Professional dress is a sartorial duty incumbent upon all men who work in the company of others. Put another way, you can’t be looking like a doofus at your 9 to 5. Every workplace is different, but each carries with it an expectation about how you should look on the job. Recognizing your employer’s dress culture is step one, and finding your place within it is step 2. Let’s look at several different ways to do just that.
Dressing For Casual Workplaces
The 2010s saw a transformation in the way some of the United States’ most sought-after talents dressed in the workplace. Facebook’s then-young Mr. Zuckerberg brought the tech bro hoodie into the mainstream, and the world has never been the same. However, wearing a hoodie to work in 2020 will, and should, make you look like a slob. Fortunately, casual dress is not necessarily slovenly.
The key to dressing casual, and looking good, is polish. Choose a crisp white sneaker, a high quality leather boot, or enviable piece of street style footgear to anchor tidy jeans or chinos. Pair these with a neat graphic t-shirt and shirt jacket, and you’ve got a combo that won’t look out of place in most professional technology or advertising jobs. You’ll look hip and modern, without looking like a manchild, which is perhaps the best possible outcome with casual workplace dress.
Business Casual Style
The line between Casual and Business Casual style is a blurry one. A good rule of thumb, though, is that Business Casual just has more buttons. As before, you’ll want your clothes to fit, recognize current style trends, and be in good repair. However, you’ll want to replace the t-shirt for a natural fiber Oxford or fitted Polo (see, more buttons!). Match these with one or more Blazers in navy, grey, or black, and you’ll have a versatile wardrobe that can give you different variations on the same winning look every day of the week.
Add interest with a small faced watch, the occasional fitted sweater, bold-not-loud socks, and a small-but-growing rotation of high quality leather shoes, and you’ll be among the best dressed in the entire company.
The Place that Requires Suits
If you work a job where a suit and tie is expected each day, you probably aren’t seeking style advice here. You are a manager or executive who smothers a crisis before it gets out of hand. But if for some reason this is where you find yourself, we’ll do the best to accommodate you. First, if you only own one suit (which is common for those just starting in a highly professional setting), make sure it’s in blue or grey. Spend perhaps a little more than you feel that you can afford, and see that a tailor makes the thing fit like a song.
Daily variety will come from the shirts and ties you wear beneath the jacket. You may choose to wear a pocket square, but these are often avoided in the modern professional dress so as to create a streamlined silhouette. As you advance your career, expand your suit wardrobe, ideally having a different suit for each weekday. This wardrobe could and should take years to build, but it’s a fitting set of possessions for a successful man working in a public setting.
The Remote Worker
Oh, and if you work at home, wear whatever you want within reason. When we look horrible and pay no attention to our appearance, this often has its effect on our mood and work quality. Spring for some high quality sweat pants and shirts that you wouldn’t mind being seen in, especially if you have to appear in a surprise Slack video chat.
That’s it! We hope that these general style guidelines will help you dress properly in the modern workplace. Good luck!