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In Praise of Business Casual

Herders_Gulch

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If you are in house (are you?), what do the most senior lawyers in your office wear?
I was in house counsel until I changed roles. The more senior lawyers were pretty casual. One of the VPs had even taken to wearing his shirt untucked pre Covid. Board-level meetings were still business dress though. I saw the GC in jeans twice, I think.
 

Jmr928

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Good advice but nothing fits! I dropped 20 pounds since working remotely. Also, with more time to surf the internet, I suddenly find myself interested in clothes.

The items I’m adding back are more climate appropriate: hopsack, fresco, linen. I would like to wear more knitwear with sports coats, but it has to be super light to work here.
Big fan of the Smedley sea island sweaters as a lighter option
 

Sir Jack II

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I can see it now. This is just business casual but they need to change their pants to chinos or cords, their shirts to OCBDs and the jackets to sweaters. But if I do that then yes. Pretty much just business casual. Also squinting my eyes at my screen helps as well.
It can be disconcerting to realize how close we all are to business casual.
 

smittycl

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I am becoming less and less fond of chinos. They are neither fish nor fowl: not a casual pant like jeans, but neither as dressy as tailored trousers. They are ubiquitous in many workplaces, though, and I cannot put a pair on without feeling as if I ought to be in an office.
I own one pair of heavy chinos. Would never think of wearing them at work.
 

corpseposeur

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I was in house counsel until I changed roles. The more senior lawyers were pretty casual. One of the VPs had even taken to wearing his shirt untucked pre Covid. Board-level meetings were still business dress though. I saw the GC in jeans twice, I think.
Well there you go, they don't care and they still sign your checks.

If you want to dress better, focus on cut and fabrics. I think there is a lot of space to work on something that makes you look and feel good.

I just received two MTM trousers in brushed cottons from Holland and Sherry. They're not jeans or chinos but they're not a CM costume either and would work really well in a BC setting.
 
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Jmr928

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CM costume
I don’t get this take - CM isn’t inherently a costume and doesn’t have to look like it is. It’s not like we (most of us anyways) are wandering around trying to look like extras in Peaky Blinders or something wearing some old ass 4 button suit with a fedora and a red tie and pocket watch or something.

Tailoring can be worn well and inconspicuously. This is done easiest if I avoid the bright colored, sausage casing fit suits with skinny lapels or something super dated, orange/tan patina shoes, contrast cuff/collar shirts, shirts with a tiny collar, double windsor knots etc.
 

dieworkwear

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Some ideas for business casual.

Sorry in advance to the people in the photo, but since this was brought up, I thought it would be a good frame of reference. IMO, a lot of stuff in this thread lacks a visual reference, so it's hard to know what people are talking about. Descriptors such as "wear a nice sweater" aren't very useful (at least to me).

I dislike this look below. It's bland and not very interesting. It's also not very flattering. It's just whatever.


bc.jpeg



So what are some alternatives? Let's assume a suit is out of the question. We can then start with the sport coat and tie. Much has already been written about how to casualize this look without bastardizing it. Wear a jacket with a softer shoulder line instead of a structured shoulder line, choose a light blue shirt instead of white, and yes, wear derbies instead of oxfords


tumblr_inline_oj4zb7vPde1qhaans_540.jpeg
tumblr_inline_oj4zhnRTvd1qhaans_540.jpeg



The next cut is to just lose the tie. If you need to casualize it further, you can wear long-sleeve polos or chambray shirts.


tumblr_inline_oj6iwnIUBv1qhaans_540.jpg
tumblr_inline_oj6iuqXb4o1qhaans_540.jpg



If this is still too formal, you can swap out the trousers for chinos or jeans. Note, as you do this, it's important to choose the right pants. The chinos should be single needle sewn and made like wool trousers; not double needle and what you typically find at J. Crew. If you wear jeans, they should have a certain cut (LVC 1947s work well) and the sport coat should also be dialed in accordingly (casual material, sportier cut).


tumblr_inline_oj6ipfH4ih1qhaans_540.jpg
tumblr_inline_oj4zamDugI1qhaans_540.jpg



Here we go down the casual scale! Sliding down and down, but at least keeping to CM. To casualize things further, you can swap leather shoes for plain white sneakers. Good for creative fields; not so much lawyers. But again, at least we're keeping to a CM look. Here, we're still getting the flattering effects of tailoring.


tumblr_inline_oj4y7pYX5m1qhaans_540.jpg
tumblr_inline_oj6hyy5xXC1qhaans_540.jpg



Down we go! OK, now we've dropped the tailored jacket and we're substituting it with an overcoat. On the upside, an overcoat will give you some of the flattering, face-framing effects of a sport coat. On the downside, this doesn't work for summer and it's not much help indoors. But it's an important stopping point because I think overcoats can be useful for guys who like CM but can't wear sport coats.


