“A man who wears a vest is a man with nothing up his sleeve.” -Ancient Banana Republic proverb
We all enjoyed light jacket season for the few hours it lasted, but as humidity thickens and the heat of the summer looms, there are few truly tolerable layers — soon even tshirts and polos will seem like too much. Men who favor tailoring might try linen sportcoats, or safari-style jackets, which look amazing but really are really only a half measure toward keeping cool.
A more casual (and more literal) half measure may be the vest. The cliched metaphor for optimism vs pessimism is how you see a half glass of water: is it half full, or half empty? Is a vest halfway to a jacket? Or a sad jacket butchered of its sleeves? I don’t have the answer, but I do like vests.
The taxonomy of vest boils down to two types: storage-oriented vests (better for warm weather) and insulation-oriented vests. Photographer’s and safari vests fall into the storage category–when it comes down to it, they’re just grouped pockets you drape over your shoulders. In the last few years, designers have taken this concept further, creating vests and “chest rigs” (it’s a whole Alyx category) that are really more bags than clothing, and walking the line between utility wear and fetish harnesses. I find those designs, with their body-hugging fit and 3D pockets, conceptually interesting and even fun, but well beyond the comfort zone of wearability for me (not to mention budget).
Photographer’s-style vests are usually lightweight with a ton of pockets. Although their history is hard to pin down, as cameras and gear became more portable in the mid-20th century, it’s likely that pro (and then amateur) photographers started wearing fishing vests to carry many rolls of film, extra lenses, and other gear they might need within arm’s reach when shooting on the fly. True fishing vests are often short (so they don’t get wet when you’re wading), while photo vests are usually waist length or longer. Most often, they’re khaki-toned.
Modern photographer’s vests have gotten more and more tactical looking, and are considered pretty nerdy even within the photography community; handy, sure, but almost a costume.
Vintage versions from outfitter brands like Banana republic, Willis and Geiger, or L.L. Bean are moderately more wearable. There’s some overlap here with adventure/safari vests. The easiest to wear are the simplest — fewer epaulets and D rings, solid rather than mesh pockets, etc. Designer takes like Engineered Garments are more removed from their origins and therefore easier to wear without a Leica or knowledge of darkroom processes.
Whether they’re technically photographer, bush/safari, or fishing vests, when worn outside of their intended environment, they often look best as a top layer. They work better with tshirts, in my opinion, than collared knits/polos. They’re a natural fit with collared wovens like chambray button downs, and can look surprisingly OK with sweatshirts. Simpler vests can layer under casual/work-influenced button jackets from brands like Universal Works or Margaret Howell.
The Filson is a little trickier; in plaids it’s hard for me to disassociate from the Daniel-Plainview-in-the-city, Red Wings and tight selvage denim outfit that dominated casual menswear for a long time. In quieter tones, the design can be a great insulating layer — there’s little question the Filson fabric is hard wearing and warm. Wearing them with other outdoors, but not hunting-oriented, clothing can soften the skeet shooting vibe. Lines like Sassafras, or vintage workwear styles like Old Town or Le Laboureur do this well.
I stumbled across this outfit and thought it was easy, comfy, versatile, and fabulous. Combine a pair of dark wash jeans with a top in a shade of grey, taupe or white. Layer a trendy long blazer over the lot and add dressy metallic footwear.
In this case the shoes are silver, but any metallic is good. I can see a silver, grey, white, or red bag and silver statement jewellery finish off the look.
Feel free to substitute the black jacket for a dark neutral like charcoal or dark blue. The topper needn’t be extra long, but sharp and tailored are important. Feel free to tuck or semi-tuck the top and add a belt if that’s more to your taste. I can see black jeans work quite well, but the dark blue is more crisp and interesting to my eye. Who likes this vibe?
Business casual is a dress code men are confronted with everywhere, but what does it really mean? In this Business Casual Guide for men, we answer this question in detail, share DO’s and DON’Ts and provide specific advice on what you can wear so you are dressed to the T.
