Read on to find out the best and simplest ways to update your men’s work attire.
A Men’s Guide to Updating Their Work Attire
Whether you find yourself in the business-casual environment of a soaring start-up or the formal offices of a law firm, workwear has long been a staple in the corporate environment. While each company and business sector has its rules to follow, you may still fall into the trap of stale work attire.
That doesn’t have to be the case. Fashion within the workplace is ever-changing, and now, more than ever, you can channel your style while still hitting the brief. Combine boots for men with tailored jackets and pops of colour to update your wardrobe.
Colour can be a daunting place to start. But understanding how they are meant to match each other can make incorporating colour into your style more accessible. So first, give yourself a basic idea of the colour wheel. This will help you understand what goes together and what clashes.
Associated colours are those directly adjacent to each other. Combining them will give you a sleek monochrome or nearly monochrome look—colours like dark greens moving into blues.
Complementary colours are placed directly opposite each other on the wheel, for example, yellow and violet. These create bright, bold contrasts and best suit people looking to stand out. However, bright colours are not necessarily considered appropriate for formal or proper business wear, so they are better suited for more casual offices.
When it comes to buying shoes for work, there are some basic rules to follow that will give you more bang for your buck and help you achieve the stylish look you are searching for. First, look for shoes that have a lot of versatility and can be paired with multiple colours and styles.
Three go-to options will allow you to have a choice without having to splurge. For more casual footwear, work boots and minimal sneakers are good options. Combat boots and loafers offer a business-casual look, while Chelsea boots and lace-up ankle boots fit right into the corporate office.
Shirts are an excellent place to incorporate subtle colours and designs for a more personal touch to your work attire. However, as mentioned before, too much colour can push you closer to the more casual side, so avoid anything too bold if your company doesn’t allow this.
For a flexible option, look no further than the classic polo shirt, which can be worn by itself or under a jacket. A dark wash denim button-up would be a good balance between the two worlds. But a safe and appropriate option is the reliable buttoned cotton shirt. Adding small designs like stripes, polka dots, or soft pastel shades makes for a fun but suitable alternative.
Pants are probably the place with the least amount of variety, but it is still worth mentioning. The fit of pants can change the entire silhouette of your outfit, and matching this appropriately to the material and desired look makes a massive difference.
Slim-fit wool or cotton suit pants have a sleeker appearance and look the most formal. However, any suit pants will be appropriate in a traditional setting. Chinos are a good middle ground option if you are allowed more flexibility. If suitable, slim-fit, dark wash jeans can also be dressed up for the office.
Jackets for work are not only about function but also about appearance. You can instantly dress up any outfit with the right jacket. Styles like basic leather, peacoat and bomber jackets will give you a simple add-on.
Sports jackets can take you from the boardroom to a business meeting, making them a versatile transition item. You can get them patterned, single-breasted or double-breasted in various colours and designs.
The key to dressing in the working office is establishing the level of formality you are expected to meet. The more formal the environment, the more restricted you may feel when putting together an outfit. If this is the case, changing up your accessories will be a great place to add some colour or modernise your look while still following the rules.
Consider updating the traditional square briefcase or crossbody messenger bag with something functional and stylish. Anything made of leather can instantly be considered more dressy. Simply swapping out your current laptop bag or backpack with dark leather or faux leather alternatives is a simple and effective place to start.
Alternatively, a canvas tote bag is an excellent option for those who want to update their messenger bag.
If you want to add a bold pop of colour to your workwear, this is the item to experiment with. A good rule of thumb is to have one neutral tone like navy, grey or black. Then, have one or two ties that are patterned with subtle colours. Your final tie option can be as bright and bold as office rules allow. Pair this with a neutral suit for the best effect.
The age-old rule of belts is simple and effective. The colour of your belt should match the colour of your shoes. Only apply this to smart shoe choices by matching the leather. For a general idea, have two black belts and two brown belts. One is a thicker, more casual option, and one is a slimmer, more smart option.
If you want to change things up and add colour or alternative designs, do so sparingly and forget the matching rule, as this will cause your pieces to clash.