress code.. The company owner was somewhat chill, he let us wear any watches and jewelry but I wore a suit and tie every day interning under him. And for him, business casual, at least for the men, was dress pants with a dress shirt and tie no blazer, so it works differently.
Business Casual to me means: 1) On the fancy end: Collared button down shirt, black/grey dress pants, some sort of dark dress shoe. 2) On the low end: khakis and a polo shirt 3) Never jeans, unless you know its allowed. 4) Never T-shirts. 5) No suit jacket required. 6) No tie required, but if you want, wear one to be fancy.
my workplace went from a casual clothes (no hoodies or hats) office and they just asked us with 1 weeks notice to wear business casual. everyones been complaining, we have no clients come in and we work nights. its bullshit.
I grew up seeing looks as tertiary and function over form. I must say, the transition from that to business casual feels arbitrary, and doesn't make too much of a logical sense. But this video is teaching me things I could never figure out on my own.
Hello Raphael, I have watched your videos with great interest and have enjoyed them immensely. Just an observation from an individual who has also had bespoke suits and hacking/norfolk shooting jackets from Savile Row, you should go with darker suit/jacket colours. You have relatively dark features and lighter colours are immediately overpowered. Just a passing thought. Cheers, Steve
I wear "business casual" at a Credit Union, and that, for us, means a dress shirt with a tie, but I would look totally overdressed with a jacket of any kind. Even the CEO doesn't wear a jacket to the office. So far, I have never found a time outside of church that I would ever wear a jacket (i.e., suit, blazer, sport coat, etc.), and even in the winter, in sub-freezing temps, I am only outside for 30 seconds at a time (from my car to the door of a heated building), so I never have a need for things like scarves, gloves, pea coats, or trench coats. Even a sweater is too much cloth, and I'd roast at the office if I ever wore one.
You look nice, sir, and nice video!
Here in Chile, i have seen some disturbing outfits in town, i once saw a guy wearing a black corduroy blazer with gold buttons, light pink shirt, an orange pair of Chinos and black boxy "dress shoes", thanks for teaching us how to dress appropriately
So what about if you work in retail? I work at Sam's Club. We where vests but other than that the dress code is pretty relaxed. Mainly no offensive shirts and they most be clean and have no holes.
But I want to step my style game that works in the context of retail environment where I am also very physically active.
Yeah, I am a Center Associate so white shirts are mixed. We got plants outside again. On one hand a white shirt keeps you cool. On the other hand they run into the problem you talked about. They get dirty easily.
I work at Sam's Club too! As a produce associate myself. I found as a floor worker it's okay to wear jeans and a t-shirt, no holes in either of them, clean sneakers, and the shirt can have decals so long as they are not offensive. If you're unclear if something is offensive or not I'd suggest just not testing the waters with them. I learned that wearing a white shirt isn't a good idea as you might get dust/dirt on it that would leave the shirt looking dirty, but the same also goes for light colors, you might want to keep it dark. Shorts are acceptable if they are at/below the knees but nothing higher. I tend to wear long sleeves and turtlenecks year round (even during the summer) because at times I might work in the cooler.
I have to disagree with wearing a pea coat over a jacket. A pea coat is not suitable as a 'top coat' or 'over coat' in that it does not provide room for the padded shoulders of a proper jacket. I suppose you could size up if you insisted on wearing it with a suit.. but a pea coat is best simply worn over layers such as a aran sweater &c. IMO.
Very informative video! I've recently made a career switch to a "start up" kind of company, and whilist I was on tour I noticed all the staff is wearing hoodies with jeans. I'm going into a sales position, where I will be dealing with costomers & parts vendors and such. I want to dress more professional/business like. I'm assuming a blazer/suit will be a little over kill in this enviroment. I am thinking shirt & tie however I don't want to be judged for being "overdressed" It's quite tricky to figure out
When I was in the MBA program there was an older student who was an executive with a large corporation. He said that once the A/C in the building shut down and the email went out that you didn't have to wear a suit coat. So, he went to the next meeting in shirtsleeves. Everyone else was wearing a suit coat. He asked why. They laughed at him and said because they wanted to get promoted.
Lesson learned. I have always tried to dress at the top end of the dress code for any function. I need all the help I can get to get promoted.
This video is awesome! But I just don't know how to dress at home. I want to throw away all my "old" T-shirts and pants and I want to look more like a gentleman. So do you think its a good idea to be dressed up at home as well as "outside" ? I mean you have a lot of awesome ideas and tips for dressing up and improving the style of an gentleman but I am not sure what to do at home.
Greetings from Germany!
i just wear blue, navy, and charcoal dress trousers with a variety of button downs. nice shoes. ill sometimes wear suits with and without ties but i usually take the jacket off right after i get to work and only use it for the most important meetings.
first of all I really appreciate your great content, all of it!
