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Business Casual Newbie Needs Help!

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by NTisinger, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. AmericanGent

    AmericanGent Well-Known Member

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    He was being an intolerable turd in multiple posts. This is Style forum. He lacked enough to keep his posts polite.


    And he was full of shit.
     
  2. aravenel

    aravenel Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I agree. I don't think anyone will lose any sleep over him getting banned. I'm just impressed at how quickly it happened--usually takes several days of that kinda garbage before someone gets banned.

    And definitely full of shit. I mean, he was telling people that resoling shoes is pointless and that you shouldn't bother to have your tailor fix fit issues? Come on. I just hope no newbies read his posts and think they were anything other than trolling.
     
  3. lucidream

    lucidream Active Member

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    I respectfully disagree. He doesn't need to get park avenues, but shoes that are flexible enough to go with a full suit or simply a dress shirt/dress pants are a far more effective investment. What happens when he gets invited to a conference, a lunch, a presentation, and he's only got casual shoes to wear?
     
  4. AmericanGent

    AmericanGent Well-Known Member

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    That's sound logic- I was thinking the same thing. My first big-boy shoes were a pair of black cap toes. Brogues might be another option that would give a business casual / suit cross-over ability.
     
  5. msulinski

    msulinski Well-Known Member

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    Not quick enough. Check out the thread about ruining shoes with too much polish.
     
  6. msulinski

    msulinski Well-Known Member

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    Makes sense, but since his entire wardrobe is going to be business casual, he is still going to need to find a suit. Worst case, he can go to the store and buy a pair of shoes then.

    I just prefer buying the options that are best suited to what you will be wearing every day, not buying things "just in case" you might need them.
     
  7. 3daysuitbroker

    3daysuitbroker Member

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    Congratulations on the new job Nick!

    With a 1500 dollar budget I suggest splurging on 2 or three nice casual pants in a variety of colors. khaki, black, navy and also get a nice pair of fitten jeans (I am assuming they allow jeans.) You want to spend a little bit more money on quality-made pants because they take the most wear and tear and you will be wearing them more often then your shirts.


    As far as shirts go, you can ever go wrong with a few collared button down shirts and a few polo-style shirts with a collar. Someone mentioned Banana Republic, that is a great place to go, however depending on what you have left in your budget after you purchase your pants, you may want to consider JC Pennys. They have tons of stylish but casual business shirts that are the same quality as stores like Banana Republic but they about half the price!

    Hope this helps! Good luck!
     
  8. NiceGuyTom

    NiceGuyTom Well-Known Member

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    Do people wear jeans in the office? My guess is they do. I'd recommend some nice straight legged dark wash jeans or some slim (not skinny) ones as well as some casual chino / trouser type pants - These are from Epaulet. For jeans Naked and Famous and 3Sixteen are well made.

    [​IMG]


    Since it's CA, you said you're not wearing a formal jacket / tie etc, I'd definitely steer you toward Button Down collared shirts. They look great with sweaters or by themselves and provide a slightly more casual feel ( you also don't have to mess with collar stays when washing / ironing ). For me I can pretty much get 100% of my button down shirts via Epaulet / Jcrew / Brooks Brothers / Ralph Lauren as they fit me pretty well off the rack. The Brooks Brothers non iron button down shirts are a work staple for me. You can toss em in the dryer for 5 mins with a wet towel in the morning and pretty much avoid ironing them.

    I would also recommend staying away from traditional dress shoes as they look best when paired with a suit type dress. I'm a fan of casual dress boots (using this term pretty liberally). These may be too casual ( I have them and use them for days where my hands may get a little dirty ) but they have a good look / value:

    [​IMG]


    LL Bean Katahdin Engineer Boots. Other good hybrid work / dress / style boots can be found via Redwing / Frye / Wolverine. Again if that's too casual one of the most versatile shoes around is a dress chukka boot or a loafer style shoe. I currently am saving up for Alden's snuff suede chukka. If you are looking for AEdmonds there are guys that have good deals on the buy / sell forum on this site.

    My other recommendation is to know all your measurements (neck / chest / sleeve length / waist / pant inseem / leg opening you desire / desired rise of pant etc) so that you can make educated decisions regarding fit. There are still winter sales going on so now is a good time to browse websites. Best of luck to you with your new job!
     
  9. aravenel

    aravenel Well-Known Member

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    Just to clarify, that's a very, very casual look. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that's not business casual, that's just casual. Which is fine in some offices, but is taking it far for most I'd wager. It's up to OP to determine how casual the business casual at his office is.
     
  10. NiceGuyTom

    NiceGuyTom Well-Known Member

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    Agreed, a lot of offices in CA are very casual. If the recommendations are too casual for the OP I will post some other suggestions. Also OP here's a great thread for the more casual side of the Men's Clothes forum that would be worth browsing for ideas:
    http://www.styleforum.net/t/253842/waywrn-mc-casual-style
     
  11. NTisinger

    NTisinger Member

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    The office is right between nice jeans and a button up, and shirt, slacks and tie. As far as shoes go, I really like the McTavish, Neumok, Ridgeway, etc style shoes offered by AE, so I am thinking I will probably go that route. No jeans except for Fridays, so the real need lies in slacks and shirts. I am an 18/37 in shirts with big/broad shoulders. Thanks again for everyone's input so far!
     