Until recently, the Business Casual attire dress code did not exist. There was simply daywear and evening wear. During the day, men would wear a stroller coat or a morning coat for business. In the evening they would change into a tailcoat for dinner and events. Once retiring for bed, pajamas would be donned as would a dressing gown, but the chance of anyone seeing them wear them (besides their spouse and perhaps a valet) was slim to none. The most casual attire a gentleman might wear would have perhaps been a tweed suit while shooting or for a walk in the park.
Around the turn of the century, black tie made its mark and the tuxedo overtook the white tie dress code in popularity. Business suits became the standard daywear for decades.
Business Casual for Men Changes with the Office Environment and the Job
Aloha Friday Paved the Way for Business Casual
Then came 1966. Until then, casual wear was worn on the weekends at home, but if you worked in an office, you wore a suit and a tie. There was no debate about what was appropriate office attire. Then, a company that made Hawaiian shirts began to strategize how they could increase their profits and a brilliant ad agency in Hawaii came up with the idea of “Aloha Fridays”.
They began petitioning local businesses to allow their employees to wear the Hawaiian shirt on Fridays. Initially penned as a way of showing local pride, it ended up quickly becoming a trend and a popular way of avoiding the rat race of corporate America. The fad began to catch on and soon it hopped off the Islands and made its way to the mainland.
Vintage Hawaii Shirt by Penney’s
Dockers Ad Campaign Brings Khakis To The Office
By the early 1990s, Levis began to notice the trend on the mainland and many of its customers in upper management began complaining that their employees were too casual, wearing shorts and t-shirts to work. The sale of jeans was in decline and so they took it as a chance to market their new brand called ‘Dockers’ to the corporate community.
They began to launch expensive ad campaigns for their khaki pants and it took off. Employers looked at it as a fair compromise between shorts and suits and the employees agreed. As this was occurring, television shows like Saved by the Bell and movies about wealthy country clubs began showing the Preppy, Ivy and Trad styles to those outside the Northeastern United States. Companies like Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren and J.Crew jumped on the opportunity to increase the sale of their casual wear. They began marketing polo shirts, sports jackets, shirts and chinos as perfect options that worked flawlessly or better than the Levi Dockers brand. It was a revolution of sorts.
How is Business Casual Defined Today for Men?
Business Casual Outfit by Hogtownrake – Single Breasted Blazer with popover shirt, cotton pocket square, khakis, and brown tassel loafers
Business Casual in a Nutshell = No Suit, But Also No Jeans
Obviously, that is just a general guideline but in order to nail the business casual look, you have to adapt to your specific company culture. Also, your age is important and the older you are, the more formal your business casual outfit should be.
Business Casual in Traditional White Collar Jobs: Law Firms, Banks, Accounting Firms
If business casual attire is allowed in this kind of work environment it is the most formal of all business casual dress codes and it consists of the following items:
1. Blazer or Sport Coat
The blazer is an essential part of a business casual wardrobe. Avoid gold buttons and stick with dark colors. Navy is the most classic color and your best bet. Single breasted is the standard while a double-breasted navy blazer can look more powerful. To learn more about the blazer in general, check out our blazer guide.
If you wear a sports coat, opt for something subdued with a subtle pattern and avoid loud summery colors.
Oxford Cloth Shirt Button-down shirt – A Business Casual Staple
2. Long Sleeved Dress Shirt
Wear a cotton dress shirt in light blue or pastel colors. An Oxford dress shirt is absolutely appropriate for business casual wear and can be worn in a relaxed state by keeping the top button undone or wearing a more casual knit tie with it. A simple white oxford shirt is the ideal shirt for business casual wear as it can be elevated to business attire for a last minute meeting with the addition of a tie kept in your desk drawer and a blazer thrown over the top.
Neckwear is optional but it certainly elevates your outfit. Ideal ties include grenadine ties or knit ties because they perfectly underline the business casual character. Bow ties certainly make a statement, and when in doubt stick with the tie.
