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

Ties

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

Shorts

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.

T-Shirts

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.

Shirt

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

Pants

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

Shoes

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!

Top 5 Men’s Fall Essentials 2017

Since Fall is upon us, I wanted to do an update and supplement to my Men’s Fall & Winter Essentials series. So don’t think of this as a replacement for the series, think of it as a next-tier type of video and article. Enjoy!
 

1 & 2. Denim Jacket + Chino Pants

My first pick for the season is a denim jacket. It’s perfect for this time of year and works equally well during Springtime, too. Not only does it look good on every body type, but you can layer the heck out of them depending on how cool or warm the weather is. I recommend my go-to styling formula for denim jackets: wear with a t-shirt or crewneck sweater and a pair of chinos and boots.

My second choice are olive, tan and burgandy chino pants. Some of my favorite colors for the season are olive green, brown, and burgundy, which you can easily wear with your other casual jackets and sportcoats.

Outfit Details & Notes

$230 – Allsaints denim jacket – One of my favorite denim jackets currently available. I love the lighter wash and distressed touches and the slim fit is incredibly flattering, which is really hard to find in denim jackets.
$20 – Topman striped t-shirt
$68 – J.Crew slim-fit stretch chino pant in green and brown (click here for their straight leg chinos) – I’m shocked at how spot on the fits and material are. The color choices and friendly price have me stocking up on a handful of these for Dorian this Fall (Seriously, I’ve already added the green and brown ones to his closet!).
$128 – Brooks Brothers suede belt in brown
$295 – Allen Edmonds plain-toe chukka boots
$318 – John Varvatos sunglasses
$5 – Perlon Watch Strap

Alternate Denim Jacket & Chinos

$70 – Levi’s trucker jacket – You can never go wrong with the brand’s iconic denim jacket.
$225 – Rag & Bone slim fit chinos – I’m a huge fan of their chinos because they use a stiffer fabric that’s lays really nicely along the ankles and is super flattering on all shapes and sizes, especially if you’re a hefty fella.

3 & 4. Patterned Sweater & Boots

My third Fall Essential is a patterned sweater. Hopefully, you’ve already got the basic, plain sweaters, so now it’s time to add one that has a subtle pattern because it’s an easy way to add a visually interesting element to your outfits. Also, a pattern helps draw attention away from the torso which is especially beneficial if you’re a slim or husky guy.

My fourth Fall Essential is a pair of boots. You can go with leather or suede, dress or casual boots, but for me, I’m all about the taupe suede boots featured below. These are my hands-down favorite for the season because the color is the perfect dark brownish-grey so they can be used in place of brown or black boots.

Outfit Details & Notes

$100 – Topman acid wash bomber jacket
$148 – Brooks Brothers cotton cashmere birds-eye sweater – The softness, color and subtle pattern instantly caught my eye. No matter your shape or size, this sweater is flattering on everyone. They run slightly larger, so you should size down for the best fit possible.
$10 – Topman slim fit t-shirt in white
$118 – Banana Republic slim fit jeans
$350 – Allen Edmonds suede boots in dark taupe
$98 – Brooks Brothers silver buckle leather belt in brown 
$125 – Ray-Ban black sunglasses
$25 – Brown Leather Watch Strap

Alternate Patterned Sweater & Boots

$89 – Banana Republic wool birdseye sweater – I’m so impressed with not only the fit, but by the superior wool you can get for under $100. The brand sourced the wool from Zegna’s factory, which is always high quality and can easily set you back $600+.
$178 – Banana Republic suede work boot

5. Chambray Shirt

My final pick for the season is a chambray shirt. It looks great on its own or layered underneath a cardigan or jacket. I recommend wearing yours with chinos or wool trousers.

