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Business looks for men: What to wear to the office

The world of fashion is constantly changing! And office fashion is a part of this world. In this post, we reveal which dress codes apply and which looks are always a safe bet.

by mey 02.09.2022

Business look for men | mey®

There’s no question that the work environment has changed enormously in recent years. The workday as we used to know it only exists in a few select sectors. Not least due to the pandemic, the rapid surge in digitalisation has increasingly blurred the boundaries between work and leisure. Now it’s usual to work from home at least some of the time, instead of doing nine to five at the office.


What types of office dress code are there?

But what should you wear to work now? Is there still a dress code you need to follow? Over time, more than just one dress code has developed. From casual or smart-casual to business-casual and the classic business look, there are endless ways to dress for the office. We have summarised and demystified the most important dress codes for you.

Casual

The casual look is the least formal dress code for the office. Nevertheless, there are certain rules to keep in mind. Although casual dress clearly prioritises comfort, it’s not a good idea to wear shorts and flip-flops to work. A good pair of fabric trousers or jeans and a high-quality T-shirt or polo shirt are the essentials of a casual dress code. In autumn or winter, the shirt can also be swapped for a nice knitted jumper or turtleneck. To prevent a scratchy feel when wearing a knitted or woolly jumper, it’s advisable to wear a suitable undershirt. A clean, unobtrusive pair of trainers rounds off the casual look.

The casual look as the most casual dress code for the office | mey®

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The smart-casual look with a shirt and a dress shirt | mey®

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Smart-casual

Smart-casual is between casual and business-casual in terms of formality. In contrast to the casual look, the T-shirt is exchanged for a shirt or high-quality knitted jumper. High-quality jeans or a nice pair of fabric trousers remain a suitable trouser choice. However, you should definitely avoid jeans with washed effects. The smart-casual look is usually worn with classic leather shoes, such as Oxford or Derby shoes in basic black or brown. In the summer, loafers are an absolute must-have. White trainers are also a good choice, depending on the style.

Business-casual

The business-casual look may sound as though it is very casual, but actually, it’s the business component that is dominant. Business-casual is a mix between a formal dress code and a casual, leisurely look. The look is professionally appropriate, yet laid-back. Compared with casual and smart-casual however, jeans are an absolute no-no and a shirt is obligatory. A blazer is also an essential part of the business-casual look. Oxfords, Derby shoes, or Chelsea boots in the winter, round off the business-casual style.

Business attire or business-formal

When it comes to business attire, including a business-formal dress code, a two-piece suit is unavoidable. While the business attire look permits colours such as brown or blue, the business formal look has less leeway. In this case, you should always opt for a very dark suit, ideally in black. In both cases, you should always wear a tie. In terms of footwear, a pair of black Derby or Oxford shoes is the best choice. These should be worn with shin-length socks.


However, many young men have completely reinterpreted the business look. They might wear a high-quality white shirt with a V-neckline with casual chinos and a cool, slim-fitting jacket, for example. This too can be a suitable business look. Simply make sure that your look is suitable for your workplace. This look would be practical and not out of place at an agency, but would stick out like a sore thumb at a bank.

Modern business look with white V-neck shirt | mey®

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The right underwear for every outfit: what should you wear under your office clothing?

It doesn’t matter how well you dress: if you don’t follow a few dos and don’ts for underneath, all your efforts are for nothing. Nothing can cramp your style like heavy sweat patches on your shirt. However, these can easily be avoided with a suitable undershirt. Note: it’s important to opt for a proper business undershirt and not a sleeveless shirt. Unlike a sleeveless shirt, business undershirts usually have short sleeves and special inserts under the arms, which absorb sweat and neutralise odour. As well as these practical inserts, they typically have a longer cut to ensure they stay neatly tucked into your trousers.

When selecting a suitable undershirt, pay attention to the colour! Good business undershirts generally come in multiple skin tones, as well as white and black. When wearing a white overshirt, select a skin-coloured undershirt to minimise the contrast between your skin and the shirt and ensure that the undershirt stays invisible. When wearing a dark overshirt, opt for a dark undershirt to prevent any light-coloured fabric from showing underneath.

 As well as an extra-long cut, inserts under the arms and appropriate colours, a business shirt should have the right neckline. For example, if you like to wear your shirt with the top two buttons open, you should select an undershirt with a very low V-neckline. If you wear your shirt buttoned up or with a tie, an undershirt with a round neckline is the best option.

The business vest as a must-have in everyday office life | mey®

Matching shorts and briefs for the business look | mey®

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When selecting boxers or briefs, there are also a few things to keep in mind. Choose shorts or briefs that are not too tight and don’t pinch. If they are too tight, you will be readjusting them all day, which doesn’t make a very professional impression. On the other hand, you should also avoid shorts that are too wide. These can be visible under thin suit trousers. Instead, opt for shorts and briefs with a snug fit and leave the loose-fitting boxers at home. If your trouser fabric is very thin, it’s a good idea to opt for seamless shorts or briefs, or to select a model with flat leg seams.


Our final tip:

The most important thing is that you feel comfortable in your outfit. Nothing gets in the way of productivity like feeling as if you are wearing a costume. Try to strike a balance between conforming to office etiquette and wearing what you feel comfortable in.

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