  12. bobbyz

    bobbyz Well-Known Member

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    As a noob myself, I was wondering about the pattern on the trousers. Is this not recommended in a business casual environment or just because OP is building a wardrobe from scratch?

    Perhaps the light plaid http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=34724&vid=1&pid=905580002

    Or a houndstooth pattern http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=73587&vid=1&pid=229047002

    may be in the right price range?
     
  13. aravenel

    aravenel Well-Known Member

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    The problem with patterns on your trousers is now you have to work hard to pair that with other things--shirt, tie, jacket, pocket square. Not only is this difficult, but now the trousers are much less versatile.

    Furthermore, the trousers are really a "setting", a foreground (or background?) for the rest of the outfit. They generally should not call attention to themselves, but serve as a base for the rest of the outfit, while coordinating with this outfit.

    Patterns are anathema to all of this. This is not to say that they cannot be done--just that to do so is a fairly advanced topic, and definitely not something I'd recommend to a newbie. To be fair, I don't think I'd recommend patterned trousers to anyone, but especially not a newbie :)

    Stick with grey to start with--it goes with everything. Mid grey is much better than charcoal--charcoal looks like an orphan pair of suit trousers which is not a good look.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  14. recondite

    recondite Well-Known Member

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    This isn't complicated.

    Business casual = anything normally worn for business is worn casually; e.g., dress shirts, trousers, and shoes are worn with and without jackets and ties.

    Hawai'ian shirts are resort casual, not business casual.

    Khaki chinos and white jeans or chinos are resort casual; not business casual.

    Work boots or ones that look like work boots, such as Doc Martens, are workwear suitable for a work site like a refinery or oil field, not business casual.

    Boat shoes and tennis shoes are sports wear for the yacht or tennis club; not business casual.

    Windbreakers are sportswear for the club or resort and not business casual; wear a sportcoat or blazer instead.

    Polo shirts are sportswear for golf and tennis, and while suitable at the country or tennis club, business casual even when paired with a sports jacket or blazer.

    Blue jeans are workwear and suitable for walking the dog, chopping wood, or varnishing the teak on the boat; not business casual, even if you paid $500 for them.



    Business casual used to be the grey or charcoal Glen Plaid suit or the light to medium grey suit worn when traveling. Casual, but conservative and ready for an ad hoc or planned business meeting.

    Another way to approach business casual, is to wear items which can accompany a business worthy sportcoat or blazer and a tie; i.e., can you put on a tie and sportcoat with your outfit and look presentable enough for a restaurant or situation where a jacket and tie would be required?

    Note; if you keep a black knit tie handy in your brief case, you can wear nearly any patterned shirt including the the brightest madras pattern, assuming it doesn't clash with your sport coat. However, madras shirts really are not suitable for business casual but for resort casual, club wear, or sportswear.

    Upper management or highly paid hired guns would be wise to wear a blazer or sportcoat sans tie at an event where business casual is required, as would anyone seeking to differentiate themselves from the unwashed masses for a particular reason. At the very least, try wearing a black or navy cashmere V-neck pullover.

    Business Casual = tropical worsted, gabardine, twill, or other wool trousers; plain or patterned dress shirts including BD oxford cloth, black, brown, or cordovan colored dress shoes with matching belt; and the possible wearing of a complimentary colored wool or cashmere cardigan or V-neck pullover, sportcoat or blazer, and/or tie.

    There should be no confusion about this; now or ever.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  15. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Well-Known Member

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    Much of that is good, but there is some personal opinion masquerading as rules. Such as chinos not being business casual. Or the idea that a black knit tie is useful in the typical business environment. Also, a light gray suit is not very versatile and probably would make a large man look larger (not good). Black above the waist is likely to make a large man look more intimidating.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  16. recondite

    recondite Well-Known Member

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    Thanks.

    But, LOL! Your idea that chinos are business casual and black knit ties are unacceptable in the same environment is also strictly opinion; your's in this case.

    When it comes to opinions, it is only the opinion of the potential audience that matters and not one's personal bias nor your's.

    I have found it to be useful to place oneself above even the possibility of reproach and to dress most conservatively when conducting business, especially when casual attire is expected. In fact, I believe it is more important to get business casual right than formal business attire, because one is far more likely to miss the mark due to the highly variable view as to what constitutes business casual compared to the much narrower view of business formal. We are talking about casual clothing that is most appropriate for conducting business and not casual clothing that can be worn while conducting business.

    Better, your audience accepts your attire absolutely than find any room for criticism other than; "that is really too nice an outfit for this occasion".

    To which one can respond; "I dress this way out of respect for you", "[in the morning] I have another meeting after this one", or "[In the afternoon] I just came from a great meeting earlier today".

    A black knit tie is suitable in a business casual environment where the expectation is that many will be without tie at al. And if you read between the lines I first wrote, it would be ideal when a business casual outfit needs to upgraded to include coat and tie.

