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The Essential Guide to Mastering Business Casual for Men

CEO Tinh Phung
Congratulations on your new dream job! Whether it's your first day at a new company or you're attending a high-profile industry event, dressing appropriately is key to making the right impression. In this comprehensive guide,...

Congratulations on your new dream job! Whether it's your first day at a new company or you're attending a high-profile industry event, dressing appropriately is key to making the right impression. In this comprehensive guide, we will unravel the mysteries of business casual attire, explore its essential elements, and provide you with a complete style guide for different industries.

What Is Business Casual Attire?

State and Liberty 4 1 William rocking the State & Liberty Dress Shirt, State & Liberty Stretch Suit Pants, and Johann Wolff Eyeglasses

In a nutshell, business casual for men consists of a button-down shirt, dress pants or khakis/chinos, and dress shoes. It strikes a balance between formal business attire and smart casual wear. However, remember that company culture and industry standards play a significant role in determining the specific dress code.

Business Casual Outfits for Men

Let's delve into some outfit ideas that perfectly embody the essence of business casual:

Classic White Collar Environment

This outfit is ideal for a more casual white-collar workplace. The lilac dress shirt pairs beautifully with charcoal check-patterned dress pants, adding a touch of creative flair. Complete the look with a matching belt and loafers - quintessential elements of traditional business casual style.

A Touch of Formality

For a more formal business casual look, opt for light grey dress pants, a white dress shirt, and a brown belt. Adding a blue blazer instantly elevates the formality of the ensemble, making it suitable for occasions that require a bit more sophistication.

Model Standing on Stairs Wearing Black Chelsea Boots and Blue Vest

Remember, it's important to keep your clothes neat and well-ironed to achieve a polished appearance.

Adding a Casual Twist

You don't have to completely abandon jackets in a business casual setting. You can still wear a blazer while keeping it casual. Pair a classic navy blazer with a bright floral shirt for a relaxed yet stylish look. Opt for a tool-watch to add a touch of weekend vibes to your outfit.

Business Casual Dress Code: Rundown by Attire

Let's break down the key guidelines for each clothing type that makes up a standard business casual outfit:


The shirt is the centerpiece of any business casual outfit. While long-sleeved dress shirts like the Oxford are a staple in traditional white-collar environments, you have more flexibility in choosing shirt styles based on your company culture. Ensure that the collar fits nicely around your neckline. Brands like Mizzen + Main and State & Liberty offer comfortable, flexible shirts suitable for office wear.

State and Liberty 5

Remember to tuck in your shirt properly, as it will be prominently displayed without a jacket.


Dress pants and khakis are the go-to choices for business casual attire. Opt for slim-fit khakis that are at least 98% cotton. Chinos are gaining popularity as a comfortable alternative - stick to slim-fit styles in classic colors like navy, stone, or khaki. Pairing them with a collared shirt creates a neat and put-together look.

Model Wearing Bluffworks Chinos and Dress Shirt

For dress pants, choose navy, grey, light blue, or charcoal with a pleated or flat front. Avoid twill pants, as they lean towards a more casual-casual vibe.


Your choice of shoes is crucial in completing your business casual ensemble. While classic oxford and derby dress shoes are always reliable options, you can also explore brogues, loafers, monk straps, and boots. Brown shoes are versatile and timeless, but don't shy away from bolder colors like oxblood or burgundy to make a statement.

Jay Butler Millbank Horsebit Loafers

Remember, your belt should match the color of your shoes, and if you're wearing a watch, it should also complement both.

Optional Extras

Jackets and Blazers

A jacket or blazer is a fantastic addition to elevate your business casual outfit. They are particularly useful in more formal white-collar environments such as banking, law, or accounting. Adding a blazer or jacket instantly introduces a touch of formality to your attire, making it suitable for unexpected meetings. Stick to dark colors and subtle patterns.

Model Wearing Navy Suit and Dark Blue Shirt

If you feel chilly and need an extra layer, opt for a vest. However, avoid matching it with the jacket to keep the overall look more casual.

Sweaters and Cardigans

In colder climates, you can incorporate sweaters and cardigans into your business casual wardrobe. Opt for slim-fit styles in neutral solid colors like beige, brown, navy, or black. Avoid loud patterns and prioritize harmony with your choice of pants or denim.


When it comes to accessories, keep it minimal and professional. Consider investing in quality blue light-blocking glasses if you spend long hours staring at a computer screen. Nordgreen and Baltic are recommended brands for both dress and casual watches. Use accessories to strike the right balance between formality and casualness.

Can You Wear a Tie with Business Casual?

Gentlemans Box Classic Closeup Tie

While a tie is typically associated with formality, business casual can be flexible in its interpretation. Knit ties are a suitable choice for business casual outfits, as they are considered less formal than regular ties. Stick to solid colors like navy, burgundy, or emerald green. Another acceptable occasion for wearing a tie in a business casual setting is when you pair it with a cardigan.

What About Wearing These?


Model Wearing Apposta Coolmax Twill and Leaning Against a Black Garage Door and Smiling Straight On

The question of whether jeans can be considered business casual attire sparks a global sartorial debate. Traditionally, jeans are less formal than business casual. However, many modern workplaces, especially startups, have relaxed their dress codes. Dark wash slim jeans can be acceptable if they align with your workplace culture. Pair them with a blazer and ensure they are well-maintained.


While jeans may be debatable, sneakers in a business casual setting are a definite no-no. Sneakers push the boundaries into smart casual territory. However, some startups and open-minded companies may allow sneakers on casual Fridays. Choose dress sneakers or soft suede sneakers in classic colors like brown, navy, gray, or black. Avoid overly bold or colorful combinations.

No Socks

As a general rule, it is advisable to wear socks with business casual attire, except when wearing loafers. Solid, dark-colored socks are recommended. However, workplace preferences may vary. Check with your HR department or supervisor to determine if no-show socks or bare ankles are acceptable in your workplace.

Mastering the Balance of Business Casual

Closeup Ace Marks Chelsea Boots with Grey Chinos

Remember, adapting to your workplace culture is essential. Pay attention to what others are wearing and find your own style within the boundaries of the dress code. Seek guidance from your HR manager or appropriate leaders to clarify any doubts about the business casual dress code. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and stick to dress pants or chinos.

Business casual is all about finding the right balance between formal and casual. Experiment within the defined guidelines to create a look that is appropriate for your environment. Ultimately, business casual should make you feel confident and presentable.

Now you're equipped with all the knowledge you need to master the art of business casual attire!


The Essential Guide to Business Casual for Men