What is the most appropriate men’s business attire? Great question, here’s a better one;
What Is Business Attire?
Deciding what to wear to work can be difficult sometimes. Every workplace operates slightly differently, while some employers want top-notch fashion savvy employees while other employers would rather you come to work in jeans.
You can broadly put each type of business in two categories.
Two Types Of Workplaces
These types of workplaces are the most common, a place where employees should wear a two piece suit and a dress shirt. Some employers want a tie worn at all times, some don’t mind without the tie and some don’t even mind if you leave your blazer at home.
Formal attire is very restricting, your trousers must match your blazer. Your tie must be a sensible width and length. There are many rules when it comes to dressing formally, and this is to be expected since most of the multinational companies operate based on a set of strict rules and regulations. As long as you fit somewhere between a three-piece suit & tie and dress shoes/shirt and two piece suit – you’ll be sound.
My whole working life I’ve worked in environments where the tie has been a mandatory thing but I was still free to express myself with wild socks and lavish pocket squares. Now for the first time I no longer work in this environment. I work in a very small office now which has meant that the rules of business attire have flipped a bit.
Smart/casual work environments range from t-shirts/jeans (Mark Zuckerberg) to the combination of a dress shirt and trousers. Many workplaces that allow casual dress code will expect their workforce to still look smart. While formal business attire is quite rigid, casual business attire has much more freedom.
The great thing about dressing casual is the freedom to express yourself and really go all out. You can wear a bunch of accessories and crazy shoes with funky socks. It’s all good as long as you keep the bare essentials.
If you don’t have to wear a dress shirt to work then keep your t-shirts and jumpers logo/picture free. Do not come into work with a picture of a half-naked (or even naked) woman on your top or some slogan which involves a bad word. If you do, you may find yourself being sent home to change or asked embarrassingly to take it off.
If dress shirts are compulsory, then keep your shirt freshly ironed, wear good quality shirts from somewhere like TM Lewin or Hawes & Curtis. Wear good trousers and don’t slack and wear jeans every time you can’t be asked to iron. Grab some comfortable chinos from Zara for £30, trust me they will do you wonders. If you can get away with trainers you may as well but make sure they’re black or as close to black as possible and not high-tops.
Currently my boss has me in limbo, when I started I was wearing a suit, dress shirt and shoes with no tie. Now I’ve left the blazer at home, ditched the shoes and wear plain black vans and a cotton jumper over my dress shirt. I look slightly confused but I’m super comfy and I fit right in with my colleagues.
Matching Your Boss
So you think it’s a good idea to buy a new suit and come in looking much better than your boss so then maybe he might think you’re serious about getting promoted? If your boss is a SHE, then it might work, if however your boss is an egocentric HE, it’s definitely a bad idea. You’re on his territory and showing him up is not a good idea. Judge your boss or manager and match them. If you want to look a bit better than them, go for it, but don’t over do it.
So What’s The Correct Business Attire?
Depends where you work. As a botch standard, stick to a two piece suit with minimal accessories and a tie that matches the width of your suit’s lapels. Wear the best shoes you own and hope for the best. Just remember, the first time you show up anywhere, it’s better be overdressed with a lavish pocket square bursting out your chest pocket than have a mickey mouse jumper on when everyone’s dressed like the cast of wolf of wall street.
TOP TIP: Look around and copy, don’t over do it & don’t blend in – balance is key.