The Essential Business Casual Details & Outfits

To me, business casual for men’s outfits is a loose definition, but it definitely has an upper and lower range of what’s appropriate. The only true way to determine what it means is by looking at it in relation to the current dress code of the company or function you’re dealing with.

Things to avoid in business casual


There are rare exceptions, but when in doubt, go without.


These are too casual no matter how they’re worn and I’d argue that a man shouldn’t wear shorts in 95% of situations, anyways.


While I love them, they have no place in a business casual outfit.

Not Tucking In Your Shirt

The sin of all sins for a business casual outfit, no matter your body type, is not tucking in your collared shirts. Polo shirts should only be worn untucked, but the exact opposite is true for collared shirts. It just looks sloppy.


Now let’s go over the typical outfits and when they’re appropriate to wear.

Standard Business Casual

For most companies, whether they require a suit (maybe no tie) or a blazer or collared shirt everyday, there are two types of business casual outfits. How close the dress code is to a full suit will determine whether you should wear a jacket or not. Also, depending on the time of year, you may go for lighter or heavier weighted fabrics for your jackets and pants. Hotter = lighter.

With A Jacket

If you are required to wear a suit and tie everyday, definitely go with this one.

Sport Coat/Blazer

Here’s another article I wrote about heavier sport coats/blazers for the Fall & Winter months. Please, whatever you do, don’t wear a suit jacket in place of this. The fabric is too thin and it won’t match the fabric weight of the pants you’ll be wearing.

Oxford Button Down Shirt or Semi-Spread Collared Shirt

Make sure either of these are tucked in to your pants. Definitely wear a belt that matches your shoe color, as well.

Wool trousers, Chino Pants or Dark Wash Jeans

The more formal the dress code, the more likely you should wear wool trousers. Chinos are a little less formal or more used during spring and summer, while jeans a little less so than chinos and typically used year-round. Never, ever – unless the suit pants are a very thick wool (similar to wool trouser weight) – should you wear suit pants without the accompanying jacket.

Oxford Dress Shoes, Monk straps, Brogues, WingtipsBoots (Dress or Chukka) or Loafers

The second you’re not wearing a full suit and tie, you can basically wear anything but sneakers with your business casual outfit. I’d default to Oxfords, Monk Straps or Loafers – either in suede or leather, but any of the options above are acceptable.

Without a jacket

If the dress code or occasion is slightly more casual, you can forgo the jacket and wear this business casual outfit, instead. There’s a few small points to consider.

V-neck sweater

If the weather is too warm, then definitely swap out the sweater for a blazer from the previous section, or, if it can be more casual, go to the next outfit, instead.


Same as the previous outfit. You can wear a tie, like in the above picture, but it’s not necessary at all.


Wool trousers or dark wash jeans. Chino pants have a fabric weight that is too light to go well with v-neck sweaters.


Same as previous outfit.


Casual Business Casual

This type of business casual outfit is appropriate if there’s a pretty casual dress code normally, or the event is very informal. If you see “business casual” as a requirement anywhere, this is the least formal outfit you can wear that is still appropriate for the dress code. Anything less than this is not business casual.

Harrington Jacket 

This is one of my favorite jackets of all time and fits this outfit perfectly. Obviously, only wear this if the weather is requiring a jacket.

Polo Shirt or Oxford Button Down

I’d probably default to a polo shirt unless you knew for a fact you were going to wear the Harrington Jacket or the weather is cooler. Unless you’re a slimmer guy, an Oxford Button Down worn without a jacket on top of it doesn’t look too good. No matter what, though, make sure the polo shirt fits like a glove or you’re going to look like a goofball and if you wear the oxford, please tuck it in.

Chino Pants or Dark Wash Jeans

Chino pants are the default in an outfit like this, but dark wash jeans are just as appropriate. I’d let the time of year or weather dictate whether I went with chinos or dark wash jeans. The colder it is, the more I’d lean toward wearing the jeans over the chinos.

Sneakers, Loafers, Dress Shoes or Chukka Boots

The more classy you want to make this casual outfit, the more I’d learn toward dressy shoes.


That’s it! Hope this is helpful!

