Business Casual Attire For Men & Dress Code Explained with Lookbook Outfits


Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette! In today’s video, we discuss the business
casual dress code. We explain what it is, what it’s not, and
of course we talk about history. Initially, there was daywear and eveningwear. People would wear a formal lounge suit to
the office. If you want to learn more about these dress
codes and what they mean, please check out our in-depth dress code primer 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. It was basically to show your support for
the island, Hawaii and so people would start wearing these Hawaiian shirts on 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. Then came the khakis. Even though khakis have an Indian background,
they came to the US through the British and if you want to learn more about chinos and
khakis, stay tuned for a video. Basically, Levis marketed the hell out of
their new dockers brand and all of a sudden, those khaki or chino pants became somewhat
acceptable in an office environment. At the same time, TV shows like save the bell
and movies showed a more preppy style as well as chinos in a context so people saw it more
and found it more acceptable to wear even in a more formal office environment. Eventually, brands like Brooks Brothers, Ralph
Lauren and J. Crew caught on the trend and advertised Polo shirts that would work with
the Khakis, as well as khakis themselves and eventually, that’s what people wore to the
office. So what does business casual mean in a nutshell? Basically, it means no suit but also no jeans. Obviously, there’s a lot in between and what
exactly business casual means really depends on your company and the culture. Because business casual can mean different
things to different people in different companies, we created three different profiles. 1. White collar business casual – Bank, law firm,
accounting firm 2. Service business casual or more relaxed office
environments 3. Startup Business casual Based on these three types, you should be
able to figure out where your company fits in and what business casual means in that
context. Alright, let’s get started with the white
collar business casual dress code. The core piece in your wardrobe would be the
dark navy blazer. it’s a more traditional environment, it’s best to skip shiny, gold,
or metal buttons, they’re too naval inspired. Stick with just dark horn buttons. Stick with a single breasted and notched lapel
look for a very normal appearance. If you want something more powerful, go with
peak lapels and double breasted. If your office is business casual, of course
you can always wear a blazer but you can also go with other kinds of sport coats that are
patterned, for example, what I’m wearing here right now would be a little too bright for
these environments, go with something darker. 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. Popular colors start with white and light
blue, you can also go with other shades of pastel. Of course, you can also go with small checks. If you want, especially when you have a solid
blue blazer, you can either wear a shirt unbuttoned at the top but make sure to have two buttons
max, open or you can have casual ties such as this knit tie from Fort Belvedere which
gives it a casual look but still more formal than having it unbuttoned. Other good options for neckwear include grenadine
or stripes. If you gow ithout any neckwear, make sure
that your undershirt is never visible because it has a very cheap appearance. A lot of people make that mistake. 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 so you can have a small pattern like light grain, charcoal houndstooth, for
example, or very small checks, or some twill texture. During the winter time, corduroys are okay
too especially if there’s enough contrast. When it’s cold outside, you may want to add
a sweater vest or a regular vest, that’s okay too. It can be contrasting but make sure it’s not
too bold. As far as accessories go, I’d suggest you
skip the boutonniere but 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. cufflinks are okay, rings are okay, even a
collar pin is okay. With wristbands, I’d be more careful because
it may seem out of place. For shoes and boots, you can basically wear
anything in the color brown, reddish brown, or dark brown, maybe even tan. I suggest you go with derby shoes or loafers,
maybe even full brogue oxfords and if you want to learn more about these shoes, check
out our full guide, here. During the winter, boots are fine as well. Since you’re at the office, you should always
bring a bag. Avoid backpack because they make you look
like a little school boy. 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. Next up let’s talk about the business casual
dress code in a more relaxed environment such as the service industry. 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 wear a jacket you could be a little
bolder. The one I’m wearing here right now would be
ideal because it’s lighter, a little more casual, wearing a boutonniere with a pocket
square but no neckwear. 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, if you choose
to wear one, you can have something a little more brighter or something with more texture
such as knit ties ir grenadine. Of course, shantungs or stripes are fine as
well. At this level, denim or jeans are still not
okay to wear unless you’re in a very casual environment, otherwise, I suggest chinos or
khakis are your go-to pair of pants because they work with everything, you can wear jackets
or not, and you’re always appropriately dressed. 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, you should skip the tennis
shoes, you can have maybe a leather sneaker. 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 but, you should still
have a bag and not a backpack. Of course, a vintage leather patina bag is
always appropriate and looks phenomenal. If you work at a startup or an extremely casual
environment, bascially, anything goes. Most people will never ever wear a jacket,
some will come in tshirts and cargo shorts and flip flops. While that may be acceptable, it’s certainly
not business casual. That aside, appearances matter and people
will always judge you even subconsciously based on the way you look. It’s always to your advantage to put your
best foot forward and that means, dressing up a bit more. So rather than having a tshirt, you should
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. Spice up your wardrobe, use some unusual light
blue or baby blue colors, maybe some nantucket red and have some fun accessories such as
wristbands, chains, or some other kind of jewelry that works for you. Just like with clothes, anything goes when
it comes to bags so you can have hypermodern things in camo, as well as leather, or canvas,
it simply depends on what you like and what’s appropriate in your office. That being said, 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 and you can learn more about that garment here. 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 because you can travel with
it, keeps you well put-together, warm and it’s lightweight and comfortable. To learn more about that, click here. If you work in a traditional white collar
environment, having a scarf and gloves not only keeps you warm but also makes you look
dapper. Overall for business casual, always bear in
mind dressing up matters and when in doubt, always be more formal than more casual. When you have a board meeting and you meet
clients, anything out of the ordinary, always take it a notch up or two and your customers
and superiors will thank you for it. If you enjoyed this video, please subscribe
to our channel and you’ll get more videos of this nature right to your inbox.

100 thoughts on “Business Casual Attire For Men & Dress Code Explained with Lookbook Outfits

  1. I have a question: how can we choose a "good" knit tie, how can we identify the quality?

  2. Accounting firms on the west coast seem to be following local business trends and are going more casual. Jeans are now acceptable in the office.

  3. 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!

  4. Jolly good video!
    Will there be any primers on aloha shirts,
    or is that more in the too casual to have camp?

  5. 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.

  6. Best source of classic mens elegance knowledge!

    But… For me the videos seem too formal, "prepared"… In the end it is youtube 😉

  7. Hello Raphael,
    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.
    Thank you,
    Sander

  8. 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.

  9. Hello Raphael
    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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Are full-winged brogued derby [light brown/ brown] considered "OK" as a part of business-casual attire ?

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. This is a fantastic site, unbelievable info. I also loved the Nomos watch cameo, such a great company…

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. what if you have to carry a laptop and some hard drives ? How can we carry that in a bag built for documents ? As to what I know backpacks do that job really well – Could tell what to do then ?

  19. You sir, are a wealth of knowledge. Thanks for the consistently fantastic videos and articles.

  20. 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.

  21. I work in the tech industry, and all of my coworkers, and boss, have laptop backpacks. Nobody carries bags. I would be the odd man out not carrying a backpack.

  22. 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.

  23. Wait, wait, wait … did you just reference "Saved By The Bell" as a founding influence in the "Business Casual" genre of style? LOL

  24. I can feel this guy judging my appearance through the computer screen. Are you trying to tell me that my sweatpants AREN'T business casual? Like, please…

  25. lol this video is horrible….just get to the point. And why is he talking so choppy?!

  26. Wrist bangles look childish no matter what. especially with a suit, it looks ridiculous.

  27. 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.

  28. Please stop saying dapper. You could try using words like stylish or sharp, just don't use dapper.

  29. Wow, I love the color on the Double Monks at 8:05. Could you share the details of those shoes w/ us Sven? Thank You!

  30. this is so useful! I need to get some new wardrobe for my fancy new workplace and I really needed this guide. thank you, good sir 🙂

  31. Can you wear A diamond tip Bow Tie with denim dress shirt and Chinos and Loafers? To A Walmart Job Orientation?

  32. All good minus the purse. I mean bag. Don’t think I could ever bring one of those to work. No one absolutely no one at my workplace has one

  33. He seems like a delightful fellow but he really needs a speech coach. His fluctuations are killing me- I can't follow him with the ups and downs with his speech tempo..

