Members get unlimited access to all our most
valuable content long before the masses. Exclusive access to newly released gear and tech and entrepreneur secrets delivered to your inbox monthly. All free. No BS.

Dress for success: How to bring style and sophistication into every office

Sailun Tires

Men鈥檚 officewear is in a state of flux, with the formal norms of yesteryear now ancient history in many workplaces. Research shows that 90% of men no longer wear a suit to work, and leading companies like Facebook actively encourage their male members of staff to ditch their formal attire for something more laid back.

The good news is that, depending on where you work, you might have an unprecedented opportunity to express your personal style during the working week. However, the drawback is the greater risk of getting it totally wrong, which makes dressing for the office something of a minefield.

But fear not, as our guide will steer you towards the right outfit, whether you work at a hip startup or a corporate firm.

The casual office

If you鈥檝e long yearned to wear denim seven days a week, and work in a creative industry like tech or media, your time has come. Your jeans are going to get a lot more mileage, and you can easily match them with a relaxed t-shirt or polo in any color, graphic or pattern you like. However, while you can take a more liberal approach with your work attire in such a casual office, you don鈥檛 want to take things too far. After all, it鈥檚 still a professional environment, so leave your ripped jeans and sports shirts at home.


To sprinkle some sophistication onto your look, go for a modest, plain-colored jacket, such as a bomber or a Harrington, and lace-up shoes. You could even go for sneakers instead, provided they鈥檙e not too flashy鈥攑lain brown, white or black types from the likes of Converse or Seavees will do the trick. As far as accessories go, a backpack is fine, but it can鈥檛 be showy鈥攖hink a basic rucksack or a tote backpack.

The business casual office

Perhaps the most common workplace dress code, going business casual still gives you the chance to inject some personality into your workwear. For starters, plump for a conservatively patterned shirt or sweater鈥攑erhaps avoid overly bright colors, and stick to patterns like checks or stripes. You can complement this with the kind of jacket you鈥檇 wear to a casual office, or even a tailored blazer. These types of jacket won鈥檛 look out of place, but can also be worn in more formal situations like client meetings鈥攑erfect if you鈥檙e called into one at the last minute. Don鈥檛 skimp on your blazer though, as those made from cheap materials can look unbecoming. Buying from established menswear brands like Hackett or J Crew are your best bets, with the former, London-based company renowned for 鈥渃rafting high-quality garments that really ooze that luxe finish.鈥


As for the rest of your outfit, don some dressy slacks or chinos in block colors, though you could experiment with simple prints, as long as they coordinate with what you鈥檙e wearing on top. Ditch the sneakers for smarter footwear, like loafers or desert boots in neutral shades. Any accessories can be casual, though we鈥檇 suggest swapping the backpack for a messenger bag or satchel.

The professional office

For more professional office spaces, you鈥檒l want to stop just short of a full suit and tie. So, either go for a suit but lose the tie, or ditch the blazer and wear a tie, but sport a plain jumper instead. Avoid novelty neckwear, but feel free to introduce modest colors and patterns (such as polka dots or foulard), and rock a low-key button-up shirt to dress down your suit.


When it comes to your footwear, you can match what you鈥檇 wear in a business casual office, though you鈥檇 it鈥檚 sensible to slip into some black or brown leather brogues for more important meetings. Silver or gold accessories like watches and cufflinks are also acceptable in this type of working environment.

The formal office

While most employers no longer require their employees to wear a full suit, there are still some that do鈥攚e鈥檙e talking law firms, financial companies, and government bodies. For you guys, it鈥檚 quite literally business as usual, but that doesn鈥檛 mean you can鈥檛 refine your look for maximum suave and style.

Try a tailored ensemble crafted by a luxury brand like Tom Ford or Oxxford, in dark colors like gray or navy. An ill-fitting, off-the-rack suit screams scruffiness, while bright colors and funky patterns are inappropriate for such a formal environment. Opt for a white, collared button-up shirt, a plain tie and closed-toe Oxford or Derby shoes in either black or brown. Any accessories like watches or cufflinks should be subtle, while a briefcase would be the most sophisticated way to carry your stuff.


Get the latest Swagger Scoop right in your inbox.

By checking this box, you confirm that you have read and are agreeing to our terms of use regarding the storage of the data submitted through this form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *