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The Fast Style Guide to Business Casual for Men

Posted on August 03 2019

tips for dressing business casual

Quick: if your office has a business casual dress code, can you wear those stylish and expensive sneakers you just bought? The answer, as it often is to questions of what’s included in business casual, is a resounding “maybe”.

What can be included in a business casual wardrobe is a perennial point of confusion. It can vary from company to company, and person to person. As we approach the back-to-work season, we thought we’d put together this quick guide to help avoid any mixups.

The Quick Business Casual Style Guide for Men

So, considering our point above about what may or may not be considered a business casual outfit, the word “guide” is key here. The following points are meant to help you at times when you’re just not sure what to wear on casual Friday.

  • No Suits and No Jeans - Mens’ suits and jeans are sort of the bookends for business casual attire. They are definitely out, but lots of things in between may be included. And it's not your favourite pair of jeans that are ripped in all the right places that are out - even those hip, mustard-coloured, skinny numbers are out too.

  • No Short-Sleeved Shirts - Don’t panic if you’ve been wearing short sleeves this summer.  This is one that may be OK depending on particular business casual codes or conventions. But the point is, if there is any confusion, avoid t-shirts, golf shirts and even short-sleeved dress shirts. And always tuck in your shirts - the ‘casual’ in business casual refers to what you wear, not how you wear it.


  • No Sneakers, Sandals or Boots - Yup, even that pair you just put a down payment on. The general rule of thumb is to avoid sneakers of any sort. As for sandals, it's obvious why you should never wear open-toed versions, but even fully-enclosed sandals are a no-go. And while boots are a fairly broad footwear category, if the name of the shoe style includes the word “boot”, like hiking boot or casual boot, it's best to go with different footwear.

  • Blazers and Sport Coats are a Must - The versatility of business casual means you need to be able to turn the casual bit up or down at a moment’s notice. Having a few blazers and sports jackets that you can mix ’n’ match with other items in your business casual wardrobe will help you look spiffier when needed.

If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article about how to fold a suit for travel.