Jeans should not be worn but the jacket and shirt are ideal
5. Dress Pants
A pair of solid navy, grey or even charcoal dress pants pleated or flat front are the perfect choice for business casual wear. With a dress shirt neatly tucked into it, and a blazer or sports jacket you are good to go.
Small Houndstooth pattern ideal for Business Casual
6. Chinos / Khakis
Chinos are appropriate in many casual work environments, but should ideally be paired with a contrasting blazer to elevate their casual heritage.
7. Corduroy Pants
Cords can also be worn in lieu of chinos during the colder months of the year. The same rules apply to corduroys as they do to chinos.
Business Casual Mens by hogtownrake – Cardigan Madder inspired tie that extends beyond the waistband with suspenders, and vintage watch
A sweater vest, cardigan or turtle neck works well during the colder days in addition to your sports coat or blazer. Simply worn over a collared shirt it is only appropriate for Casual Friday. In general, a knitted vest will always make a formal garment more casual.
Accessories are a great way to distinguish yourself from the pack. Choosing a knit tie or pocket square for your blazer pocket will make you look very dapper. Depending on your environment, a boutonniere or a collar pin may work as well, but when in doubt, skip it.
You could also consider a more casual wristwatch with a more formal outfit or pairing a dress watch with a more casual outfit to add a touch of elegance.
Cufflinks are also a good way to enhance your outfit, just like tie bars.
Wrist bands are a bit too casual and when in doubt, skip them.
Full Brogue Oxford with a beautiful chestnut brown patina
Sometimes you see grown men wearing backpacks with their business casual outfits. That’s a faux pas and it makes you look like a little school boy. Instead, go with a leather bag in brown or black that works for you. Whether it’s classic, functional or sleek, clean and modern you can find hundreds of leather bags in various price ranges.
Business Casual in the Service Industry
If you work in the service industry, in sales, trade positions or a job where you interact with the public, you should adapt the business casual standard above.
If you are just at the office and you don’t have customer contact, your employer will most likely have a more relaxed attitude when it comes to business casual.
Hogtownrake combines a light sports coat with charcoal pants and a brown wool knit tie, a blue shirt, and a cream pocket square
It’s likely that wearing a jacket is optional. So if you don’t want to go with just a dress shirt and a blazer would be too much, consider wearing a vest or a cardigan instead.
The button-down collar shirt is another classic shirt that is acceptable for business casual wear. Alternatively, a long-sleeved polo shirt is acceptable too, if others wear it in the office as well. You don’t want to be the only one wearing polos though.
In this scenario, business casual does not mean wearing t-shirts, casual sweaters without a collared shirt underneath, hoodies, pullovers or any other style of shirt.
Checked Shirt Fabric – Ideal for Business Casual
Neckties and bow ties are completely optional, yet they look great with vests, jackets and cardigans.
While dress pants are ok, chinos, khakis, and corduroys are the best choice. Dark colors such as navy and grey are versatile, although lighter colors are preferable for the warmer months of the year.
Pants such as denim jeans, athletic wear, sweatpants, draw-string pants, shorts, and cargo pants should not be worn, nor should any pant with a camouflage print or large visible logo.
Navy pants, burgundy vest, and tweed jacket – business casual in the fall
5. Sweaters & Accessories
If you decide not to wear a jacket, sweaters and knit vests or cardigans become your best friends. Not only will they keep you warm, but they also look stylish all while adding that casual note to your outfit. Accessorize your outfit as you please but try not to add too many accents, otherwise, people don’t know where to look.
6. Shoes & Boots
Skip sneakers and tennis shoes but you can choose from a wide range of classic shoes in various materials such as leather, suede, and fabric.
Leather bags are best but if you want a canvas-leather or all canvas bag may work as well. You can be more daring with your color choice and go with green, yellow, blue or red if you want.
In young start-ups, this would be an appropriate business casual outfit
Business Casual in Startups
Startups are generally much more casual than traditional jobs. They will likely also not have a company dress code but the hierarchies are typically low and often people can wear whatever they want, especially in a tech related environment.
In most places a jacket is probably too overdressed. Is your startup that place? You’ll figure it out pretty soon. At the same time, startups often have a very accepting culture so if you enjoy dressing up, wearing a jacket the way you like it is a good thing.
