Menswear | Shirts

Business Professional Attire Vs. Business Casual — What You Need To Know

Miguel Vieira

Business Professional Attire vs. Business Casual

Business Professional Attire Vs. Business Casual: professional

The cyclic nature of fash­ion is a uni­ver­sal truth one should not over­look — from cut, sil­hou­ette or design, to the very essence behind each attire. Each of these ele­ments has cer­tain­ly been approached in a sim­i­lar way in the past.

When it comes to menswear, we are now expe­ri­enc­ing a revival move­ment that not only brings to life gar­ments and fash­ions of old, but also the proud van­i­ty men sport­ed in each care­ful­ly curat­ed ensem­ble.

In fact, mod­ern men seem to show an increas­ing con­cern with their image and the way they present them­selves to soci­ety on a dai­ly basis. So much so that cloth­ing becom­ing a sought ves­sel to por­tray this very per­son­al image.

This search to exude one’s per­son­al­i­ty through clothes, a habit once reserved to our female coun­ter­parts, has pushed the mar­ket to respond with a bur­geon­ing of offer­ings spread through­out high and low tier brands, aimed at sat­is­fy­ing the insa­tiable crav­ings of these rede­fined men.


Business Professional Attire Vs. Business Casual: casual

In recent years, men have rekin­dled their care for self-pre­sen­ta­tion and a pol­ished image. Pho­to cour­tesy of Beyond Fab­ric.

Defining business professional vs. business casual for the office.

With­in the vast array of avail­able choic­es from which one can build his one per­son­al style and image, there seems to lack a very much need­ed guid­ance in regards the what, where and when applies.

As the democ­ra­ti­za­tion of casu­al­ness becomes viral in nowa­days soci­ety, few envi­ron­ments still retain a cer­tain degree of for­mal­i­ty that must be main­tained and respect­ed — name­ly, pro­fes­sion­al ones.

Defin­ing what is office appro­pri­ate has become a chal­leng­ing task in recent years, to say the least

Work­ing envi­ron­ments and new pro­fes­sion­al roles fill the job mar­ket­place, what was once set in stone as a strict work uni­form, is now open to a nev­er-end­ing array of sub­tle (or not so sub­tle) tweaks. On one side of the spec­trum, we have extreme­ly relaxed work­ing envi­ron­ments where indi­vid­u­al­i­ty is praised and per­son­al style encour­aged (lib­er­al and cre­ative roles).

Where­as on the oth­er, we find very strict, for­mal envi­ron­ments, where suit­ing is manda­to­ry and aes­thet­ic coher­ence val­ued.

Sure­ly, this arti­cle is much more use­ful to all those locat­ed towards the lat­ter end, as their work places are imbued with a series of unspo­ken rules dic­tat­ing what is or not, con­sid­er­able “suit­able.”

Business Professional Attire Vs. Business Casual: business oriented

A clas­sic out­fit with rem­nants of Autumn, in per­fect har­mo­ny with the season’s col­ors. Pho­to cour­tesy of The Nordic Fit.


Business Professional Attire Vs. Business Casual: colorful

A col­or­ful accou­trement with play­ful pur­pose, in an oth­er­wise under­stat­ed out­fit. Pho­to cour­tesy of The Nordic Fit.


Business Professional Attire Vs. Business Casual: dress shoes

A nice pair of brown oxfords pair well with navy trousers, and espe­cial­ly enhanced by the turn-ups. Pho­to cour­tesy of The Nordic Fit.

Consider these 7 tips for business professional attire in the office.

So, how can one main­tain his indi­vid­u­al­i­ty while look­ing pre­sentable at the office? As with so many oth­er things in life, bal­ance is key.

Even if your work­place allows for more casu­al out­takes than a full suit, there are still guide­lines to abide by, name­ly keep­ing a pol­ished look that looks pro­fes­sion­al and trust­wor­thy, espe­cial­ly if you’re deal­ing with the pub­lic.

To achieve this and before mov­ing on to shirts, our exper­tise, here is a list of essen­tial advice one should con­sid­er before dress­ing to work (these are by no means rules and should be adapt­ed to your own real­i­ty):

1. Dress accord­ing to your indus­try stan­dards, age and posi­tion in the com­pa­ny.
If you’re new or work­ing or way up from a low­er tier role, avoid over­do­ing it with for­mal attire, since you don’t want to be out­class­ing your supe­ri­ors;

2. Avoid wear­ing osten­ta­tious gar­ments or acces­sories.
Sport­ing that Rolex or Pra­da bag around the office wont’ make you any friends and may por­tray a wrong image about who you are;

3. Refrain from show­ing too much skin.
Nev­er sport shorts or t-shirts to work because this is a pro­fes­sion­al envi­ron­ment. If your com­pa­ny allows it, a polo shirt may be fit­ting, but choose a more sophis­ti­cat­ed ver­sion than the aver­age cot­ton pique. Ide­al­ly, wear a shirt and roll up your sleeves;

4. Avoid den­im — most like­ly than not, den­im is not a suit­able alter­na­tive. Chi­nos or slacks will be your best friends here. In the event that den­im is appro­pri­ate, opt for dark­er wash­es as they have a more refined feel;

5. Avoid over­ly bright colours.
Do not become the cen­ter of atten­tion for all the wrong rea­sons. Sub­tle acces­sories such as a pock­et square can add a much need­ed dash of col­or in a more ele­gant fash­ion;

6. Don’t over-acces­sorize.
Ide­al­ly, jew­el­ry should be reduced to just an ele­gant time­piece, although a trade­mark bracelet and/or ring may be accept­able. A tie and pock­et square at most and in sub­tle patterns/colors (no lapel embell­ish­ments, chains or bracelet filled wrists);

7. Wear socks.

Business Professional Attire Vs. Business Casual: dress socks

Clas­sic socks must not be over­looked in office envi­ron­ments and should be kept dis­crete. Pho­to cour­tesy of Per­ma­nent Style.