In this particular video, you address bags and say that a gentleman
should always opt to carry a bag, no backpack. In my situation, however,
being a student in the Netherlands who bikes basically everywhere that
takes you less than an hour it can be very convenient to have a backpack.
Any thoughts or tips? I try to take a bigger bag whenever I also go to the gym,
and use this as an excuse but that is not always it is the case.
i live in Hawaii and most of us would wear aloha shirts to accommodate the warm/hot weather here. I mostly where a casual button up shirt tucked in but aloha friday is pretty much everyday for us. Layering is not recommended here, but its okay to layer with a sweater, carigan and hopsack blazer since its breathable.
Great explanation! I always feel so much more educated when I've watched one on this channel. I'm planning on upgrading my wardrobe and dressing a little better since I've been watching your video's. I'm in college and I'm wondering what would be the perfect mix between dressy and casual in this setting. I guess I'll have to experiment a bit with what I'm comfortable with and what degree of formality is appropriate. Anyways, keep up the good work, you've been so helpful already!
Great guide! I work in a corporate office that has instilled a business casual dress code that even accepts slim, dark denim. I believe this places it between the 2nd and 3rd types of your spectrum. Also, as a younger guy (mid 30s) on the design side of the business that frequently meets with hip creative agencies, I feel jeans more acceptable.
Good video just one question about business casual having one work in a corporate business atmosphere it was require that shirt tie and suit be worn Monday thru Thursday however we were allowed to dress less formal on Friday which was known as "Casual Friday" so are you referring to that on implying business casual can be worn 5 days a week? Thanks again for the fine information.
Mannie Gregg What's even SADDER is the people here who ridicule other people for working how they feel comfortable. Many like dressing up, many just want to wear relaxing clothes, other are in between. Nothing says, "Hi, I'm immature" than someone who degrades others because they don't follow their beliefs.
I love this edgy look! I was so excited that her hair, even as short as it is now, was still able to be put into the fun and trendy dutch pigtail braids! Instead of braiding to the ends, I ended them in close together pigtails at the nape of her neck. After I finished braiding, I tugged on the outsides of the braid gently to loosen them and make them a little messy and fun! Since she doesn’t have enough hair to tie around the elastics, I made sure to use elastics that matched her hair so they blend in as much as possible. You could also cover them with clips or bows! A view from the back of her Dutch pigtail braids! A great braid for short hair is a micro accent braid! My biggest tip for braiding short hair would be to add in small slices of hair rather than big ones. I did a small (micro) braid along a slightly curved deep part for anther cute and edgy look! You could also do another one next to it if you wanted a little more to the look, but I really liked how simple this one was. You can see how the part curves a little better from this view of the back. I ended the braid close to the head with an elastic that matched her hair. For our fourth style, we did a 3/4 french braid! Super simple but also super cute! You could do any type braid! It would also look cute using a Dutch braid or a fishtail braid! I loved the side view of this braid! I will for sure be doing this one next time she goes to gymnastics or swimming, whichever comes first! Our last braid is two four dutch lace braids into two loops in the back. Start off by parting the hair down the middle. On each side of the part, do a dutch lace braid, adding hair in from only the section closest to the part as you braid. Tie the braids together in the back with a small elastic and before you pull the hair all the way through to make a ponytail, leave it in a cute little loop! If the hair is a little bit longer, you could do a tiny bun. Repeat this directly under the braid you just did so you have two rows and two loops.
We will have to be coming up with lots more short hair braids in the future, so be sure to give us a follow over at our newly redesigned blog Abella’s Braids to see more as we do them!
Thanks for reading! See you again this time next month!
love these ideas! My daughter recently cut about 8 inches off her hair and is loving her shorter hair, but I’ve mostly been at a loss of what to do with it! Thanks!
Abella has been begging me for at least a year, probably closer to two years, to cut her hair. I posted a photo on Instagram with a question in the caption. “Abella has been begging me to cut her hair short, do you think I should let her do it?” Almost everyone said “YES!” So thanks to all of the good advice from my followers, we did it…and we haven’t regretted it for a second! I think she looks so cute and it really fits her personality! It’s for sure a lot harder to come up with braids but it’s pushed me to step out of my comfort zone! We wanted to show you that even if you have short hair, there are lots of cute braids you can still do!
This first braid (above) is three ladder braids. Start out with a part deep to one side. On the side with less hair, start out by doing a waterfall braid along the part. Under that one, do another waterfall braid, but incorporate the waterfall pieces from the one above it as you braid. Under that one, do a french braid. Incorporate the waterfall pieces from the second braid as you go. We braided each one to the ends and used elastics that matched her hair to tie them off.