2. Shirts, Sweaters & Neckwear
While most startups would consider a t-shirt to be just fine, a nice trim cut polo shirt looks much smarter. Sweaters are perfectly acceptable and neckwear is definitely not the norm but again, if you like it, go for it.
Bold sport coats are too much for traditional business casual but in start-ups they are fine
3. Pants & Shorts
While it’s totally fine to wear denim at most startups, and you can even find people wearing cargo shorts, you are probably better off wearing lightweight summer slacks such as seersucker because no matter what you do in life, people will at least subconsciously judge you based on what you look like. Being perceived as being well put together will never hurt you, but being a slob can. Consider wearing a sports coat with jeans for a polished casual look.
Appropriate business casual attire for young men in a start-up
4. Shoes & Boots
A nice pair of boots or shoes will always make you look more dapper than wearing sneakers. Instead of just going with brown, you can be more playful and wear stone, red, green or blue suede loafers, driving mocs or spectators. Of course, sneakers or stylish canvas shoes can be acceptable too, and even though some coworker may wear tennis shoes, you will look better without them.
A portfolio or a leather/canvas bag is your best bet. In terms of colors, anything goes, even though a bright pink bag with pokemon on it may not reflect positively on you. If you are into tech, bags with built-in chargers, cables and camera compartments will satisfy your needs but please, skip the backpack.
A great business casual outfit with button-up shirt outerwear and accessories
Business Casual Outerwear & Accessories
When your job means being on the move, it’s a great idea to ensure your outerwear matches your indoor attire because that active jacket you wear skiing or hiking does not go well with your sports coat.
Lightweight, warm and classic the quilted jacket is slightly longer than your blazer and makes you look instantly well put together. At the same time, it is easy to care for, wrinkles easily and can be machine washed.
During the fall and spring season, a trench coat will look very dapper. To learn all about this garment, check out our trench coat guide. For a more youthful look, with a trench coat, that is shorter than your knees.
For the cold winters, a pea coat is the perfect business casual companion because it is less formal than a full-fledged overcoat yet still warm, stylish and functional due to its many pockets. To learn more about peacoats click here
Jeans & sports coat: This is too casual for business casual unless you work in a young startup office or tech environment
Business Casual DON’Ts: When in Doubt, Dress Up
Jeans should be avoided in a traditional office or service environment unless approved by management
If you are unsure of whether business casual is allowed in your workplace or not, it is best to err on the side of caution and to be overdressed rather than underdressed. Wear a suit and tie the first day. Then you can see how people dress around you and adapt. If you are still unsure about what is appropriate, ask your coworker or superior.
Business Casual DON’Ts to Avoid
Even for the most casual workplaces, there are times where business casual simply isn’t appropriate. Here are a few of the times you will want to wear a more conservative outfit such as a business suit:
When you have an important meeting with clients or customers outside your normal range of duties
When you have a meeting with a manager or executive in the organization
When you will be attending a board or committee meeting
During work-related events, conferences, and symposiums
When representing your company in the media or speaking at an event
When interviewing for a position or negotiating a raise with your employer
When you work for a firm with a policy that does not permit the regular wearing of business casual attire
Works for most offices. Wonderful business casual outfit for fall with brown suede double monks and green turtleneck
What about Casual Friday? It Depends
Some companies do not support business casual attire but they will allow it on Fridays, others even allow very casual clothing on Fridays. Talk to your coworkers and your boss to find out how your company handles Friday dress codes.
In case there is a more casual dress code for Fridays, but you notice that senior management doesn’t dress that way, you should consider following their lead. It’s more advantageous for you to dress for the job you want, rather than the job you have.
Business Casual for men is not easy to master because it means different things at different offices and events. Using our guidelines will give you a good place to start.
Finally, remember to use this rule of thumb: if you’re unsure whether it’s appropriate, chances are it’s not! Dress up a notch because it is always best to be slightly overdressed rather than slightly underdressed.
