Business Casual Attire for Men: How to Dress Guide

by | Sep 16, 2016 | Wear It Right

Have you noticed how popular is the business casual attire nowadays? If you were dressing like this in the past you would probably get fired. Well, times change. Today many work environments are transitioning from a strictly professional to a more casual look. But why is that?

The aim of the business casual attire is to relax the professional look, while keeping it appropriate for business. It helps to break the professional – casual look difference for those working directly with all sorts of clients. Also it makes the normal working days in the office more confortable.

Do you have to dress business casual, or you feel it’s the right way to go? Then you’re lucky because we’re going to show you how to do it right, without risking to look sloppy or unprofessional.

What is This Business Causal Attire Exactly?

An interesting fact is that there is no general definition of what business casual attire is. It varies depending on the country, region, and sometimes even different workplaces in close proximity.

However there are some clear guidelines of what you can and can’t wear that we’ll go through. It’s important to remember that it’s not a casual look, but one meant for business purposes.

You can dress business casual for a normal day at the office, but don’t you dare bring it to an important business meeting or a job interview. Go for it only when a strict business look is not required or even preferred. This is an important point to remember.

Note: If there’s a preferred dress code for a business occasion it’s always better to go for it.

Now let’s get down to the examples and let them clear the picture. We believe that’s the best and most comprehensive way to explain the business casual attire.

Full Suit Without a Tie for Safety

The first way to dress business casual is to wear a full suit without a tie. It’s one step down from business professional and gives you some safety if you still don’t know the dress code in your workplace. If a professional look is required you won’t stick out too much and if things lean more to the casual side just remove the jacket.

For the color choose a conservative one like gray, navy or brown. However it’s better to stay away from the black because it’s too formal for business casual.

Odd Jacket and Trousers in Most Cases

The second and most common approach is to go for odd jacket and trousers. They should not match color and fabric type because we’re not going for a full suit look here. You can also step away from the basic colors like blue, gray and white, but within reasonable boundaries.

For the jacket choose between a sports jacket and blazer. Wearing a jacket will complement your look and keep it leaning toward the business side. For the shirt the choice is a collared dress shirt worn with open collar and two buttons unbuttoned or a tie. If you go for a tie choose a conservative one.

Note: Never go for a tie without a jacket, it just looks out of place.

Wear trousers, chinos or khakis, but never jeans. The jeans are too casual, and although some people wear them it’s better to leave them at home. Remember – always lean toward the business side. It’s better to appear overdressed than underdressed. Looking like you don’t take your job seriously enough is never good.

Note: For your trousers, chinos or khakis go for conservative colors like grey, navy or camel.

Removing the Jacket

The third approach is to just remove the jacket and the tie. This will probably be the case when the hot summer days hit and leave you with no choice. Proceed with caution though because you’re getting closer to the casual side and as we said our priority is business.

Here a collared dress shirt worn with open collar and two buttons unbuttoned is preferred. You can also go for a collared polo shirt. If you do so it’s good to know that you’ll be as close to casual as ever appropriate.

Note: When unbuttoning your shirt if too much skin or chest hair is shown it’s better to unbutton only one button. Some shirts just uncover more space, have that in mind.

For the waist down the choice again is between trousers, chinos or khakis, but no jeans. You’ll probably see preople wearing jeans, but as we sait it’s too casual, stick to the business.

A Few More Points on Your Business Casual Attire


When it comes to colors it’s better to stick to the more conservative ones. A solid light blue dress shirt is always a good choice that adds to a more conservative look. Gray is a good neutral color that you can use for the jacket or trousers and combine it with anything. The navy blue is a great choice too. You can add colors like brown or olive green. However stay away from too bright and eye-catching colors. They can make you look childish and unserious, not a good thing for business.

For shoes choose leather ones like oxfords and loafers, but not sneakers… no, don’t try it. The brown is a good standard color and you can’t go wrong with it. Black is another option. Also choose a belt that matches your shoes.

And one last thing – you should never put on a t-shirt for business casual if such thought ever crosses your mind. Leave it for the casual walks in the park, we’re dressing for business here.

And Now Some Important Final Words


Remember – the purpose of the business casual attire is to dress down the business outfit a bit so you can appear more relaxed and add a personal touch. Don’t let the word casual mislead you, your focus should be on the business.

Also have in mind that the business casual attire varies from office to office, so it’s best to see what is perceived as such in your work place. If you’re not sure it’s always better to go overdressed. You can just remove the tie or jacket if you feel the need. On the other hand you can’t dress up if you’re underdressed and it can leave you in a bad spot.

There you go, now you know how to pull off the business casual look without looking sloppy or unprofessional. Follow these guidelines and you can be sure you’ll look right on point in any situation where business casual attire is appropriate.

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1 Comment

  1. Alexander

    Very helpful info, thank you.


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