Office clothing fundamentals: the dress shirt.

With these gen­er­al rules on the table, the time has come to focus on one of the fun­da­men­tal pieces when it comes to office appro­pri­ate ensem­bles: the shirt.

Enjoy­ing an unprece­dent­ed pop­u­lar­i­ty in menswear, shirts have evolved from being regard­ed as a mere lay­er­ing ele­ment, to being con­sid­ered a lux­u­ry gar­ment that can be worn on its own while por­tray­ing class and ele­gance.

At Deo Ver­i­tas, we see the shirt as such: an essen­tial menswear piece craft­ed accord­ing to tra­di­tion, know-how and man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­niques. Each per­fect­ed through­out the years, as mas­ter arti­sans passed them on to their appren­tices.

The sheer beau­ty of the shirt resides in its ver­sa­til­i­ty and abil­i­ty to adapt to a myr­i­ad of occa­sions, styles and moods.

6 tips for choosing a dress shirt for your business professional office attire.

Eas­i­ly worn with a suit and tie as with the top-but­ton undone and rolled-up sleeves for those nev­er-end­ing busi­ness meet­ings. In fact, when it comes to top lay­ers for office wear, shirts com­prise the ulti­mate alter­na­tive.

Suf­fice it to say, the very basic require­ments of any shirt for this pur­pose lie on its con­struc­tion qual­i­ty, fab­ric and fit. When it comes to shirts, here are 6 tips to keep in mind:

1. Opt for mid-weight fab­rics.
Adjust your fab­ric choice so that your shirt is not sheer, allow­ing to see through, espe­cial­ly if you go with white or lighter col­ors;

2. White is your best friend.
No oth­er shirt will ever be as ver­sa­tile. You can pair it with every sweater, trouser and coat in your wardrobe, plus it just looks great;

3. One undone.
When the heat strikes and you’re not wear­ing a tie, only the top but­ton should be undone (not count­ing the one on the col­lar), oth­er­wise you risk look­ing like a Colom­bian drug lord in an 80’s tv show;

4. Beware of con­trasts.
Immor­tal­ized by Michael Dou­glas’ char­ac­ter Gor­don Gekko in the acclaimed movie Wall Street, the pow­er suit and match­ing pow­er shirt (used to describe col­ored shirts with con­trast­ing white col­lars and cuffs), have been expe­ri­enc­ing a come­back in recent years.

How­ev­er, as the name states, this ver­sion should be reserved to old­er men in high­er posi­tions, such as CEOs or CFOs. Sport­ing such a shirt as a junior assis­tant is not a wise move;

5. Suit it to your style.
With the avail­able choice of fit and cus­tomiza­tion options, such as col­lar and cuff com­bi­na­tions, make sure to adjust your shirts to your style. If your work attire is com­prised of sport jack­ets and chi­nos, but­ton-downs shirts work great, where­as cut­aways and tabs are a per­fect match for suits.

If you are on the younger side and favour unbut­toned shirts, a for­ward point or mini point are a great choice.

6. Know the rules.
Unless you work in a very fash­ion for­ward envi­ron­ment, where every­thing is allowed for the sake of exper­i­men­ta­tion, know­ing the basics is manda­to­ry.

Club col­lars are meant to be worn but­toned with a tie. But­tons-downs are more relaxed and shouldn’t be worn with suits, while tab col­lars must be worn with a tie, etc. Also, be mind­ful that nobody wants to see your pecks even if you work hard at the gym, so stay away from skin tight shirts.

Business Professional Attire Vs. Business Casual: dress shirts

Clas­sic col­ors and pat­terns.

Simple is best for business professional attire and office clothing.

Now that we’ve put it out there, please take note that this is sim­ple advice to help you dress for the office. We advo­cate for per­son­al style and indi­vid­u­al­i­ty and each of these top­ics must be inter­pret­ed and adapt­ed to each own’s real­i­ty when it comes to pro­fes­sion­al envi­ron­ments.

Be mind­ful of your indus­try, your com­pa­ny, your posi­tion, your age, your peers and sim­ply try to por­tray your per­son­al touch to befit­ting ensem­bles.

To keep your dress shirts look­ing crisp, make sure you prop­er­ly care for them and they’ll serve you well into their late age. As always, we’re here to help you find the per­fect shirt for the occa­sion.

Pho­to Cred­its: Beyond Fab­ric // Per­ma­nent Style // The Nordic Fit // The Sar­to­ri­al­ist

Deo Veritas Custom Shirts