  34. Gabardine, not grenadine. LOL. That messed me up trying to think of the right word for an agonizing 5 minutes.

  35. this guy is one of the most disturbing looking dudes Ive ever watched… that smile…

  36. "don't wear a backpack because it makes you look like a little school boy" lol

  37. Does anyone know what brand and/or model the quilted jacket at 10:19 is?

  38. I work in a very business casual environment where basically clothes are required to cover your skin and I hate it. I wanted to dress up but dress shoes at my office would look stranger than cowboy boots. #FML

  39. Here in Canada people have taken casual Friday to a new high , every one looks like they're going fishing all the time , its terrible.

  40. So where do say, sere sucker, light brown, bolder patterned, etc. suits fit in to a dress code.

  41. just got a second interview at a great job and they said to come in business attire i’m trying to figure out what exactly to wear i don’t wanna go over dressed but under dressed either. should i just go with the whole suit? i want to get one on a budget and only have s few days but i want it to fit just right and make a great impression. i need it for my
    family

  42. Well, I am overdressed, I don't have anything business casual, all I have is a suit that I use when I go to weedings, etc. And my interview is in one hour.

  43. Got a job set up that enforces ‘Business casual’ so thank you so much for the help. I am completely illiterate when it comes to fashion

  44. At my office here in Phoenix we have a pretty causal dress code. Casual Friday’s = dark jeans and nice shoes for most people. I wear a dress shit with a sweater/jacket and dress pants most of the time. I work in commercial insurance btw

  45. why roll up your pants legs when wearing loafers. why the need to show off your ankles? This fad needs to die off already.

  46. Business casual needs to be explained? Shorts, tee shirt, flip flops, a cooler of brewskis, meeting in the west conference room at 2 PM, we're doing business casual.

  47. Would a traditional tie with a spread collar shirt (solid colors) be acceptable for a first day at work where the HR Office asked the employees to comply with the following "Dress Code: Business Casual". ? I will appreciate the feedback!

  48. As I transition in my style as I approach 50, I find your videos so informative and entertaining. Thank you for all the hard work and research you put into these videos.

  49. Everywhere but Europe people are going to make fun of you for carrying a "murse." Backpacks are always acceptable in the USA.

  50. This guy freaks me out no offense to the presenter. Like some sort of Hannibal Lecter type

  51. See I usually cling towards the color black, usually with only say a tie or a pocket square being a different color. Usually either red or a nice kind of medium purple.

  52. I'm addicted to watching you, RMRS, and Alpha M. Apparently I heard all 3 of you are good friends and hold conferences in my home town of Atlanta…👍

  53. I have a job interview and I was told to dress business casual and I was like "what the heck is that?" so now I am here, watching this video.

  54. Midtown Uniform dictates that a Patagonia vest be worn in place of a blazer at banks.

  55. I have really enjoyed this look and style. Great work mister. Now I have to get ready to hit the club both this video in style and then Delta Parole – Wasted Music Video that I had watched before this since it just released, motivated me to be the man tonight. Small The Killers namedrop for those that know haha who is also a big fan and what are any of the other beautiful peoples hit the club songs?

  56. I work in the legal side of the cannabis industry, so basically business casual, or even just jeans with a button-up or collared shirt are the norm. I typically go for a pair of steel-toe oxfords (looks great, but ready for anything in the workshop), khaki slacks, and button-up shirt with some kind of floral or geometric pattern on it. Looks sharp enough for people to take you seriously, but doesn't look too stuffy for the cannabis industry. This is one of the few industries where looking TOO stuffy may actually work against you past a certain point. Very, very few people in this industry will be wearing suits.

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