Many of my business casual clients can wear a leather, pleather, Ponte or knitted type of a moto jacket instead of a blazer to work as a topper. It gives their blazers a break, makes them feel less classic, more fashionable, and changes things up. Most look for a lightweight and streamlined moto with fewer bells and whistles, minimal hardware, and in a tailored fit. Black, navy, grey, olive, taupe and burgundy motos are the most popular. Some have thrown teal, purple, blush, cream and red motos into the business casual mix. Shorter motos work particularly well with dresses and skirts, which is an outfit formula I covered last week.
I found fab examples of business casual moto looks with pants. Two of the renditions incorporate jeans because some of my clients can wear black or white jeans to work (but not blue). Allow the combination of silhouettes to inspire you, and sub your colours and patterns to suit your taste.
1. Simon Le Bon
If this outfit were black and white, it would be very similar to what the lead singer of Duran Duran wore at his 1985 concerts. High-waisted, baggy, pleated and tapered FULL-length pants with a tucked top and short boxy jacket scream the ‘80s. The combination is hip and trendy in 2019, and looks fably fresh. The high waist and tucked top are an acquired taste, and best suited to a longer torso. Sub the mock T-neck with a neckline that’s more to your taste. The Western boots add an on-trend touch. The full-length pants and high waist elongate the the leg line. The collarless moto is great on a shorter neck. A wonderful androgynous look.
2. Playful Wide Crops
This is my favourite of the four because the jacket is bright and white footwear is my thing. That said, you can wear the look in your colours. Combine wide crops with a shorter top, a moto, and tailored booties or pumps. Feel free to tuck or semi-tuck the top, or leave it untucked. The tie-waist on the crops is not essential.
3. Wide Legs & Dressy Flats
It’s fresh and fun to see tailored wide legs worn with dressy flats, which to my eye looks just as professional as pumps and dressy boots. Tucking the top elongates the leg line from the hips upward, which is an effective styling tool when combining flats with wide legs. Choose a shorter top if tucking and semi-tucking is not your thing. The black moto adds hard edge, and the white loafers soften things right back up. You could sub oh-so-trendy white sneakers for the loafers – but that would not be business casual.
4. Earthy Graphic
Combine white jeans with a black top, black boots, and finish off the look with an earth-toned moto. Throw in a bag that tickles your fancy. Brown looks serene, and black works with the palette. I’d have thrown in a burgundy, navy or red bag.
Clients who wear black or white jeans for business casual make sure the denim is polished and not distressed, which keeps the vibe dressy and professional, but in a more relaxed way. You can pop a roomy puffer, cape or cocoon coat over the top for warmth if you need the extra layer.
Kimberly is sporting black faux leather skinny pants with a toffee crew neck sweater. Semi-tucking the sweater lengthens the leg line, so does pairing the pants with high-heeled booties. The suede booties add extra textural interest and echo the sweater colour. Our blogger’s chain-strap crossbody in toffee and black complements her outfit beautifully. Kimberly then adds a bouclé coat in a tailored Modern Classic cut. The rich jewel-toned teal is unexpected and fab with the warm-toned toffee of her sweater and footwear. A chevron scarf with subtle toffee accent, on-trend rib-knit hat with faux-fur pom-pom, and a simple gold pendant finish off the look to perfection.
Holiday parties are a lot more relaxed than they used to be, which brings me to the casual holiday dress. It is comfortable, sleeved and insulating. No form-fitting silhouettes that need shapewear. No need to find the right topper because it’s sleeveless. No worries that your outfit looks best with a jacket, because the dress does all the talking. And you can wear comfortable and practical footwear.
A shout-out to Artful Home where they sell eclectic and arty holiday attire from an XS to XXL (size US2/4 to US18/20). Silhouettes are fluid, a little architectural, and provide ample coverage. I found this site through the wonderful Brenda Kinsel, who wears their items with panache.
Here are some neutral and understated renditions to get you started, but feel free to add more colour and pattern. You might also like the combinations for settings other than casual holiday parties.
