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Developing an Appropriate Business Casual Wardrobe For Men

Although the goal of Business Casual was to give more room to maneuver and make it easier to pick out an appropriate outfit, has it really done that? Many, who had a set standard in their dress, are a bit befuddled with the change. And more specifically on what to wear, when, and how. Better yet, on how to do it well.

In these times that we live in, how do you know what really is appropriate to wear to work? And, how is it best to develop this new type of wardrobe?

Not only can the events of your day help you decide on how to dress, also consider the locale, the individuals you will be with, or others you might encounter, and what you personally want/need to achieve professionally. Within the structure of your company’s dress policy, and your personal considerations on positioning yourself, you can determine what type of attire is best suited to your day. In business casual dress you have two tiers of professional dress to consider:

Professional Business Casual attire covers a wide range of looks, which is great for maximum options. The sport coat or suit coat worn with contrasting slacks is key to this level of business attire.

Smart Business Casual is more dressed-down than Professional Business Casual, but dressier than weekend wear. This level of dress is great for days when you aren’t front and center.

Three trends in menswear, creating a pleasingly appropriate Professional Business Casual to Smart Casual look include – a jacket. They include:

  • Traditional suiting completed with nontraditional prints or polo knit fabrics in button front shirt styling.
  • Mixed suiting. The traditional suit worn three ways, including the suit trouser paired with a patterned sport coat, or lose the suit jacket for an on-trend outerwear piece. Or, pair a patterned suit jacket with a contrast trouser or pant.
  • With denim, for a Smart Casual yet dressed look. Pair the classic jacket or sport coat with a dark washed denim, and finish with complementary accessories and shoe.

When making your garment selection for the day, remember to consider your activities, who you will be with/where, and what your goal or purpose is. If you’re still not sure which look to choose, know that it’s always better to err on the dressier side. And, trust your gut … when in doubt, don’t!

Kelly Duggan is an Image Consultant specializing in executive and personal image development, etiquette & communication skills. She is a certified member of the Association of Image Consultants International. Contact Kelly at:www.kellyduggan.com.

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