tumblr_inline_oj6hthD5TI1qhaans_540.jpg
tumblr_inline_oj6htvi78v1qhaans_540.jpg




OK, now you're indoors, and you can't wear a sport coat. Instead of boring, plain merino v-necks and crewneck like the people in our first photo would probably wear, I think the outfit would look better if the knit was textured. There are too many options here for "textured sweater," but you can choose among Shetlands, Arans, cable knits, some kind of interesting contemporary design, etc. I'm ambivalent about shawl collar sweaters, but some guys like them (personally would not wear a shawl collar cardigan to the office, but some guys like the pullovers, and I think they're OK).


tumblr_inline_oj6jzhwREX1qhaans_540.jpg
tumblr_inline_oj6jx9oHS71qhaans_540.jpg



Another useful stopping point. I don't know if you can wear brands such as De Bonne Facture or Margaret Howell to the office, but I think they're halfway between CM and SWD. The clothes are minimalist and reasonably professional-looking. They are not too "out there." Yet, they have an aesthetic viewpoint.


De-Bonne-Facture-Campaign-2020-SS21-10.jpg
De-Bonne-Facture-Campaign-2020-SS21-4.jpg
46530328_2036784109743092_1839606716605632859_n.jpg
42165292_2128745497136018_1964503878264303529_n.jpg



OK, let's say that's too "out there" for you, and you need to stay very close to the guys in the first photo. That still makes me kind of sad, but you can maybe try this. A button-down collar shirt that's well-tailored, a tailored pair of trousers, and please (on my hands and knees) semi-casual shoes that are a sensible color such as brown and not oxfords.


tumblr_inline_oj4ylqo8qW1qhaans_540.jpg



Depending on your office environment and lifestyle, you can try to dress up the look above with various classic outerwear options, such as field jackets or Barbours. This will still make more of an aesthetic statement than the guys in the first photo of this post.


tumblr_inline_oj8yr1C9hX1qhaans_540.jpg
tumblr_inline_oj4y4pMt6I1qhaans_540.jpg
 

JFWR

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BC has all the dull conformism, potential for soulless repetition and comparative impracticality (relatively speaking) of the former “corporate uniform” with much less sharpness/ smartness.
Like any mode of dress, it can be done better or worse but it’s basically a pawn to mediocrity.
I'm not saying BC is good here at all, but isn't that exactly true of the suit? I mean yeah, suits look a bit nicer, but...lots of shitty suits back then.
 

FlyingHorker

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First time I've heard of not using J. Crew-esque chinos with sports coats. To me it has a similiar silhouette to jeans.

Pretty much like the guy on the right
 

Herders_Gulch

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Some ideas for business casual.

Sorry in advance to the people in the photo, but since this was brought up, I thought it would be a good frame of reference. IMO, a lot of stuff in this thread lacks a visual reference, so it's hard to know what people are talking about. Descriptors such as "wear a nice sweater" aren't very useful (at least to me).
I am going to consider this my own personal DWW consultation. Thanks!
 

corpseposeur

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I don’t get this take - CM isn’t inherently a costume and doesn’t have to look like it is. It’s not like we (most of us anyways) are wandering around trying to look like extras in Peaky Blinders or something wearing some old ass 4 button suit with a fedora and a red tie and pocket watch or something.

Tailoring can be worn well and inconspicuously. This is done easiest if I avoid the bright colored, sausage casing fit suits with skinny lapels or something super dated, orange/tan patina shoes, contrast cuff/collar shirts, shirts with a tiny collar, double windsor knots etc.
We don't disagree on this.

My point was that in the modern workplace, people don't care as much about dressing in a jacket and tie (at least that's my idea of CM) for a variety of business, economic and social reasons.
 

TexasToast

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Pardon my late entry into the is s thread but I made some real interesting observations regarding BC last week. On my way to Kent Wang I decided to make some casual notes on CM in the wild. It may have been 4pm give or take on a Wednesday and I noticed all the business men had ditched their ties. I saw one guy with a tie on and a bus driver lol is this what BC has come to.

As a former inmate of Wall Street circa 1980 you wouldn't be caught dead without a tie on the trading floor or risked being tarred and feathered. I truly miss CM in the wild as blue collar worker I don't have the opportunity to get dressed up as I'd like or I'd never get my job done.

Today I took delivery of my 20th tie with at least 5 on delivery to me. I'm waiting for my second pair of Beckett Simonon Oxford to capped shoes in black. I already have a pair of BS Oxford shoes in tan. I do have a mtm suit in navy that I'm trying to get the courage to wear to work.

