When it comes to the corporate wardrobe, men - as in so many other areas of life (childbirth, getting more money for the same work, the ability to orgasm at will) - have it easy. It's hard to mess up a suit. In fact, a matching jacket and pants, paired with a white shirt can make your average guy look more attractive than he often has any right to be. But this coordinated cheat falls apart when faced with a workplace that wants to channel a more relaxed vibe every Friday. Like its equally nebulous cousin 'smart casual', 'business casual' seems a tautology. Like 'excellent new Pitbull song' or 'elegant denim shorts'. Never fear, Buro is here.
The key to getting this brief right is balancing components. If you're going with casual pants, you'll want to team it with a blazer up top. Conversely if you're rocking a smartish shirt, you can dial things down a notch with a pair of dark blue or black jeans.
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To borrow a phrase from your mum, what you want are "some nice separates". Which means what exactly? Glad you asked. Check out the Imperial, Kennedy and Otto Blazers from Calibre as a starting point. When choosing colours, keep your company's atmosphere in mind. Even though the day is nominally casual, certain industries like banking, investments and the like are still fairly conservative so you may want to keep things low key with navy, houndstooth or natural tones. If you're in a creative field, we are hankering after Jack London's linen rederer jacket in dusty pink. Pair it with a collared shirt in either a contrasting solid or perfectly matched hue, add a pocket square in a complementary colour and you're good to go.
But what about downstairs? There are a couple of ways to go here. Firstly, you can press some of your suit trousers into service if they go well with the blazer. Contrast is key though. Alternatively, extend your chino universe beyond utilitarian beige and into navy, black, sky blue, charcoal and chocolate but steer clear of salmons, pinks, reds and yellows at the office. Unless you're intentionally trying to look like your dad, you might also want to give pleats a miss. Everlane does a good, slim-fit selection that won't break the bank.
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The final touches are belts and shoes. This is an opportunity to have some fun so consider a colour or texture you might not ordinarily go for around the waist. Check out the stretch tape belt at Uniqlo or Country Road's webbed range. You most likely don't have to invest in new footwear but you can change things up with some colourful laces. Team your polished brogues or oxfords with those from the Lace Space range and don't be afraid to go bright and bold.
Now that we've covered the do's, let's quickly run through the don'ts.
Lose the tie.