1. Arty Tartan
A sleeved A-line dress in a pattern made of substantial fabric WITH pockets and a versatile neckline ticks off all the boxes. It’s warm, comfortable, interesting, festive, forgiving and elegant. Throw it on over leggings or hosiery with a pair of flat or heeled shoes, and Bob’s your uncle. Add bling, a clutch, lippie, and possibly fingernail polish. Brenda Kinsel wears this dress with grace and panache. I love her dressier additions of fishnet hosiery, matching specs, low-heeled ankle strap pumps, and sparkly expressions. You can also keep the look more casual with leggings, skinnies, flats or casual boots.
2. Magical Movement
This type of drapey dress works on most body types. It’s just structured enough through the sleeves and upper torso, and lets the volume and colour-blocking below the bust create movement and interest. Wear it over leggings, skinnies or hosiery, and add anything from ballet flats, booties, and shooties, to oxfords, Docs, pumps and ankle strap looks as footwear. Add festive bling to dress up or dress down this look as much as you like.
3. Cosy Cardi Layers
An A-line shift dress in a jersey or silky fabric looks surprisingly good with a tailored maxi cardigan worn loose like a casual jacket. A fine gauge knit cardigan is dressier than a chunky knit, and can be longer than the dress. Finish off the look with hosiery, boots or pumps, flats or oxfords, and some bling.
4. Sweatered & Booted
A great sweater dress is a beautiful thing because it’s the warmest and most versatile option. The turtleneck midi here has been layered with a cardigan, but you can wear the dress on its own with hosiery and your choice of dressy or casual footwear. You can add a scarf instead of a necklace. Finish off the look with bling and bag that make you smile.
I wore formula #4 to a few casual events last year, but more frequently when I work with clients. It’s a workhorse olive sweater dress from Banana Republic that is my go-to Winter dress. It’s gorgeous quality and hasn’t pilled, stretched out of shape, or shrunk. I wish I had it in other colours. I dress it up with hosiery or boots, shooties, pumps or heeled oxfords, and pick from my large capsule of handbags and outerwear to change up the palette and the mood. I’m happy to pattern mix up to three patterns in an outfit. I’ve also dressed it down with cream hi-top Converse sneakers and a guitar-strap crossbody bag. I often wear it with a scarf for warmth, which I either drape around my neck indoors or take off. Here are the exact items from my wardrobe that I mix and match to create an assortment of outfits.
Online cosmetics retailer Birchbox made its debut inside several Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc stores across the United States on Thursday, one of many e-commerce companies expanding its physical presence to better connect with shoppers and drive sales.
Business casual today is one of the most widely spread dress codes yet it’s often vaguely defined. There’s no point in following all the advice we provide in our videos if your company is extremely casual or extremely formal. You simply have to figure that out and the best way to do that is to observe what others are wearing or to ask your supervisor.
Because you’re in this traditional environment, chances are even business casual is more formal than in other places. Now that doesn’t mean that you should wear your black cap toe oxford because that would still be too formal and while it’s good with suits for business casual, you can be a bit more daring.
For one, that means wearing a derby shoe. Derbys have an open lacing system and because of that, they’re always slightly less formal than an oxford. Also, I would stay clear of black derbys, instead I would opt for brown ones because brown is one of those shades that have just a hundred or thousand different colors with little variations and so you can never have enough brown shoes.
Cognac Brown Derby Full Brogue with 2 inch cuff
When I say brown I also mean red shoes, either reddish brown, burgundy, or oxblood. These are all fantastic colors for business casual even in a formal environment. My favorite derby shoe of mine comes in burgundy, it’s made of a Parisian last which is still quite elegant and so I can work with a suit or for business casual very easily.
Alternatively, I could wear a burgundy monk strap, either in dark chocolate brown or maybe in red. Apart from that color scheme, I would not branch out into others because it would maybe be too casual for such a traditional environment. That means no gray shoes, no olive green shoes, stick with shades of brown and you’ll be good. Whether that’s a very dark brown, a medium brown, chestnut brown, or very light tan, is up to you but just keep in mind the lighter shade of brown, the more casual the shoe.