Here's to the resurrection of CM.
 

corpseposeur

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Some ideas for business casual.

Sorry in advance to the people in the photo, but since this was brought up, I thought it would be a good frame of reference. IMO, a lot of stuff in this thread lacks a visual reference, so it's hard to know what people are talking about. Descriptors such as "wear a nice sweater" aren't very useful (at least to me).

I dislike this look below. It's bland and not very interesting. It's also not very flattering. It's just whatever.


View attachment 1690518


So what are some alternatives? Let's assume a suit is out of the question. We can then start with the sport coat and tie. Much has already been written about how to casualize this look without bastardizing it. Wear a jacket with a softer shoulder line instead of a structured shoulder line, choose a light blue shirt instead of white, and yes, wear derbies instead of oxfords


View attachment 1690522 View attachment 1690523


The next cut is to just lose the tie. If you need to casualize it further, you can wear long-sleeve polos or chambray shirts.


View attachment 1690524 View attachment 1690525


If this is still too formal, you can swap out the trousers for chinos or jeans. Note, as you do this, it's important to choose the right pants. The chinos should be single needle sewn and made like wool trousers; not double needle and what you typically find at J. Crew. If you wear jeans, they should have a certain cut (LVC 1947s work well) and the sport coat should also be dialed in accordingly (casual material, sportier cut).


View attachment 1690526 View attachment 1690527


Here we go down the casual scale! Sliding down and down, but at least keeping to CM. To casualize things further, you can swap leather shoes for plain white sneakers. Good for creative fields; not so much lawyers. But again, at least we're keeping to a CM look. Here, we're still getting the flattering effects of tailoring.


View attachment 1690529 View attachment 1690532


Down we go! OK, now we've dropped the tailored jacket and we're substituting it with an overcoat. On the upside, an overcoat will give you some of the flattering, face-framing effects of a sport coat. On the downside, this doesn't work for summer and it's not much help indoors. But it's an important stopping point because I think overcoats can be useful for guys who like CM but can't wear sport coats.


View attachment 1690533 View attachment 1690534



OK, now you're indoors, and you can't wear a sport coat. Instead of boring, plain merino v-necks and crewneck like the people in our first photo would probably wear, I think the outfit would look better if the knit was textured. There are too many options here for "textured sweater," but you can choose among Shetlands, Arans, cable knits, some kind of interesting contemporary design, etc. I'm ambivalent about shawl collar sweaters, but some guys like them (personally would not wear a shawl collar cardigan to the office, but some guys like the pullovers, and I think they're OK).


View attachment 1690535 View attachment 1690536


Another useful stopping point. I don't know if you can wear brands such as De Bonne Facture or Margaret Howell to the office, but I think they're halfway between CM and SWD. The clothes are minimalist and reasonably professional-looking. They are not too "out there." Yet, they have an aesthetic viewpoint.


View attachment 1690542 View attachment 1690543 View attachment 1690546 View attachment 1690545


OK, let's say that's too "out there" for you, and you need to stay very close to the guys in the first photo. That still makes me kind of sad, but you can maybe try this. A button-down collar shirt that's well-tailored, a tailored pair of trousers, and please (on my hands and knees) semi-casual shoes that are a sensible color such as brown and not oxfords.


View attachment 1690548


Depending on your office environment and lifestyle, you can try to dress up the look above with various classic outerwear options, such as field jackets or Barbours. This will still make more of an aesthetic statement than the guys in the first photo of this post.


View attachment 1690549 View attachment 1690550
We might as well end this thread here. This was brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed this and I felt like I learned something. Salut!
 

Jmr928

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We don't disagree on this.

My point was that in the modern workplace, people don't care as much about dressing in a jacket and tie (at least that's my idea of CM) for a variety of business, economic and social reasons.
They might not care but it also probably won’t stand out too much if it’s done well. If the goal is to blend in at a more casual office space think more Kenji Kaga
7500E525-8596-4B4D-89C1-ECBD65037CDF.jpeg
vs Luca Rubinacci (I think Luca dresses well, his style isn’t “blend in” though for this example)
E8B184D2-5A87-4BA6-A810-C8E3EA0D5D27.jpeg
Mark Cho
9FB8BC06-DB07-45D7-81EE-482F31308001.jpeg
or Alan See
E8D71E01-DF1B-4830-8BAE-6EC08DEF2769.jpeg
vs the Gentleman’s Gazette guys
1E1846B0-B75C-4E7E-A21D-43002F899CFE.jpeg
4ECAE52E-E972-4311-94A8-A515AFA7EB58.jpeg
 
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