Wool Blazers & Sport Coats

I’m sure you’ve already seen my article/video about a Navy Wool Blazer in my Wardrobe Essentials Series, riiiiiggghhht? If not, then please read and watch it first before we talk about Fall and Winter wool blazers/sport coats, because I’m going to assume we’re on the same page in regard to the differences between a blazer, sport coat and suit jacket as well as how your blazer should fit your body type as well as the finer details of what to look for in a quality blazer. Otherwise, you will probably be lost or think this article is a little anemic. There will be a few critical differences between your year-round blazers and your specific Fall and Winter wool blazers. So let’s get into them.

1. Fabric Weight

The most important difference during this time of year is the fabric weight of your blazer.

You want a much heavier wool fabric, like Harris Tweed, for three reasons:

  1. It will keep you much warmer during this time of year.
  2. The heavier weight pairs better with similar weighted fabrics during this time of year – Like your wool ties and pocket squares, wool trousers, sweaters, cardigans, etc.
  3. If it has a tighter weave, like Harris Tweed, it’ll be more durable, robust and repel water and snow better.

To get technical for a moment, a typical weight you should look for is around 12 ounces, but you can go all the way up to 16 to 20 ounces. For year-round wool blazers, I prefer a fabric weight of between 8 to 10 ounces, depending on your climate. In comparison, for hotter climates/seasons, I usually go with somewhere around 6 ounces for the fabric weight.

You’ll instantly notice the difference of fabric weights when you feel the blazer in-person. It’s a little harder to see it in in pictures, so I would suggest going to a store that carries suits to see it for yourself.

Long story short, you want a thicker wool for this time of year.

2. Color

The second difference is the colors for the time of year. Unlike the year-round wool blazers, this is the time of year where you can wear richer, more jewel-toned colors, all based on your skin tone, of course.

The best way I can describe colors is to think of the leaves changing to their fall colors and those are the colors you want for the season. So that typically means these colors:

  • Browns
  • Burgandys
  • Greens
  • Blues
  • Oranges

I went over all these colors and how to wear them based on your skin tone in my introduction article & video to this series.

3. Patterns

The last and final thing to consider for your Fall & Winter wool blazers are the patterns. Since you’ll be wearing heavier items, bold and heavier patterns work great this time of year.

My favorites are:

All of these patterns are included in my selects from various brands below.

Best Ways To Wear A Wool Blazer During Fall & Winter


MensFallWinterEssentialsWoolBlazerAshleyWeston-2 MensFallWinterEssentialsWoolBlazerAshleyWeston-3

H&M Dark Khaki (Green) Blazer
J.Crew Cotton-Cashmere Crewneck Sweater in Jacquard
The Tie Bar Kingsley Attune
H&M Wool Suit Pants
Aldo Acerrassi boot
Rolex Submariner Date
Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses



MensFallWinterEssentialsWoolBlazerAshleyWeston-11 MensFallWinterEssentialsWoolBlazerAshleyWeston-4

Topman Light Brown Wool Rich Formal Coat
The Tie Bar Chambray Shirt 
The Tie Bar Wentworth Plaid 
The Tie Bar Kingsley Attune Pocket Square 
The Tie Bar Metallic Navy Tie Bar
Diesel Buster 0607A Jeans
Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt
Johnston & Murphy Cormac Double Buckle Monk Strap
John Varvatos Prince Sunglasses




H&M Wool-Blend Blazer Slim Fit
Brooks Brothers Milano Spread Collar Dress Shirt
The Tie Bar Score Check Tie 
The Tie Bar Olive Green Tie Bar
The Tie Bar Southeast Plaid Pocket Square
Diesel Buster 0607A Jeans
Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt
Allen Edmonds Strand Cap-Toe Oxfords with Dainite Rubber Sole
IWC Portugieser Automatic Dress Watch
Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses 

All of these blazers are from companies that I love. Zegna, Canali, and Brooks Brothers’ blazers have superior construction and the fit, color, and pattern are exactly what I look for in a standout blazer for my clients. For more budget-friendly options, I really like J.Crew’s english tweed sportcoats. The weight of these blazers are perfect and the solid textured colors (brown, grey, and navy) will never go out of style. For a nice camel or dark green blazer, Topman and H&M, respectively, make these nice blazers. The fabric isn’t as thick as I’d prefer, but the price point is hard to beat so I’m willing to overlook that.

