Introduction

Ah yes, summer. Remember summer? Remember that one time we had sun? I miss those times. Even though the great British summertime isn’t really anything to brag about, the weather we’ve been experiencing in the UK recently has really got me reminiscing; longing for late nights, lost evenings and lots of cider. And more importantly, the chance to delve into my spring/summer wardrobe.

I’m sure that I’m not alone either. However, a change in season also brings with it an element of unease and uncertainty. By now you’re comfortable with the clothes that you wear to work – that trusty navy blazer, those black Derbies and your reliable overcoat. The prospect of change can be a scary thought, and none more so than when it’s set within the blurry, grey-ish confines of ‘business-casual’.

What does that even mean anyway? For some it could be as simple as not wearing a tie with your suit. For others it could mean dressing up your jeans. It’s a net that casts far and wide in this sartorial sea but can often leave you with too much choice to make a decision. After all, the last thing you want is to be frustrated with yourself before you even step foot in the office.

But luckily, that’s where Fashionbeans comes in. We’re here to make that transition from cold to hot just a little more bearable. So, here we go…

Simplicity Is Sophistication

In other words, don’t over think. I mean, realistically, how many clothes are you going to need for the work place anyway? By streamlining your choices, you not only make it easier on yourself but there’s an element of confidence that comes with simplicity. We talk about simple, versatile and classic pieces all the time on this site, and we’re not going to stop any time soon. You know why? Because they work and they always will. End of story.

You know what else we preach about? Buying season appropriate clothing. So when I’m talking about picking up a new piece for this spring/summer season, I’m assuming that you’ll be on the lookout for lightweight cottons and wools along with madras, linen and seersucker in order to keep yourself cool and sweat-free at the office.

So what are these pieces we talk about? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Business Casual Inspiration: Spring/Summer

Before we start breaking down the key pieces you need to develop your own business-casual outfits, take a look at some current lookbook inspiration that embodies the type of aesthetic we are looking to achieve:

Men's Business Casual Lookbook For Spring/Summer

ti for men ss13reiss ss13Armand Basi ss13massimo dutti april 2013el burgues ss13jaeger ss13tiger of sweden ss13Do Rego & Novoa ss13CERRUTI 1881 ss13diegel ss13sandro ss13austin reed ss13
Tailored Pieces

As always, these are the key to any guy’s success at work. ‘Business-casual’ doesn’t really call for a full on suit, so why not invest in a few separates? I’m talking about a navy blazer, some mid grey trousers and perhaps something in a pattern such as Prince of Wales check or a chalk stripe to show that summer’s a time for play, not just work.

Alternatively, ignore the advice above and invest in a cotton/linen suit in brown, beige or tan and wear the hell out of it – together or as separates.

  • He By Mango Linen BlazerHe By Mango Linen Blazer
  • Burberry London Slim-fit Cotton And Linen-blend Suit JacketBurberry London Slim-fit Cotton And Linen-blend Suit Jacket
  • Faconnable Double-breasted Cotton And Linen-blend BlazerFaconnable Double-breasted Cotton And Linen-blend Blazer
  • Gucci Slim-fit Cotton TrousersGucci Slim-fit Cotton Trousers
  • River Island Trevor TrousersRiver Island Trevor Trousers
  • He By Mango Cotton Suit TrousersHe By Mango Cotton Suit Trousers
  • Reiss Rushby Three Button Notch Lapel Linen Suit GreyReiss Rushby Three Button Notch Lapel Linen Suit Grey
  • Asos Slim Fit Linen Suit JacketAsos Slim Fit Linen Suit Jacket
  • Reiss Pinot B Two Button Cotton Blazer TaupeReiss Pinot B Two Button Cotton Blazer Taupe
Shirts

In the summer it’s important to make sure you not only nail the fit but also the tone. You want to have a bit of fun with what you wear. With this in mind, chalky colours (pastels) are big right now, in everything from pink and blue to yellow and lilac. Pair them with a pattern textured neutral tie and jacket.

Or you could go in the opposite direction and pick up a pattern shirt. Plaids were all over the runways in lightweight materials like cotton and madras and they are a perfect way to add a punch to your work wardrobe. Just remember that if they feature a bold pattern or colour, anchor them with a solid neutral tie.

  • Reiss Corden Stripe Shirt MintReiss Corden Stripe Shirt Mint
  • Maison Kitsuné Slim-fit Cotton Oxford ShirtMaison Kitsuné Slim-fit Cotton Oxford Shirt
  • Reiss Navigator Plain Poplin Shirt PinkReiss Navigator Plain Poplin Shirt Pink
  • Reiss Ricolli Long Sleeve Check Shirt DeerReiss Ricolli Long Sleeve Check Shirt Deer
  • Ps By Paul Smith Slim-fit Check Cotton ShirtPs By Paul Smith Slim-fit Check Cotton Shirt
  • J.crew Plaid Cotton ShirtJ.crew Plaid Cotton Shirt
The Casual

Beige chinos are a must. Jeans are not off limits either, just make sure they’re not too heavy and are as dark an indigo as possible. It’ll help if they have a similar fit to your tailored pieces, so avoid straight or bootcut styles if at all possible.