Outfit Details & Notes

$55 – Topman chambray shirt – I’m a huge fan of the lighter wash, but it’s worth mentioning that this shirt runs pretty slim, so if you’re a bigger guy, see my alternate choice below.
$68 – J.Crew slim-fit stretch chino pants in green and brown (click here for straight leg chino)
$98 – Brooks Brothers silver buckle leather belt in brown
$179 – Johnston & Murphy chukka boots in mahogany 
$625 – This Is Ground briefcase
$318 – John Varvatos sunglasses
$25 – Brown Leather Watch Strap

Alternate Chambray Shirt

$55 – The Tie Bar chambray shirt – If you don’t want a super slim fit and/or you’re a larger man, then get this shirt instead.

 

Thanks for reading!

2 Budget-Friendly Men’s Summer Essentials

Linen shirts and chino pants are 2 Men’s Summer Essentials that are also great if you live in a tropical, warm climate year-round. I more-than-briefly discussed them in my Summer Essentials Ebook, but since I’m about to leave on a tropical getaway (follow me on Instagram for all the fun), Dorian and I stopped by one of my favorite budget-friendly stores to show you what to get and why.

$20 – Uniqlo Premium Linen Shirt – white, light blue, light grey, and navy
$40 – Uniqlo Slim Fit Flat Front Chino Pants – navy, khaki, and white

Why I love them

  • Their linen shirts are super breathable, well-constructed, have a good, slim fit without being too slim, and they’re budget-friendly. What’s not to love? Be sure they fit according to these fit rules, though.
  • You can pair the shirts with chinos or shorts, either tucked or untucked and throw on some white sneakers, penny loafers, suede driving mocs with a casual belt and you’re good to go for casual or more dressy casual outfits.
  • The chinos have a fantastic slim fit (one of the best I’ve seen, actually) and I love that Uniqlo will hem them for free right after purchasing them in-store. There’s no other budget-friendly brand, that I know of, who does this. Be sure your chino pants are fitting properly before buying, though!

POTW: Johnston & Murphy Burgundy Cap Toes

I was prepping for a fitting, and I came across these Johnston & Murphy burgundy cap toes that I thought you should know about. I’m not normally a fan of burgundy shoes because I often find the color to be difficult to wear and usually ends up being too much of a statement piece. But, these are different because the darker color is closer to a burgundy brown instead of the more reddish-oxblood color you often see with other “burgundy shoes” and that makes them much easier to wear. So, I had to make them my pick of the week!

 

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$155 – Johnston & Murphy Burgundy Conard Cap Toe 

Best Ways to Wear

The decorative broguing along with the brown soles adds a casual look to them making them easy to wear with your summer suits, like a green or navy cotton suit, or with some chinos or dark wash jeans. Blues, greens, and khaki go great with burgundy. If you’re ever unsure how to wear these, just know that whenever you wear brown dress shoes with a more casual outfit, you can easily wear these instead.

I also want to address the contrasting stitching. On more formal shoes it can be very distracting and pull the attention away from your outfit and really focus it on the shoes. But on a casual dress shoe, such as these, it works because you’re never going to be wearing them with a really formal outfit. So if you’re thinking about doing that, then please don’t.

Like I’ve said before, accessories are a great way to add some fun touches to your outfit and these shoes do exactly that.

BurgandyCapToeOutfits_AshleyWeston

 

Look 1

$40 – J. Crew Slub Cotton Deck-Striped T-Shirt
$68 – J. Crew Navy or Green Stretch Chino Pant in 770 Fit
$30 – Uniqlo Slim Fit Flat Front Chino in Navy

Look 2

$69 – Brooks Brothers Selvedge Oxford Sport Shirt
$70 – Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Stretch Jeans (in blue flame, dark hollow and stump town)
$228 – JBrand Tyler Fit in Blue Hood

Look 3

$358 – J. Crew Ludlow Suit Jacket in Italian Cotton Oxford
$188 – J. Crew Ludlow Suit Pant in Italian Cotton Oxford
Shirting – See my dress shirt article
Ties – See my ties article

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 PrimerMagazine.com 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