Business casual is an incredibly broad and popular category of men’s fashion that is disappointingly shoe-horned into khakis and blue button-ups. But the truth is that business casual can and should be much, much more than just that pairing, and we want to walk you through how you can up your business casual game to look professional and prepared while being comfortable and stylish.
Can I Wear Patterns in Business Casual Outfits?
You absolutely can, as long as you pair them well. For example, wearing a double pattern can work if the patterns are minute and simple, like the checker and the polka dot. It can be easier to avoid patterns so you don’t risk messing them up, but you don’t need to cut them out of your wardrobe entirely.
What Accessories Are Appropriate for Business Casual Attire?
As many business casual men will tell you, watches are the end-all, be-all accessory of men’s fashion. Watches go great with any level of fashion and almost any style since watches themselves are so versatile and varied. You are completely free—and encouraged—to pair a good watch with a business casual outfit.
Other accessories are ties and jewelry, like necklaces and bracelets. These can also work splendidly with casual business attire.
Can I Layer in a Business Casual Outfit?
Absolutely! Few things look better than a good tee and a nice jacket, after all. We wrote a whole guide on business casual attire in winter, too, if you need advice on layering more.
Do I Need to Wear a Tie in a Business Casual Environment?
You can wear a tie, but you certainly don’t need to. Ties are more mandatory in business professional attire (though you can still get away with not wearing them in those situations, too), but you don’t need them in business casual situations.
Best Clothing Options for Business Casual Attire for Men
Let’s get into the different pieces of clothing that you can use to make a stellar business casual outfit. We’re going to go through what makes each piece special on its own and give some tips on how you can mix and match to build a great business casual style without breaking the bank.
We’re going to kick things off with a bang with the chino. Chinos are a beautiful in-between of khakis and jeans, combining the professionalism of the former with the comfort of the latter, letting them fit well in situations for both other pants while hybridizing their best aspects, too.
Chinos are great in their versatility and comfort. Because they resemble khakis, they work perfectly in any business casual situation you might find yourself in. Their neutral colors and comfortable fit make you look clean and professional while feeling comfortable, confident, and stylish. They also pair well with everything from button-ups to plain T-shirts.
Perk’s Feel Good Chinos are built to last, fit better with every wash, and keep their clean colors. Look no further than our chinos for building out your business casual chino collection, knowing full well that each purchase will last for years and each chino will work in almost any situation.
Despite the perfection of chinos, there are situations where you’ll want some khakis, especially in business casual attire. Khakis are your bread and butter, business casual bottoms. They’re neutral and professional, but not as intense as dress pants.
The most important thing when it comes to khaki pants is ensuring they fit you properly. It is very easy to get the “wingsuit khakis” that flare out on your thighs and calves, making you look much wider than you actually are—and not in a flattering way. Khakis that fit well and hug the right parts of your legs (AKA, your thighs and butt) are a must.
We discuss khakis and dress shirts even more in another business casual guide we made, so feel free to investigate further there.
Jeans are a staple of men’s fashion for good reason, and if you didn’t know that they work well for business casual style, heads up: they do. The thing that really makes or breaks jeans in business casual and business professional attire is how they’re paired. Obviously, jeans and a graphic tee will look pretty casual; jeans, a T-shirt, and a jacket, on the other hand, will look perfectly business casual or even professional while being comfortable and cool.
Shorts can be a hard sell in business casual settings, but they can still work. The most important thing to remember is that shorts have to fit you well and look good. You can’t wear basketball shorts to the office, but you can wear some of Perk’s Feel Good Shorts and look great while feeling great, especially in the hotter months.
Like jeans, shorts also need to be paired with the right tops. A T-shirt and shorts might be too casual, but Feel Good Shorts and a polo? Perfectly business casual, if not close to a golf outfit.
Alright, we’ve talked about them a lot, so let’s address the elephant in the room: yes, T-shirts are perfectly acceptable for men’s business casual style. What is not acceptable is T-shirts and basketball shorts, or graphic tees that look like they came straight from the nearest middle school.
No, if you have the right T-shirts, then you are golden. Perk’s Feel Good Tee is the perfect example of a T-shirt that is comfortable enough to wear to the gym but well-fitted, cleanly made, and neutrally colored to look great at the office.
You can wear tees that are comfortable, they just need to fit you well and look presentable—like the Feel Good Tee.
There are plenty of other tops you can wear, too. Between henleys, long sleeve shirts, pocket T-shirts, button-ups, and polos, you’ve got plenty of options. Button-ups and polos are pretty easy to pull off in business casual attire. They’re kind of the poster child for men’s business casual fashion, after all.
In the case of the other three—henleys, long sleeves, and pocket tees—they follow the same rules as T-shirts: they need to fit well and you have to pair them with the right bottoms. If you have a henley or pocket tee that fits you well and has a nice, neutral color, you can wear it to almost any business casual event. In fact, few things look nicer for business casual style than a good chino or khaki paired with a simple pocket tee, so embrace that!
Accessories and Shoes
Finally, you need to be able to accessorize, especially to lock in some extra professionalism. This is where watches and the right shoes are integral.
You can take chinos and a T-shirt and make them look professional and clean with a good watch, and if you pair them with some white sneakers or Oxfords, you’ll look right at home at any business event. If you want more, we wrote an entire article about accessorizing business casual outfits!
If you want even more men’s fashion advice, be sure to check out the rest of our blog!