$2,895 – Ermenegildo Zegna Windowpane Two-Button Sport Coat
$1,595 – Canali Tic Two-Button Sport Coat
$538 – Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Multi-Windowpane Sport Coat
$418 – Brooks Brothers Fitzgerald Fit Blue Harris Tweed Tic with Windowpane Sport Coat
$350 – J. Crew Ludlow Legacy Blazer in American Wool
$220 –Topman Light Brown Wool Rich Formal Coat
$200 – TopMan Selected Homme Navy Blazer
$70 – H&M Dark Khaki Blazer

Series Intro & How to Match Clothing Colors To Your Skin Tone

In this series, I’m going to show you the must-have Fall and Winter items that every well-dressed gentleman should own. That means I’ll be talking about:

  • Boots and Shoes
  • Coats & Jackets
  • Shirts & Sweaters
  • Suits
  • And various Accessories

Like always, I only recommend products that I’ve personally touched and worked with – in all budget ranges. I’m fortunate in that I get to touch hundreds of menswear items a week, so when I say something is great, it’s not because I got paid to sell you a bunch of cheap [email protected]*t like everyone else – it’s because I have actual experience with these items.

This series is a supplement to my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials Series. In that series, I covered the year-round essentials that you should have in your closet already. If you haven’t read/watched those articles and videos, do that first so we’re on the same page.

The Best Colors & Patterns For The Season

fall-winter-colors-patterns-men-ashley-westonSince I don’t want to go over colors and matching them in every single video in this series, let’s talk about Fall and Winter colors and patterns and how to match them to your outfit and skin tone.

The appropriate colors for this time of year are:

  • Mid to darker greens
  • Shades of browns (camel to dark brown)
  • Shades of blues (light chambray to navy)
  • Shades of gray (light, medium and dark)
  • Burgundy and wine colors
  • Darker or “burnt” Orange

As for patterns, this is what I like to call “plaid season”. It’s the best time of year to wear plaid because its more visually heavy and pairs nicely with the heavier clothing you’ll be wearing, like sweaters, wool coats and wool trousers. For outerwear and Fall/Winter suiting, I love a good windowpane, as well.


If you’re darker skinned, this is less of an issue because those colors look great on you. But if you’re pale or yellow-toned, this can be a disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing.

PALE or Yellow Skin

If you’re pale or yellow skin toned, make sure that your camel, burgundy, or burnt orange pieces are an outer layer and not a base layer. Let me show you what I mean.

You’ll notice in the below photo that I have my pale model wearing a camel sweater. But you’ll also hopefully notice that there is a white ring of a t-shirt sticking out from under the collar.

This is VERY important because that little sliver of white provides separation between the skin and sweater. The camel color would completely wash out his skin tone and make him look sickly if it wasn’t there. It’s much more apparent in person than images, too.


Below is the same model wearing a burnt orange sweater, but you’ll notice that I have a gray plaid shirt under the sweater to provide that necessary separation of the sweater from his skin. If that wasn’t there, the orange would bring out the pink tones in his skin – which would make him look red and flushed.


And lastly, going back to my white sneaker article/video, I styled my model in a burgundy bomber jacket with a black t-shirt. The shirt provides the necessary visual separation to not bring out the pink tones in his skin.

If I had him in a black jacket and burgundy t-shirt, instead, he would look oddly red-faced. This combination, though, would look awesome on someone with darker skin.


So to recap: If you have a pale or yellow skin tone and want to mix Fall/Winter colors into your wardrobe, just make sure it’s an outerwear piece with visible neutrals (white, grey, black, navy) underneath.


Now, if you’re darker skinned, you can still follow the pale/yellow skin rules above because it’s the classic way to wear color and looks good on everyone. So when in doubt, wear your statement color as outer layers. But with darker skin tones, you have the added advantage of being able to wear all these colors in your shirts and sweaters and then have neutral outer colors because the contrast looks great with your skin tone.

Here’s some examples of outfits that look great on darker/warmer skin tones that would look horrible on a guy with yellow or pale skin:


Just do me a favor, though. Don’t go overboard with color. Have one standout color in your outfit and then pair it with neutrals everywhere else. When you start throwing burgundys, greens, blues and browns all in one outfit, it’s just too much going on.


It’s a great time of year to incorporate them into your wardrobe. I prefer to keep the plaids to collared shirts because it looks good on everybody and is really hard to mess up. You can wear them on their own, with the sleeves rolled up, or throw on a nice solid colored sport coat, bomber or trucker jacket over it and the shirt will look great.

As I mentioned earlier, I also love a good windowpane. This looks great on pants, suits, sport coats/blazers and overcoats.

The key to wearing patterns is to make sure the rest of the items in your outfit – pants or jacket/sweater/coat are solid neutral colors. It’s when you start mixing patterns that’ll get you in trouble real quick.

