So I was on holiday all of last week in Spain and I learned two things from being out there. One; I don’t actually tan, apparently I just freckle. Second, the gap between part one and part two of this business casual segment has been really long. Probably too long some might say. But you know, I was drinking sangria, eating paella and rocking the suits and shorts look – so can you blame me? But never fear, here comes the ending to the story.
We covered your top half in the previous article so now you should understand exactly how essential a few well fitting blazers, shirts and jumpers will be to your every day work outfits. Now all that’s left is to cover up the rest of your naked body, and by this I mean – trousers, shoes and accessories.
Now most workplaces these days are fairly relaxed about wearing jeans so this is a fact I am going to assume for the moment. If they aren’t, then don’t wear jeans. Simple, right? However, some jeans are more work appropriate than others. If you are going to wear some to the office then try to invest in a pair that mimics the shape and silhouette of suit trousers. So we’re talking slim cut (but not skinny) and try to purchase a pair in a dark denim, preferably indigo. This will automatically formalise the jeans and make them perfect for work.
However, if you are not allowed to wear jeans then why not substitute them for a pair of navy chinos? They will work just the same. While you’re at it, invest in a quality pair of camel chinos too. They are a versatile colour and are associated with semi-formal events as well. Again slim – not skinny – would be the ideal fit to purchase.
Finally, I would recommend getting a pair of grey suit trousers to complete your options for your lower half, maybe in a wool or herringbone. These will be your most versatile trousers as they will anchor and coordinate with just about any other colour and as they are part of a suit they instantly smarten up a look.
Now here’s where I would expect you to drop the most money. This because a good quality pair of shoes will last you forever if cared for properly and the fact is the better the quality, the better the shoes will look. Now would also not really be the time to be experimenting with colour too much (even if it is the summer) so stay with black, brown and oxblood.
You will want to get yourself a pair of black derbys because they are essential; they go with everything and are classically simple. Another sound choice would be a brown penny loafer. These will look amazing with your jeans, chinos and suit trousers, and although they are an extremely well structured shoe, they have a laid back appearance.
Finally, I would suggest to round out your collection with either another loafer (maybe in a tassled style or oxblood colour), or a brogue shoe in a tan colour. These can be your go-to shoes; to wear when you need to add a little extra bit of punch to your outfit that day.
Remember to also check out Joseph’s excellent two part guide to shoes and my guide to formal shoes:
OK, so I really shouldn’t have to go over the reasons why you should be wearing a tie to work. Instead, why not read the previous basics article I did on them and realise it on your own.
If you do chose to wear a belt (because you could go belt-less or go one better and wear braces) then keep them on the slim and thin side. None of these big chunky ones please. As always match your belt to your shoes but don’t worry too much about the same shade, there is such a thing as too much.
Finally, man up and get yourself a proper bag to carry all your things in. The go-to would be a nice brown leather messenger bag but another viable option is the new breed of suitcases that have come out over the last few years. They aren’t as angular and clumsy as their older brothers but still big enough to all your old essential papers and a laptop or iPad.
So there you have it guys. I hope that gives those of you out there who don’t want to wear a suit to work a better idea on how to perfectly pull off ‘business casual’.
Until next week,
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