Business Casual Dress Code

Goldman Sachs is relaxing its dress code, as the Wall Street giant moves toward a more casual workplace. 

Banking Goldman Sachs is the latest company to introduce a more ‘flexible dress code’ to the workplace. Other banks like JP Morgan have taken similar action. As a men’s personal stylistmy clients ask how to strike a balance between, being professionally business smart and stylish, without coming across as too casual. 

To make sure the too casual doesn’t happen at Goldman Sachs the memo included a caveat: “Casual dress is not appropriate every day and for every interaction and we trust you will consistently exercise good judgement in this regard. We want all of our clients to feel comfortable with and confident in our team, so please dress in a manner that is consistent with your clients’ expectations.”

If you have suddenly found yourself in an office where the dress code has been pulled out from under your expertly tailored suit. Dressing ‘differently’ – as a men’s clothing stylist I refuse to say ‘down’ – is not nearly as complicated as it may seem.

Scroll down to see my business casual beginners guide style hacks to have you looking Always Stylish. 

Colour

If you have previously relied on a matching suit and are a novice at mixing colours, a timeless combination to start with is grey teamed with blue. This colour duo will ensure you always look stylish and confident. Be it a grey blazer with navy trousers or vice versa. Add white based or light to mid blue shirts in stripes, ginghams and solids to your attire. When you have got to grips with your new wardrobe, look at adding in pink and lilac shirts.

Just add light grey socks and do the shirt up by another button or 2!

Just add light grey socks and do the shirt up by another button or 2!

Business casual dressing doesn’t though have to mean separate colours top and bottom. Blue closely followed by grey are the easiest colours to work with for tonal dressing, take care to make sure your tones are not too similar. The optimum look you are aiming for is contrast with the tones. For example a light blue jacket with navy trousers. Add in a mid blue/white mix shirt to keep with the tonal theme.

Contrasting blue tones. Blazer and Trousers Boggi

Contrasting blue tones. Blazer and Trousers Boggi

Stone, in slim fitting chino style trousers are a good third colour option to add into the mix.  Slim fitting with a trouser-style tab closure is key to a smart look here.Save pleated or slouchy fits and turn-ups for the weekend. Wear your trousers with a navy or light grey blazer.

Brooks Bothers, vary your shades of stone with lighter for the warmer months.

Brooks Bothers, vary your shades of stone with lighter for the warmer months.

Jumpers & Knitted Polo’s

 Now you are aware of your easy go to colours for trousers and blazers, but what to wear with them? You may instinctively add a shirt, as indeed I have suggested above, or perhaps look to try another option.

 A fine gauge knitted crew neck or ribbed jumper in cashmere or merino wool ticks numerous style boxes.  With emphasis buying good quality wool and finding the right fit. I advise my personal stylingclients that the jumper should not be too chunky – as you won’t be able to wear with a blazer. If far too tight you could inadvertently send out all kinds of wrong messages. Save V-necks styles for after work.

Mango Man relaxed style in a jersey blazer.

Mango Man relaxed style in a jersey blazer.

Shades of grey

Shades of grey

If you have a slim frame, expand your personal style with a fitted roll neck. Try mixing up the textures with a check, tweed or herringbone jacket, merino wool roll neck, pocket square and navy trousers. Add brown leather monk shoes to finish off the look for sartorial style.

Mixing up textures with a roll neck

Mixing up textures with a roll neck

Adding the stone into the roll neck at Reiss.

Adding the stone into the roll neck at Reiss.

To be clear the knitted polo is not a rugby shirt, is not covered in branding and is not a sporty cotton pique garment.  The go to woollen polo jumper, is in either a plain knit or with subtle textures and always with a 3-button placket. I would advise against opting for a zip up style, as this will ‘casualise’ your overall look. The same goes for printed or multi colour styles.

Jigsaw merino wool polo shirt

Jigsaw merino wool polo shirt



Shoes

Brown used to be a definite no no, but they are most definitely a yes for business casual dressing.  With Derby’s, Oxfords, Monk and leather loafer styles all sitting back perfectly with business casual attire. Don’t retire your trusted workwear black shoes, as black looks great against grey flannel trousers and works well in the winter months. 

Leave the suede and canvas styles for out of work, brogues for very dressed down days and your trainers for the gym. 

Again add socks for work! But you get the idea.

Again add socks for work! But you get the idea.

If you would like advice on how to develop a business casual style, or would like to expand and refine your personal style, please do get in touch. More information about personal styling for men is also on my website.

Thank you for reading and I hope you have found this helpful.

Lisa

 

 

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