Business- and work wear is a frequently discussed topic at our flagship store; when to wear a suit, when to be more casual? Should I wear a tie or not? Which shoe model would be the most suitable with a specific outfit? Well, here is some information and thoughts regarding the following:
- The business suit
- Business casual
- "Creative casual".
1. The business suit
A business suit is traditionally navy blue or grey in colour, but shades of brown or even black could work depending on your work environment. The fabric of your suit can be plain or have a subtle texture, different striped and checked patterns are stylish options as well.
A good rule of thumb is; the darker the suit is in colour and the more plain it is in pattern, the more formal it is in terms of style.
A business suit can be either single- or double-breasted, the double-breasted alternative always having a peak lapel whereas a single-breasted suit might have a notch- or a peak lapel. A round shawl lapel does not belong to a work setting.
The jacket of a business suit is usually two-buttoned, but a one-buttoned and a so called “three-roll-two jacket” (a 3-button jacket with a press that hides the third button under the lapel) are good alternatives as well. A three piece suit with a single- or double breasted waistcoat is also an option worth considering.
When it comes down to suit fabrics, worsted wool is an excellent option for all year round wear, but during winter time; few things beat a suit or a jacket in brushed wool-flannel. In the summer, however, one can opt for different wool-silk-linen combinations. Full linen or cotton are great options as well, but might not be optimal for a tad more formal events. In the summer, lighter shades of beige and khaki can be good options, as well as lighter and brighter shades of blue.
Choosing the right shirt
When selecting a suitable shirt to go with your suit, favour white, light blue, pink or lavender coloured shirts. Dark shades and strong pastels can be saved for other occasions.
Light stripes and checks are excellent options and so are herringbone and different textured shirt patterns.
For the collar, go with a cutaway or a Windsor collar with a shirt cuff of single or French style. The front of the shirt is typically of the “plain front” or “front placket” style.
Having your initials embroidered on your cuff, or like the Neapolitans, “by the liver”, is a great way to personalize and add some character to your work shirt.
Tie, pocket square and shoes
A business tie is usually made of silk and either patterned or solid in colour. Different dots, stripes and Hermés -style motifs are timeless classics.
In the winter season you can choose a more matte wool tie, whereas silk-cotton and silk-linen alternatives are excellent during summer.
The aforementioned applies to pocket square fabrics as well, but the patterns being more geared towards paisleys, dots and different figures & patterns. A solid white pocket square in silk, cotton or linen is always a timeless and elegant choice.
A business suit is usually combined with brown or black shoes, but oxblood or navy coloured shoes might be good options as well.
When it comes to choosing your shoe style, you are safe by relying on classics such as Oxfords, Derbys or different brogues. Depending on the season and the formality of your outfit; loafers, monkstraps or chukka boots might work stylishly.
2. Business Casual
Different business casual combinations and outfits have become more and more relevant as work places have during the past decade steadily gravitated towards being more casual.
This shift has made men’s business wear more diverse and set the ground for a wide range of jacket- and trouser combinations.
- When choosing a jacket, go for navy, grey or a shade of brown. These staple colours are timelessly stylish and easy to combine with different trouser alternatives. The fabric of your jacket can have texture or a checked pattern. For the right environment a beige, forest green or burgundy jacket could be a great choice.
- A good alternative for business casual wear is to go for sturdier textures, such as wool flannel in the winter and cotton, linen and wool-silk-linen blends in the summer.
- When it comes to trousers, wool is a classic material, and regardless if you go for a lighter worsted wool or a heavier wool flannel, different shades of grey are unbeatable in their versatility.
- Cotton trousers and chinos are an excellent choice as well. Go for different shades of beige and blue, as well as earthy browns, greens and red tones. Corduroy trousers are also a given classic during the fall and winter season.
- In terms of shirting; light, solid colours as well as striped and checked shirts work well, not to mention a classic button-down.
- Business casual environment allows one to wear a wide range of different knitwear, such as turtlenecks, knitted gilets and merino crewnecks, that bring a nice amount of texture to any outfit.
- When it comes to shoes, the aforementioned Oxfords, Derbys and brogues go a long way, however you can choose a pair in suede for a slightly more casual look.
3. “Creative Casual”
Some work places (especially in the creative field) have a very relaxed office environment with a so called “creative casual” dress code.
- In this environment go for a cardigan or a knitted jacket combined with a t-shirt or a casual button-up shirt.
- When choosing a shirt, go for one in washed oxford, denim or soft, brushed cotton-flannel fabric.
- When it comes to trousers, choose a pair of washed chinos, jeans or as a more distinctive alternative, trousers with a drawstring waist.
- Combine your outfit with sneakers in white calf leather or dark suede. During the fall & winter season you can opt for Chelsea-, Chukka- or Hiking boots.
These are our two cents on business- and work wear, a topic that is obviously always very contextual and dependent on company culture, your country and the city you work in as well as the situation and occasion you are in.
With stylish regards,