Ultimate Office Style Guide: 5 Business Casual Outfit Ideas For Men


A lot of people often think that business casual makes dressing up for a day at the office a breeze. Not too formal, not too casual either. It shouldn’t be too hard to find something to wear to work everyday. But, as plenty of office workers have discovered, the guidelines of what exactly falls under this classification are a bit unclear. Business casual outfits for men and women can differ depending on the company, industry, culture, age of the workforce, and even the city. There are subtle differences between business, business casual, and casual that make it hard to discern whether you're wearing something appropriate to work.

Of course, there are certain clothes that we all know really won't make the cut. Shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, and sandals are too casual. A business suit, on the other hand, is too formal. And if you're not sure about what to wear, it's better to go with formal than casual. But who wants to always err on the side of caution? Moreover, what you wear can create the wrong impression. A lack of professional appearance because you went too casual on your outfit can have a negative impact on your career opportunities. No matter what people say, the perception of your credibility and capability is affected by the way you look.

If you're a guy who wants advice on what to wear and what not to wear at work, then you've come to the right place. This guide should help define what is business casual for men and give you an idea of what outfits you can use for everyday office attire.

What is Business Casual

What is Business Casual

Business Casual Definition

Before we talk about what clothes fall into this category, let's first talk about what exactly is the definition of business casual. Experts define it as a dress code that projects a tidy, professional image that's appropriate in a work environment while still enabling the wearer to feel comfortable and relaxed.

What is not considered part of the business casual dress code?

  • Flip-flops
  • Sneakers or tennis shoes
  • Boat shoes
  • Stained or wrinkled clothing
  • Clothes with holes (i.e. distressed jeans)
  • Clothing that exposes undergarments
  • Flashy patterns and super bright colors (i.e. neons)
  • Shorts or jeans
  • Anything low rise, too short, or too tight
  • Anything oversized or too loose
  • Anything showing profanity or an offensive saying
  • Clothes that feature large logos or texts

What is Business Casual for Men?

Business casual for men, in general, include khakis, pressed slacks, chinos, and corduroy pants. For the top, you can wear long-sleeve shirts, sweaters, and blazers or sport coats. Men's shoes should be professional-looking. Loafers, oxfords, chelsea boots, dressy chukkas, and brogues are good examples. Dark-colored socks and leather belts are also included.

How to Dress Business Casual

We’ve already mentioned some of the items that belong in the men's business casual wardrobe. But knowing examples of what to wear and what not to wear is not always enough. Some of us need more guidance. For this reason, we decided to delve into the world of fashion and get the best business casual looks that are trending today. Not to worry, these outfits are not hard to acquire. Even better, they’re already color-coordinated to give you a cohesive, well-put together appearance.

For Monday Morning Business Meeting

Monday Morning Business Meeting

Presenting a proposal to your boss? Appear more confident and professional by wearing a white dress shirt (no tie needed), grey wool trousers, a navy sportcoat, dark socks, a black leather belt, and black Oxfords or loafers.

Best Business Casual Attire For Regular Day at Work

For everyday wear when you’re not planning on facing upper level management, there’s no reason why you can’t dress to impress your colleagues. The sweet spot between business and casual in this situation can be achieved by wearing a pair of cotton trousers or maybe chinos (depending on your company's policy) that are either tan, olive, or navy. This is paired with a solid-colored Oxford cloth button down shirt that's tucked in and a pair of dark brown bluchers, loafers, or Chelsea boots. If it's winter or fall, you can add a sweater to keep yourself warm while still looking cool.

For Meetings with a Client

For Job Interviews

You're meeting a prospective client or investor. Making a good impression isn't solely dependent on your charisma and pitch. You need to be able to inspire confidence and professionalism. But that doesn't mean you need to forgo the business casual look. A dark-colored blazer, a long-sleeved button down shirt, dark-colored pressed slacks, and leather shoes.

For “Casual Fridays”

When it comes to Casual Fridays, not every company is the same. You'll find that some companies allow T-shirt and jeans on those days. If yours does not, then here are some classy casual outfits for guys that should fit the bill. You can wear a light-colored chambray shirt paired with slim, dark wash jeans (no distressing, please!), and a pair of chukkas or loafers. Here's another alternative: a short-sleeved button-down shirt, dark jeans or a pair of chinos, and a pair of lace-up boots.

For Job Interviews

First impressions matter, so you should dress to impress on your job interviews. It doesn't matter if your interviewer is wearing a basic T-shirt and shorts. You still need to look professional which means wearing a business casual outfit at the very least. You can opt for a more formal look such as a dress shirt, a suit jacket, and a pair of slacks. For a slightly more informal appearance, you can opt for a cardigan and a button down shirt.

Common Business Casual Mistakes

As we've mentioned before, it's quite easy to blur the line between business casual and casual. But it's also easy to make a mistake when you're mixing and matching clothes to create your outfit. Below are some common mistakes people make when choosing their business casual attire.

  • Don't use your suit jacket like a sport coat: It's perfectly reasonable to mix and match your different colored dress pants and suit jackets to create a variety of looks. But some people pair their suit jacket with jeans or chinos which doesn't really look as good as they think. Instead of a suit jacket, opt for a blazer or sport coat.
  • Choose your shoes carefully: As we've already mentioned, sneakers and flip-flops are not allowed. Most people already know that. But a lot of people still make the mistake of choosing other casual footwear as part of their business casual ensemble. For example, boat shoes. These are not the same as loafers and never should be worn in a business casual setting. This also applies to work boots.
  • Open collar, not open chest: While business casual allows you to pop open a button or two, others can take this to the extreme. The office is no place to bare your chest. Keep it clean and save the hair for after work hours.
  • Tuck in your shirt please: Yes, this kind of dress code is more relaxed. But you should always remember that looking professional is key. An untucked shirt can make you look messy or unkempt. 

Mariam Simmons

Mariam Simmons is a fashion enthusiast and Content Manager at Alpine Swiss. She loves traveling to the world’s top stylish destinations and gets inspired to create helpful fashion and lifestyle guides. With over a decade of writing experience, her main goal in creating content is to ensure readers learn something useful and provide value instead of noise.