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In Praise of Business Casual

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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I liked this when I read it https://alanflusser.com/media/business-casual

I don't think you're gonna stand out wearing something like this

and then you can have a sc as outherwear


I think it looks perfectly fine even in a tech company (wear socks thou)
My main issue with these two looks:


tumblr_inline_oj4ylqo8qW1qhaans_540.jpg
image-asset.jpg



Is that what you're really looking at are two handsome dudes with good figures. Graeme (the first guy in the set of two photos) is an avid cyclist. I assume Jonathan works out.

The outfits look good partly because the two men have a naturally V-shaped torso, so the outfit (shirt and pants) works because the figure already has the silhouette that good tailoring is supposed to confer.

On men with different types of builds (say heavy or pear-shaped, which is most men), the outfit will look less great. There is nothing in a button-up shirt that will hide this because a shirt is a flimsy piece of cloth that will take on your figure. A shirt can make you look better or worse, but it can't give you a new figure.
 

mhip

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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
1634948542286.png
 

apShepard

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My main issue with these two looks:


View attachment 1690570 View attachment 1690571


Is that what you're really looking at are two handsome dudes with good figures. Graeme (the first guy in the set of two photos) is an avid cyclist. I assume Jonathan works out.

The outfits look good partly because the two men have a naturally V-shaped torso, so the outfit (shirt and pants) works because the figure already has the silhouette that good tailoring is supposed to confer.

On men with different types of builds (say heavy or pear-shaped, which is most men), the outfit will look less great. There is nothing in a button-up shirt that will hide this because a shirt is a flimsy piece of cloth that will take on your figure. A shirt can make you look better or worse, but it can't give you a new figure.
I mean, I agree I suppose. I don't see how that changes when you wear tailoring. Not even the best tailor in the word will be able to make you look good if you are obese or really ugly.

Sorry, thats how real life works.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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I mean, I agree I suppose. I don't see how that changes when you wear tailoring. Not even the best tailor in the word will be able to make you look good if you are obese or really ugly.

Sorry, thats how real life works.
I don't think that's true. Do you wear sport coats or suit jackets? Do you not see how good tailored clothing can change your silhouette? The structure in a jacket creates a new form.
 

Herders_Gulch

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I mean, I agree I suppose. I don't see how that changes when you wear tailoring. Not even the best tailor in the word will be able to make you look good if you are obese or really ugly.

Sorry, thats how real life works.
Losing 20 made me far more interested in dressing well, so agree
 

corpseposeur

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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 View attachment 1690557 vs Luca Rubinacci (I think Luca dresses well, his style isn’t “blend in” though for this example) View attachment 1690558 Mark Cho View attachment 1690561 or Alan See View attachment 1690559 vs the Gentleman’s Gazette guys View attachment 1690562 View attachment 1690563
I see your point.

If I'm being honest, I think all of those guys are overdoing it a bit and a bit precious at least in those photos.

I stopped paying attention to GG after they tried to sell the idea of wearing a stroller suit.
 

corpseposeur

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Losing 20 made me far more interested in dressing well, so agree
The more my metabolism fails me as I age, the more I expect out of my tailors.

Also congrats on the weight loss! I managed to drop about 10 myself during the pandemic but I've slacked off since.
 

apShepard

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I don't think that's true. Do you wear sport coats or suit jackets? Do you not see how good tailored clothing can change your silhouette? The structure in a jacket creates a new form.
I do wear coats, but always unbuttoned. And I think they do help your figure more than a casual outherwear piece. It's why tailoring works so good on older men, their shoulders are not as strong as when they are were young. But if you think that an overweight 50 y.o with perfect tailoring is gonna look better than an 25 y.o. athlete in casual clothes, dunno what to say.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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I do wear coats, but always unbuttoned. And I think they do help your figure more than a casual outherwear piece. It's why tailoring works so good on older men, their shoulders are not as strong as when they are were young. But if you think that an overweight 50 y.o with perfect tailoring is gonna look better than an 25 y.o. athlete in casual clothes, dunno what to say.
I don't think the comparison is "50-year-old overweight guy" versus "25-year-old athlete." I think the question is how do you make each person look like the best version of themselves. Second, I don't think that a heavy 50-year-old necessarily has to look worse than a 25-year-old guy. There have been many guys who have passed through this board who are on the heavier side, and they are tremendously well dressed simply because they have access to good tailors and they know how to dress.

Here's a photo to show some of the shaping that can go into a coat. Notice the shoulder line and the fullness of the front blades (the chest). The shoulder line is slightly extended; the blades are full, such that there is excess fabric that drapes along the armhole.


16110986_1216689501749154_3857507993385959424_n.jpg



That type of cut can give the illusion of a more athletic figure. See the shaping in this coat.

20181443_484652721874684_1238148589360775168_n.jpg




Look at Mariano here. Do you think that a man of his age naturally has that figure? Or is he naturally more rounded underneath that coat?


Rubinacci-1.jpeg




Here's another example. Here we see a very softly tailored jacket. There's almost nothing in this jacket and it fits almost like a shirt. This reveals the wearer's natural body.


Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 11.33.33 AM.png




On some guys with less than ideal figures (say sloping shoulders, narrow shoulders, wide hips, etc), this will not look very flattering.

aw17 boglioli flanell 1.jpeg



Yet, if you use padding, haircloth, canvas, and a bit of good tailoring, viola, you suddenly have a different figure. Compare this silhouette to the one above of the same wearer.


Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 11.33.17 AM.png



A shirt will of course be closer to the very soft, unstructured silhouettes discussed above because it has literally nothing underneath. So it will just reveal your body.
 

Leiker

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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
Incredibly informative. Thanks for this.
 

JFWR

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My main issue with these two looks:


View attachment 1690570 View attachment 1690571


Is that what you're really looking at are two handsome dudes with good figures. Graeme (the first guy in the set of two photos) is an avid cyclist. I assume Jonathan works out.

The outfits look good partly because the two men have a naturally V-shaped torso, so the outfit (shirt and pants) works because the figure already has the silhouette that good tailoring is supposed to confer.

On men with different types of builds (say heavy or pear-shaped, which is most men), the outfit will look less great. There is nothing in a button-up shirt that will hide this because a shirt is a flimsy piece of cloth that will take on your figure. A shirt can make you look better or worse, but it can't give you a new figure.
So basically, you're contending that the best part about the jacket is that it is more flattering for everyday body types vs. very athletic types?

That'd make sense, as the jacket sort of gives a nicer silhouette than what you might actually get from your body.
 

Sir Jack II

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In this regard, BC is truth, no hiding behind a jacket. The flattering silhouette is your body, so make the best of it.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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So basically, you're contending that the best part about the jacket is that it is more flattering for everyday body types vs. very athletic types?

That'd make sense, as the jacket sort of gives a nicer silhouette than what you might actually get from your body.
I think nearly all outfits look better with some kind of finishing layer. If you're not wearing some kind of finishing layer (field jacket, sport coat, topcoat, or whatever), then you end up having to find other ways to make the outfit look interesting. For guys who are into CM, this is often difficult because the aesthetic is more restrictive. It's harder to play with colors, proportions, silhouettes, etc. When you look at other aesthetics, this is not always so, but guys who are into CM are often not interested in those aesehteics.

Generally speaking, I don't think CM has found a good alternative for a tailored jacket. As soon as you lose the tailored jacket, things get murkier, which is why I included the topcoat (of limited use, but still useful) and slightly more directional SWD brands (e.g. Margaret Howell and De Bonne Facture).

The other advantage of the tailored jacket is that it can help build up a silhouette. A dress shirt can't do this because it has no structure underneath. If you naturally have a slim v-shaped figure, like the Statue of David -- the idealized male body type in Western culture -- then of course you will look good. But if you don't, then you will probably not look good in a dress shirt and chinos/ tailored trousers. The idea is to avoid the look expressed in that NYT photo.

This is another example of the shaping that can go into a tailored jacket. If you have narrow shoulders, sloping shoulders, wide hips, etc, you can build out the jacket so that it broadens the shoulder line and make the waist look slimmer by comparison. Can't do this with a dress shirt. Look at the extended shoulder, full chest, and sculpting on the waist here. This looks good, but it is not the wearer's natural body or a silhouette you can create with a dress shirt.


rulrgif7.jpg
 

TexasToast

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I've walked around Manhattan a few times in the past week and the prevailing look for the "well-dressed" man seems to be a standard issue worsted navy suit, a white shirt with a spread collar, and those sneaker/shoe hybrid things. The people I see in suits with a tie are either entry-level younger men, or very high level executives but even the latter, likely sensing the writing is on the wall are opting for polo shirts a blazer and khakis, even in the financial industry.

I think a full suit except in the most formal of settings ex. a wedding or something, often looks out of place today especially in the (soon to be) post-pandemic landscape. Friends of mine who are corporate lawyers are also pretty dressed down.

While I expect to work remotely for the foreseeable future, if I were to go into an office, I would likely wear some darker MTM cotton or flannel pants, shoes or boots in dark brown, an oxford shirt with a sweater or a bespoke or MTM jacket. I think done right, this look can be done so that someone can look well tailored and classic but not costume-y. I know that there's a contingent here that seeks to bring the three-piece suit "back". I wish them luck. I think that those days are long over and gone the way of the stroller suit or pantaloons.

As creative professional I would look completely ridiculous showing up to a meeting in a worsted pinstriped suit and tie. I also don't buy this idea that a black t-shirt and motorcycle boots implies contemporary or forward thinking thought.
If I could show up to my IT job in a worsted pinstriped suit and tie I would but out of respect for the suit I wont lol.
I see your point.

If I'm being honest, I think all of those guys are overdoing it a bit and a bit precious at least in those photos.

I stopped paying attention to GG after they tried to sell the idea of wearing a stroller suit.
Or buying a $135 tie.
 

Herders_Gulch

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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.
I definitely gravitate toward these looks, as well as Stoffa and Saman Amel. The only challenge is whether this would be in line with my internal clients. I don’t recall where I found it, but this is directionally where I would like to go:

1634956051690.png


Generally speaking, I don't think CM has found a good alternative for a tailored jacket. As soon as you lose the tailored jacket, things get murkier
Chore coats and overshirts seem to be an option for filling this void, especially for BC. Why not? I fully expect to see people in my office adopting athleisure into business casual, since it is now common on video conferences.
 

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