Flannel Pinstripe with red socks and suede chocolate double monks
Likewise, the more broguing you have on the shoe, the more casual it is. Apart from the color, leather texture can also have a huge impact on how it’s perceived. For example, suede shoes are always softer and more casual. So for example, a dark brown suede shoe will look about as informal or casual as a regular polished leather tan shoe. Overall, it’s very important that your shoes work well not just with the rest of your outfit but with the socks and the pants in particular because they’re right next to your shoe.
Trade, Service, & Sales Industries
If you work in the service industry, in sales, or other trade positions, chances are you still have client contact and even though it’s not required of you to be well dressed, and sometimes it may come off as aloof or not appropriate, people will still judge you and if you look frumpy in sweatpants, people will think less highly of you, they will assume that you’re less competent than if you would wear let’s say a nice dress shirt with a pair of chinos.
Sneakers are not suitable for office wear
If you are just at the office and never have client contact, your employer will likely have specific ideas of what’s acceptable and what’s not. If that’s not your office, I suggest to just stay clear of sneakers because they are quite casual and not work-appropriate shoes.
In this segment, one of my favorite colors is green which is highly underrated in menswear. Just think about adding a dark green oxford full brogue wingtip shoe in suede, it’s quite dark, people wouldn’t notice it right away yet it’s very different than a traditional dark brown wingtip oxford.
Alternatively, a nice olive green with a beautiful patina on an elegant long last is really something that will provide a lot of contrast with the pants and slacks you’re wearing therefore, it’ll stand out in a way but it’s still subtle enough that it could be mistaken for a dark brown shoe at first glance.
Black “dress shoes” with blue soles
Dress Shoe Trends
In recent years, dress shoe uppers with white rubber or sneaker soles have become extremely popular. Now personally, I don’t wear those because I either want to go casual and wear boat shoes or some sneakers or I wear leather dress shoes with a leather sole.
That being said, if you really dig the white rubber soles on a shoe, simply go for it, it’s something that you can wear, you can pull it off, it’s definitely more of a statement and I’ve even seen like red soles, yellow soles, or blue soles, so assume that people will judge you, they will make assumptions about you, and if you’re okay with that and you can wear it confidently, go for it. Of course, if you’re into classic men’s clothing and a traditionalist, this is not an option for you and in that case, stay with nicely polished leather shoes.
Rubber soled double monk strap
What about regular rubber soles? While they are acceptable and no one will ever call you out for it, personally, I much rather prefer leather soles. The sound they make, the way they roll on my foot, the way they feel, all of these are attributes I appreciate about the leather sole and I would not switch to a rubber sole.
So what do you do if it rains heavily you might wonder? Well, I have leather boots with rubber soles because they’re usually a little more casual and if it’s raining a lot, having a lace-up boot that is above my ankle always comes in handy to protect my feet from getting wet and cold.
Apart from the shoes mentioned, you can also experiment with spectators in this segment which again are quite loud and traditionally, you have black and white ones which I think is not such a good combination because it is black, quite formal, white makes it informal.
Instead, a brown and maybe off-white spectator or a navy with a gray spectator are really great. You could think about saddle shoes or just more unusual shoes. In general, though, I always suggest you stay clear of square-toed shoes, rubber soles or any kind of metalwork or reflective letters such as silver or gold because they’re not really part of a gentleman’s wardrobe.
This is too casual for business casual unless you work in a young tech company
Frankly, the sky’s the limit and it can be anything from flip-flops over vans to very extraordinary Gucci loafers. Most startups won’t even have a dress code and so it’s all about what you’re comfortable with and about their culture and how you fit in.
Gucci Horsebit Loafer 1953
Now, just because you can wear anything doesn’t mean everything has the same level of benefits for you. That being said, a nice pair of leather shoes or boots will always make you look more dapper and more grown-up than wearing some colorful sneakers or tennis shoes. In terms of colors or leather textures, really anything under the sun goes here. Even flip-flops or alpargatas are acceptable but frankly, I would simply not wear that but I guess I’m not telling you anything new here.
