10 Tips for Today’s Business Casual Wardrobe

“Business Casual” sounds like such a simple concept, but the reality is that both employers and employees struggle mightily with dressing in a business casual environment.  Here are ten tips from the Paul Fredrick buying team on putting together a wardrobe for the business casual workplace:

1)      Always keep in mind that “business casual” and “golf” are two separate concepts.  Leave the golf wear in the clubhouse.

2)      You cannot go wrong with wool trousers at the office. From tropical weight wool in the summer, to flannel in the winter, to gabardines in between, wool is the perfect fabric for trousers in the workplace.

3)      When it gets really warm, try linen or silk trousers.  Both are dressy enough for the office and will keep you cool to boot.

4)      The best part of business casual is the large number of shirt options.  Wear a favorite dress shirt (with or without a tie), a sport shirt for a more colorful look, or a knit sweater when it is very cold (long sleeve merino wool) or very hot (short sleeve spun silk).

5)      Invest in a couple sport coats – they are very versatile.  Choose one in the black/grey family and one in shades of tan/brown.  Add a navy blazer and you are set for any occasion.  Like trousers, sport coats are available in a variety of wool weights appropriate for all types of weather.

6)      Sweaters and vests are both great business casual layering pieces, great for spring and fall when temperatures may vary greatly during the day.

7)      Make sure your shoes are in sync with the rest of your outfit.  Leave the topsiders and tennis shoes at the country club.

8)      Solid trousers provide the most versatility in any business casual wardrobe.  Pair them with patterned dress shirts or sport shirts to make your color statement.

9)      One exception to the above – buy a pair of patterned trousers that you absolutely must have, and match it with a solid knit shirt.

10)   Finally, don’t be shy about dressing up sometimes, even in a business casual environment.  There is nothing wrong with being the best dressed guy in the place!



    May 27, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Good stuff. I’m concervative, and have been concerned about casual dress in business and travel.

    Thanks, I’ll share your thoughts with associates.

  2. Spoonless Eddie

    June 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    You don’t have a “general” category, so I’ll just grab the first topic.

    There is a penalty to be paid for not having my size. Conversely, there is a reward associated with being “the store that has everything,” although it is difficult to quantify.

    You do a real nice job with shirts. You can’t fit me in a jacket or shoes, though. I can buy a shirt, but I can’t buy a jacket.

    I just bought three custom jackets from India. The first was for practice, the next two fit perfectly. You sent me there.

    I have done business with you for years. I favor you over your competitors. I very much hope you will be able to keep pace with the changing times.


  3. Eddie, if we have a shirt that fits you, we should have a jacket or shoes that fit as well. We’ve expanded sizing in all of our product categories to match each of the 55 sizes we offer in dress shirts. In the two specific categories you mentioned, our Sportcoats are sized from 36 Short to 58 Long and Shoes from size 8 to 16, including many in wide widths. If you haven’t looked in a while, take a second glance, we’re constantly adding new sizes to our collection. And don’t forget our guarantee… if you purchase something and it doesn’t fit, we’ll exchange it for free and keep working until we can find you the perfect fit.

  4. I appreciate your article and was hoping that you could offer some insight as to the type of attire that may fall under the new term being used, ‘Successful Casual’ here is a link to an article about it http://www.dagleyinsuranceblog.com/2010/07/rules-accoutrement/

  5. These tips are great. I love the whole top-10 idea; makes it easier to digest. If you’re looking for a little more information about business casual clothing, I’ve found http://www.bcasual.com to be really helpful.

  6. Hi dagley,

    A couple of suggestions of what we feel is “Successful Casual” are shown below. We love that new term!

    Click Here
    Click Here
    Click Here
    Click Here

    Please let us know if you would like any further suggestions or if you have any other questions.


  7. Hi
    Just got a job with a small software reseller with 100 employees. I have been in an overly casual atmosphere with a larger company- Looking forward to business casual clothes, but I am “portly” a 38 waist 32 length, and an 18 1/2 shirt. 34 sleeve. its very hard to find high quality items in these sizes. Any advice?

    Thank you


  8. Hi Charlie,

    Congrats on the new job! Revamping your wardrobe can be a challenge and we recommend starting with a few key pieces and then slowly adding on to your new wardrobe. At Paul Fredrick, we have a number of options that would work for you. We do carry Dress Shirts in size 18 1/2, 34 . You may want to start out with basic white and blue colors with a buttondown collar that you can wear without a tie.

    As for trousers, we carry your waist size of 38 and we also offer a service to have your trousers altered to your length. You may want to start with our Performance Gabardine Trousers.

    I’m not sure of your chest size, but we do offer up to a
    46 short in Sportcoats.

    Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance!

  9. Scott says: “Eddie, if we have a shirt that fits you, we should have a jacket or shoes that fit as well.”

    Scott, that’s a silly thing to say. That’s like telling me I can’t read a mail order catalog.

  10. @Eddie, We would love the opportunity to speak to you directly about this. I think we can help. If you are interested in discussing this further, please call 1-800-247-1417 and ask for Laura. Thanks! –Scott

  11. sweet site, i hadn’t noticed blog.paulfredrick.com before in my searches!
    keep up the great work!

  12. Thank you! Please let us know if you have any questions or if there is anything that we can help you with.

  13. Greetings! Quick question that’s completely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when viewing from
    my iphone 4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this
    problem. If you have any suggestions, please share. Appreciate it!

  14. Thank you for the question, Day Boat! There are many themes available that are responsive designs which will allow your blog to look good on mobile, tablet and desktop, but I can’t recommend one over another. Good luck with your blog!

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