So pick an item in your outfit (normally a shirt, sweater, jacket or coat) for a pattern and then have everything else be a solid color. And also make sure that just like with your ties and pocket squares, you want a color in your plaid to be a similar shade of one of the colors in your pants or jacket/sweater. Then you’ll have a nice, classy and cohesive look.

My Favorite COLOR COMBINATIONS For The Season

Here’s some color combinations I love and use with my clients during this time of year:

  • Green and blue
  • Gray and brown
  • Blue and brown
  • Burgundy and blue
  • Burnt orange and blue

These are my go-to colors and if you stick to these combinations, you’ll look sharp and timeless during this season.

So without further adieu, let’s get into the Men’s Fall and Winter Essentials.

Men’s Summer Essentials Ebook

In this ebook, I’ll detail the items you need for summer, why you need them, and where to get them – in designer and budget-friendly options.

These items will work very well with the rest of your year-round essentials, so if you haven’t seen that series, check it out first.

My goal is to ensure you’re comfortable, wearing appropriate colors and items for the season, while looking amazing and not like a douchebag.

So download the book, pour a glass of… something (I prefer rosé) and let me show you the good stuff!

Top 10 Men’s Summer Essentials – Bean Boozled Edition With Andrew Snavely from Primer Magazine

Andrew Snavely from joined me to compare our lists of the Top 10 Men’s Summer Essentials – with a disgusting twist.

If you don’t know the Bean Boozled Challenge, it’s a game where you have a 50/50 chance of getting a delicious jelly bean or one that’s flavored something like vomit, skunk, rotten eggs and a whole host of really vile flavors.

If our items didn’t match up, we had to spin the wheel of doom and see what flavors we got. I wish I could say this is the first time I’ve played this game, but unfortunately, I’ve had the pleasure of playing it before.