General Guidelines To Stay Stylish In Your Workplace
Don’t Invest In Shoes That Fuse Modern & Traditional Style
Why you might wonder? Well, matching together formal and informal elements will mean it’s a very trendy shoe and it may be great at the moment but it’s just a fashion and a fad and it will disappear in just a few years of time. So even if you have the highest quality leather shoe with a blue sole, chances are you will be tired of it in a year from now.
Ace Marks Penny Loafers
Instead, buy classically styled shoes and try to find something that works with your style. For example, you can go with medium brown penny loafers or you could go with cordovan tassel loafers. Alternatively, if you want even more casual, you can have suede green tassel loafers which are very casual yet still classically rooted.
Because it’s business casual, broguing or hole perforations or decorations are always welcome and an element you should incorporate if you want to tone things down and make them easier to look at and less formal.
Know When To Step Up Your Shoe Game
For example, think of important meetings with the board, maybe with their most important client, or the CEO who is known to be a clothes horse. In those situations, you definitely want to take it up a notch and put your best foot forward. During work-related events, conferences or symposia where you represent your company or maybe during a media interview, it really pays to have nice leather dress shoes in a darker color because they won’t stand out and people won’t just focus on your shoes but rather on what you say and the point you want to bring across. Likewise, if you’re interviewing for a position, it always pays to put on the proper interview attire.
A perfect outfit for the office
In summary, the dress-code business casual is not easy to master when it comes to shoes because it can mean different things at different times at different companies, however, using the three-tier approach of formal environment, less formal environment, and casual environment, it can really help you to nail it and put your best foot forward.
Last but not least, if you’re unsure whether if something is appropriate or not, chances are it is inappropriate. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have thought about it in the first place and if even that doesn’t help, always keep in mind being slightly overdressed is always favorable to being slightly underdressed.
Most of my clients wear long cardigans with a lot of enthusiasm. They enjoy the comfort, ease, relaxed vibe, and forgiving fit over the shoulders, bust and midsection. Long cardigans are especially good for a work-at-home lifestyle, or as a topper to keep at the office for when it’s chilly.
The maxi cardigan is extra long and dramatic, and that’s the showpiece for this outfit formula. If it’s a little too long for your taste, substitute the maxi for a shorter version that is just above the knee.
Here are four easy outfit ideas that look fresh. Choose any colour palette and feel free to throw in patterns.
1. Draped & Booted
Combine a pair of slim-fit jeans or pants with a draped knit or woven top that’s worn over the jeans. Top it off with a maxi cardi and scrunch the sleeves for structure. Finish off the outfit with booties, pumps, oxfords or loafers.
2. ‘90s Fabness
I’m not a ‘90s gal, but I do like the subtle allure of this combination, and that the boots are flat. Combine a soft and flowy midi dress with a maxi cardi. Scrunch the sleeves for structure. Finish off the look with a pair of tailored and high-shaft tough boots. This is a fab way to insulate a dress, and dress down a dress. Add hosiery for warmth.
3. Wide Crops & Waisted
Combine a fluid or fitted top with a pair of wide crops (culottes will do just fine). Tuck or semi-tuck the top for structure. Wear a shorter top if tucking is not your thing. Top it off with a maxi cardigan and a pair of shoes that work with the outfit. The white sneakers here effectively pick up the white of the tee and bookend the model’s blonde hair.
4. Bootcuts Your Way
Combine a pair of bootcuts or wider flares with a fitted or fluid top. Wear the top your way — tucked or untucked — and create a high or low contrast with the bootcuts. Wear flats or heels but make sure the length of the flares are perfect (as you see here). Top the lot off with a maxi cardigan. Finish off the look with jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.
I will sit this one out because I’m not a cardigan gal, and especially not a long cardi gal. They make my narrow shoulders look even narrower, and further lengthen my very long neck. As a result I don’t feel fab in a cardigan, unless you take me back to the ‘80s when I wore long cardigans with gigantic shoulder pads and loved it. I will enjoy this look on YOU.