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How To Dress Business Casual This Spring
No longer confined to Fridays, you'll notice the business casual dress code is becoming more prevalent throughout the week. This trend continues outside the workplace with more gentlemen dressing up their casual look on the weekends with sport coats and blazers.
The term "business casual" isn't easy to define. However, the uncertainty around the term creates room to experiment with how to dress down in a professional setting. Spring presents a fantastic opportunity to improve your business casual attire with brighter colors and lighter fabrics. Here are a few tips on how to achieve a relaxed look in the office this spring.
Choose Colorful Clothing
The transition into spring brings the reappearance of bolder and brighter colors. Traditional business attire calls for an array of whites, blacks and grays. When you add the casual element you open your wardrobe to a more diverse color spectrum. Define your own style with the use of layers and colors to create a unique look.
The traditional navy blazer is a business casual classic, but this spring you will notice more mid-tones and lighter blues. If your style is more conservative, try pairing a classic color with a subtle pattern. Pairing a sport shirt with a distinct pattern or color will help emphasize the sport coat. You could choose a combination as simple as a solid soft blue sport shirt or add some variety with a blue and white striped sport shirt.
Men who enjoy more flair in their wardrobe can wear vibrant colored sweaters and sweater vests in peach, olive and blue heather. If you are concerned about appearing garish, layering a neutral color over a bright sweater will tone down a look. The yellowish green of an olive sport coat, for example is an excellent way to incorporate spring color into your style without going overboard.
Layer Sport Shirts
A collection of solid and striped dress shirts work to complement your suits and ties. When you are dressing for less formal professional functions, however, sport shirts are more appropriate. The sport shirt and khaki combination is safe, but with a little effort you can significantly improve your look.
Gingham is becoming one of the most popular sport shirt patterns. Wearing a gingham shirt underneath a solid blazer or v-neck sweater helps balance out the busy pattern. Also try mixing patterns. For a colorful yet conservative look, pair a striped peach shirt under a grey window pane sport coat. Finishing your outfit with black pants, shoes and a belt ensure this combination doesn't appear too casual.
Select the Right Pants for Business Casual
Shirts, sweaters and sport coats may highlight your outfits, but it takes the right pants to complete the look. Khakis are perhaps the most popular option for business casual wear. On the formality scale, they fall somewhere between dress pants and jeans.
For the perfect khakis, consider JoS. A. Bank's Traveler Tailored Fit Khakis. These have a slimmer, more modern cut and are resistant to wrinkles and stains. This helps you keep a clean and sophisticated appearance throughout the day. When choosing pants, always be sure they aren't too baggy and that the material doesn't pool on top of your shoes.
Another great option for business casual pants is wool trousers. To introduce spring colors, you can pair navy wool trousers with a plum heather half-zip sweater over a white and purple plaid sport shirt. This creates a professional look based on neutral colors without making you look too formal.
Choose Shoes and Accessories to Accent your Look
Shoes are often an afterthought when putting together an outfit, but finding the right pair of shoes that balance casual and formal wear will complete your business casual look perfectly. Loafers are a great option for business casual footwear. Many people find them too casual to be worn with suits, but they pair well with sport coats, dress pants and casual pants.
Belts are another great accessory for your business casual outfit. There are a few differences between belts meant for business and those for informal occasions. Dress belts tend to feature more designs and often have a glossy finish. Casual belts are often wider than your thumb and have a flatter look. Either can be used with your business casual look. As a guideline, however, your belt should always match your shoes.
Need more ideas to help you look your best in a business casual environment? Check out our slideshow featuring business casual attire.