Straw Panama Hat

Nick Fouquet Straw Hat

Borsalino Straw Hat

J. Crew Paulmann Panama Hat with Indigo

Rag & Bone Sewn Straw Fedora

Rag & Bone Panama Hat

Zara Straw Hat

Brixton Pacific Fedora

Tortoise Shell Sunglasses

Tom Ford Snowdown

Tom Ford Frank

Ray Ban Clubmast Flash Lenses

Ray Ban Clubround

Persol Classic

John Varvatos Prince

John Varvatos Bond

Warby Parker Ames

Tote Bag

Frank Clegg Tall Tote

Jack Spade Canvas Tote 

Jack Spade Dipped Coal Bag

Saturdays NYC Reece Tote

Stanley & Sons Leather Tote

Herschel Tote Bag

Uri Minkoff Tote

Boat Shoes

Bottega Veneta Intrecciato Leather Boat Shoes

Sperry Top Sider Authentic 2 Eye

John Varvatos Schooner Boat Shoe

John Varvatos Star Boater Clip

Polo Shirt

Designer Options

John Varvatos Black Silk Cotton Hampton Polo

Sunspel Charcoal Jersey Polo Shirt

Tom Ford Navy Polo Shirt

Burberry Navy Silk Cotton Polo

Theory Black Boyd Polo

Budget-Friendly Options

H&M White Cotton Polo Shirt 

H&M Black Cotton Polo

Uniqlo Navy Dry Pique Short Sleeve Polo Shirt

J.Crew Black Pique Cotton Polo

Unlined Sport Coat

Brooks Brothers Seersucker Sport Coat

Brooks Brothers Herringbone Irish Linen Sport Coat

Givenchy Slim-fit Cotton-Blend Seersucker Blazer

J. Crew Ludlow Blazer in Italian Linen

J. Crew Ludlow Blazer in Italian Cotton

Loro Piana Ecru Woven Wool Silk & Linen Blend Blazer

Loro Piana Blue Toledo Slim-Fit Stretch-Cotton Blazer

Oliver Spencer Blue Theobald Slim-fit Linen & Cotton-blend Jacket

Saturdays x Mr. Porter Lumax Blazer

Theory Blue Rodolf Slim-fit Stretch-cotton Blazer 

Zara Linen Blazer

Swim Trunks

Everest Isles Daupner Short

Everest Isles Jacktar Trunk

Everest Isles Mayol Trunk

H&M Solid-Color Swim Short

Joe Fresh Men’s Board Short

Joe Fresh Men’s Board Short

Saturdays NYC Colin Boardshort

Saturdays NYC Danny Boardshort

Saturdays NYC Grant Offset Stripe Boardshort

Zara Basic Classic Swimsuit

Zara Basic Fashion Swimsuit

Chino Pants

Designer Options

Rag & Bone ‘Fit 2’ Slim Fit Khaki Chino

RRL Slim Fit Sand Chino

Tomas Maier Slim Fit Sand Chino

Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Navy Slim Fit Chino

Burberry Slim Fit Stretch Navy Chino

Rag & Bone ‘Fit 2’ Slim Fit Army Green Chino

Burberry Straight Fit Taupe Chino

Todd Snyder Navy Straight Fit Chino

Z Zegna Straight Fit Beige Chino

Budget-Friendly Options

Uniqlo Navy Men Slim Fit Chino

H&M Beige Chino Slim fit

JCrew Straight Fit ‘1040’ Navy Chino

How Should A Blazer Fit?

The short and honest answer for how should a Blazer fit is exactly how a Suit Jacket should fit, so if this article looks familiar, it’s because it’s pretty much the same advice.

How long should a Blazer be?

The length of your blazer will dictate how “balanced” your upper body is to your lower body. The blazer should end around mid to lower crotch. Mid-crotch if you’re under 5ft 9inches, lower than that if you’re taller than 5′ 9″.

A tailor can shorten your jacket up to an inch without messing up it’s proportions, but they can never really let much out because there’s no fabric there. Overall, you generally want this part to already be perfect when you’re buying a blazer, even off the rack.

Crotch Measurements

Blazer Sleeve Length

While wearing the blazer – when you bend your wrist, so your palms are facing the ground, the sleeves should be about ¼” above the top of your hand. A lot of people recommend that it hits the top of your hand, but that’s bullshit – then none of your shirt sleeve will be showing. This length allows for a little bit (¼”) of your shirt sleeve to peek through. If your sleeves are longer, a tailor can easily fix that. If they’re shorter by more than an inch, ditch the jacket, the sleeves can’t be let out enough to fit properly.



You want the shoulder seams of the blazer to end where your shoulders end – where they start curving down to your arm, basically. You should see no divots or wrinkles in the shoulders anywhere. The shoulders should lay perfectly flat, with no divots or rumpling or pulling on the shoulders. If you have more rounded shoulders, the seam should still end in the same place, you would just need a little more padding in the shoulders to make them appear less rounded. If the shoulders are too big or small, a tailor will have a very hard time fixing this, and it would be very expensive – if it was even possible. So ensure these fit properly when buying a blazer from anywhere, as well. 

RealMenRealStyle has this awesome graphic showing the proper shoulder fit.

shoulder fit graphic


With the top button fastened (never the bottom button), the blazer should lightly hug your midsection, but not feel tight or constricting. It shouldn’t be pulling at the button, creating an ugly “X”. The X mean’s it’s too tight. If it’s roomy around your stomach/waist area, you can (and should!) have a tailor take in the sides of the jacket so it fits properly. This is a very easy and common fix for a tailor to do. Remember: For tailoring purposes, it’s better to have a jacket that’s slightly too big in the body than too small.



The collar should rest against your shirt collar, which in turn should rest against the back of your neck. All of these should touch lightly, without significant gaps in between. If there’s a gap, it’s too loose. If there’s bunching just under the back of the jacket collar, it’s too tight or the stance of the jacket is off.



They should be high, but not so high that they’re cutting into your armpit. The picture below shows where the armholes should be on your blazer. Notice it’s not cutting into his armpit? They should be large enough that you don’t notice them, but not so big that you have a few extra inches between your armpit and the bottom of the hole. The arms should be able to move somewhat independently of the jacket’s body during normal motion, but not excessively.

While I’m speaking about blazers and motion, a lot of guys who are new to wearing dress clothes usually complain that they should be able to move their arms more while wearing them. Let me tell you that a blazer is not activewear, so don’t think you should be able to do everything you normally do while wearing a blazer. It’s just not built for that purpose.


Button Stance

The blazer’s second button from the bottom (aka the top button) should lie just above your belly-button, never below. My rule of thumb is no more than about an inch above and never, ever below. Otherwise it’ll throw off your body’s proportions and you’ll look really odd.


The Best Men’s Blazer/Sport Coats

See my Navy Blazer/Sport Coat Essential Article for my favorite blazers that every man should own.