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Business Dress vs. Business Casual: What to Wear at Work

Jos. A. Bank | Business Dress vs. Business Casual: What to Wear at Work


Congratulations, you've landed your dream job! Your next task is to update your wardrobe to fit your new surroundings. If you noticed employee attire during the interview process, use those observations as a first indicator of the company's observed dress code. Beyond that, check out these basic guidelines for the two most common classes of attire: business dress and business casual.

Men’s Business Dress Tips

Traditional business attire typically features a dark suit, neutral-colored dress shirt, matching tie and dress shoes. Even if your office is business casual, the following items are still recommended for a variety of other occasions, both in the office and on the weekends.

1. Men's Suits and Suit Separates

Business dress translates to a suit and tie. If you’re attending a conference, client meeting or your daily job in a professional office, there’s no substitute for a suit. Look for suits made from Superfine wool like our Signature, Signature Gold and Executive suits. They’re comfortable to wear and always look sharp. Accessorize your suit with a silk tie and freshly pressed dress shirt.

2. Dress Shirts

Don’t underestimate the importance of matching the dress shirt to your suit. Choose a complementary color or pattern and be sure the shirt fits well, the collar is nicely pressed, and the garment is in good condition without any stains or fraying. Also repair any broken or loose buttons.

3. Leather Dress Shoes

Pairing business casual shoes with a suit is not an uncommon fashion blunder that can quickly undercut your professional appearance. The best shoes to wear with a suit are made from fine leather and feature leather, not rubber, soles. You can choose from various styles, such as moc, tassel, wingtip or squared toe, as long as they are freshly polished. Explore our collection of JoS. A. Bank, Allen Edmonds, Cole Haan and Johnston & Murphy dress shoes.

Men’s Business Casual Tips

The definition of business casual can vary depending on the organization. The overall goal is to look neat and professional while also maintaining comfort. Below are the basic guidelines for simple yet sophisticated business casual pieces.

1. Dress Pants and Casual Pants

Dress pants are still considered business casual if you pair them with a sportshirt, polo, sportcoat or sweater. Linen pants, wool trousers or khakis are casual alternatives that are nice enough to be considered professional. Jeans are not always appropriate, but if you see other employees wearing them, follow their lead, preferably with jeans that are dark and pressed in appearance.

2. Men's Sportshirts

A button-down, collared shirt is a great option for business casual because the collars maintain their shape, even when the top button is unfastened. The garments available from the Traveler Collection offer high performance materials and anti-wrinkle features, so your clothes can look fresh all day.

3. Casual Shoes

Sneakers are seldom a preferred shoe choice in business casual environments. Your best bet is leather shoes with a polished finish, although you do have more options in a business casual repertoire. You can choose shoes with fashion-forward stitching, suede materials, various colors and patterns, and rubber soles.

Remember, if you have any questions about what is appropriate for work, please consult any of our experts standing by at your nearby Jos. A. Bank store.



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