If this seems a bit too much then I recommend investing in a pair of darker chinos in navy, olive or brown. Maybe even get them in linen – the material drapes amazingly well and, if you embrace the wrinkles, can look even better as the day goes on.

  • Mcq Alexander Mcqueen Classic Slim Jeans 145331Mcq Alexander Mcqueen Classic Slim Jeans 145331
  • Reiss Tullum Textured Heavy Canvas Trouser MidnightReiss Tullum Textured Heavy Canvas Trouser Midnight
  • He By Mango Linen-blend Suit TrousersHe By Mango Linen-blend Suit Trousers
  • Brooks Brothers Marco Cotton Trousers 146533Brooks Brothers Marco Cotton Trousers 146533
  • Reiss Scott T Laundered Trouser Dark SageReiss Scott T Laundered Trouser Dark Sage
  • Gucci Slim Cotton-linen Trousers 147413Gucci Slim Cotton-linen Trousers 147413
Shoes And The Rest

If you’re going to buy any new shoe for this upcoming season, make it suede. Whether it’s a chukka, a Derby, a driving shoe or a desert boot – opt for suede and make it work! The more beat up and worn in the suede gets, the better.

The other shoe you need is a penny loafer. Again, they are really big this upcoming season and with a much higher vamp and a more streamline silhouette it’s perfect for the office as well as a night out. Of course, you can still keep your usual black Derbies and chocolate brogues but adding these into your rotation will breathe new life into your business look.

  • Loake Suede Tassel LoafersLoake Suede Tassel Loafers
  • H By Hudson Tyskatu Tassel LoafersH By Hudson Tyskatu Tassel Loafers
  • He By Mango Suede Driving ShoesHe By Mango Suede Driving Shoes
  • Asos Penny Drivers In SuedeAsos Penny Drivers In Suede
  • Tods No_code Suede Desert BootsTods No_code Suede Desert Boots
  • Reiss Deck Slip On Summer Shoes GreyReiss Deck Slip On Summer Shoes Grey
  • J.crew Kenton Suede Derby ShoesJ.crew Kenton Suede Derby Shoes
  • Grenson Ellery Castor Suede Monk Strap ShoesGrenson Ellery Castor Suede Monk Strap Shoes
  • John Lobb William Suede Monk-strap ShoesJohn Lobb William Suede Monk-strap Shoes

As for the details, keep them simple and keep them seasonal. Linen and cotton ties in solid neutrals and bold patterns are as good as each other. Swap your leather watchstrap for a canvas one, and do the same to your work bag too – mine is now a canvas tote rather than the tweed one I designed as part of the FashionBeans x River Island collaboration last year.

Oh, and socks? Sure, losing them is fine but make sure you judge your audience. You don’t want a client thinking you can’t afford socks. If you do need to wear them, invest in thin gauges and make sure they are made from cotton to avoid any hardcore sweating situations. I find talcum powder is my best friend when the weather warms up – whether I’m going sockless or not.

  • Reiss Atari Plain Linen Tie EcruReiss Atari Plain Linen Tie Ecru
  • Beams Plus Cotton-chambray TieBeams Plus Cotton-chambray Tie
  • Ted Baker Drevil – Canvas Messenger BagTed Baker Drevil - Canvas Messenger Bag
  • Mismo Leather-trimmed Canvas Tote BagMismo Leather-trimmed Canvas Tote Bag
  • Allsaints Thetford Canvas Tote BagAllsaints Thetford Canvas Tote Bag
  • Timex X J.crew Timex Vintage Army Steel WatchTimex X J.crew Timex Vintage Army Steel Watch
  • Triwa Blue Stripe Nato Canvas Watch StrapTriwa Blue Stripe Nato Canvas Watch Strap
  • Reiss Vaca Fine Gauge Cotton Knit RoseReiss Vaca Fine Gauge Cotton Knit Rose
  • Pantherella Ribbed Sea Island Cotton-blend SocksPantherella Ribbed Sea Island Cotton-blend Socks
Final Word

So there you have it, a quick introduction on how to nail ‘business-casual’ during the warmer months. I find that as soon as there’s no more need for the trusty shirt, jumper and trousers combination things start to get a little trickier, so hopefully this helps.

As always, I’d love to know what you think, so leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Matt Allinson