    And black above the waist on a large man intimidating? Maybe, but it is more likely to have a slimming effect and especially so when combined with low contrast companions such as charcoal or navy pants and blue shirt. What dark sweater wouldn't be intimidating on a large man? Which lighter colored ones would be slimming?

    I would never recommend chinos to someone attending a business meeting under any conditions and an intimidating black sweater is just the ticket for a mild mannered chubby guy who needs to exert some authority. And a light gray monochromatic suit is a far better look for a large man because it is more slimming than a business casual outfit with high contrast differential between top and bottom especially if the top has a recognizable pattern. If a very dark tie such as navy is worn with the suit, it creates a slimming effect as well. But this is your business, no?

    Let's see, according to you, a large man cannot wear a light grey suit because it will make him look bigger [and more intimidating as well?] and he cannot wear black because that will make him too intimidating. Hmm, what darker suit can he wear and not look intimidating, but slim at the same time? You have already ruled out black on the upper torso, so surely that includes near black colors such as navy and charcoal, despite their more than obvious slimming effect when worn as a suit. Are you suggesting medium blue? Have you ever seen a large man in a medium blue suit compared to one in a black, charcoal, or navy one, or even light to medium grey? I have and it doesn't work very well.

    Due to your less than insightful comments, one has to wonder; what kind of an image consultant are you and where do you practice?

    My credentials are that I have been conducting business at all levels and in most places for nearly 40 years. I have witnessed first hand the adoption of business casual across the full spectrum of businesses environments from small businesses to Fortune 10 companies. I have attended meetings where business casual dress codes were established for future meetings, conferences, symposiums, and seminars. I have attended countless meetings where business casual attire was expected, suggested, or demanded including forums that were air conditioned in summer or winter to 65 degrees F, or 18 degrees C, to keep participants awake after an extravagant luncheon.

    And to sum up my experience, my "rules" as you call them are suggestions for attire that will fail to raise eyebrows anywhere in the world business casual would be accepted and facilitate business while being comfortably and casually attired.

    Feel free to recommend the wearing chinos and steer large men away from light colored suits and black sweaters, but your advice is not sound and it makes one wonder what is your truth source other than your own opinion?

    Those of my ilk will wear worsted and flannel wool trousers and dress monochromatically; i.e., in suits when possible or in darker colors including black on the upper, and when possible, lower body when there is a strong need to look presentable and slimmer, respectively. My truth source is a combined world wide audience of hundreds of thousands over nearly 40 years including the business leaders that created the idea of business casual before allowing it into their business environments.

    By the way, chinos are no where near as comfortable as worsted wool slack when the AC is cranking or one is profusely sweating. Plus they stain easier and stink more after a day of heavy perspiration than wool. Personal experience.

    Then again, you may be right and I may be wrong.

    Best of luck to you!
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  17. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Well-Known Member

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    Black tie is not standard business casual, period. No point in discussing further.

    Well, that's different from business casual in general, though still debatable. The important thing about chinos worn to work is that fit well and not be wrinkled. Edit: it's probably fair to say that chinos not in light brown are risky for typical meetings.

    The word "cannot" was not said and is not something people want to hear. Black is not the same as "near black." Any large man is fine wearing colors like navy and charcoal, but might do well to mitigate them with a colorful shirt or tie.

    One caveat re black sweaters - that means solid black. Black with an argyle pattern, for example, can look quite friendly on anyone.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  18. recondite

    recondite Well-Known Member

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    An argyle pattern on any background color including black is just about the worst pattern large man can wear this side of shirt with horizontal rugby type stripes.

    A solid black v-neck it just about the most flattering sweater anyone, including large endomorphs, can wear, unless they have a micro torso and super long legs.

    You must have a different idea about the colors of navy and charcoal than do I, since they are practically black except under direct sunlight or stage lighting.

    Your information is both counter intuitive and lacks practical application, but no doubt correct under some construct I have no experience with.
     
  19. Jobst

    Jobst Well-Known Member

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    If Chevron's office (I presume design/operations support?) is anything like the million other engineering offices I've visited, most of the workforce will be in little more than cotton chinos, plain or conservatively striped or checked shirts, and shoes ranging from horrible ecco slip ons to half decent cap-toes. Managers or directors might be wearing a sport coat, and I don't think I've ever seen a tie. Once you wander over to accounting or business development things often change, but this doesn't seem to bother the engineers. Honestly though, if there is any doubt as to what business casual actually means in this particular office, give your immediate superior a call and ask what the standard is. Don't let blowhards on the internet (myself included) talk you into a potentially bad decision.

    Whatever you do, I would recommend you start cheap and minimal. 2-3 pairs of nondescript trousers (grey, navy or khaki), 6-10 shirts depending on your ability to do washing on time every week, no more than one good pair of shoes to begin with (and honestly I'd pick a cheap one to start). Your first couple of weeks will let you know what you like or don't, and you won't have spent a lot of money. From here you can refine and start upgrading in quality or size of your wardrobe, if you wish.
     

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