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In Praise of Business Casual

1969

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Any brands and/or easily accessible aesthetics for this? I know Derek mentioned DBF.

To compare, one reason I got into CM is the accessibility of it through brands like Spier & Mackay. Not much alterations or hand wringing involved. CM is also relatively clear cut to me.

SW&D I view as a massive umbrella containing many different aesthetics.
Marget Howell, which was mentioned and I'd add Stephan Scheider to some degree although it's sportswear. You could also look at Gerry's posts, which are much more heritage-driven, in the mc casual thread. I've played around with those kinds of looks at work but never felt comfortable as they are either too luxe fashiony (for work) or too country for my taste.
 
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FlyingHorker

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Marget Howell, which was mentioned and I'd add Stephan Scheider to some degree although it's sportswear. You could also look at Gerry's posts, which are much more heritage-driven, in the mc casual thread. I've played around with those kinds of looks at work but never felt comfortable as they are either too luxe fashiony (for work) or too country for my taste.
Ah ok, Gerry's Blue Blue Japan chore coats interested me a lot, and that would fall into it too. So a lot of what NMWA would sell.

I admit a lot of these brands are not accessible to me in terms of cost. Ironically, despite the class connotations, CM is more affordable these days to me.
 
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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


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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.


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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).


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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.


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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.


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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).


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Bravo! Thank you for taking the time to put together this distillation of experience and good taste. Thank you!
 

1969

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Ah ok, Gerry's Blue Blue Japan chore coats interested me a lot, and that would fall into it too. So a lot of what NMWA would sell.

I admit a lot of these brands are not accessible to me in terms of cost. Ironically, despite the class connotations, CM is more affordable these days to me.
Personally, and this isn't a knock on anyone's style, but I don't really like a lot of those kinds of looks in an office environment. I wear tons of stuff like that after work/weekend, but I don't want my outfits to be a focal point at work.
 

RSS

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Sir Jack II, I'd put a contract on you, but I don't know any guns for hire. ;)
 

smittycl

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Any brands and/or easily accessible aesthetics for this? I know Derek mentioned DBF.

To compare, one reason I got into CM is the accessibility of it through brands like Spier & Mackay. Not much alterations or hand wringing involved. CM is also relatively clear cut to me.

SW&D I view as a massive umbrella containing many different aesthetics.
DBF is great and I'm glad NMWA started stocking it. I wear it casually but not for BC at work, though. I find that the CM brands I like the most such as Zegna, Canali, and Paul Stuart all do great casual stuff as well. If I were only allowed to dress in one brand for work and play it would be Zegna.
 

Herders_Gulch

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Personally, and this isn't a knock on anyone's style, but I don't really like a lot of those kinds of looks in an office environment. I wear tons of stuff like that after work/weekend, but I don't want my outfits to be a focal point at work.
Our offices open in a couple weeks. There won’t be many people around, so just showing up will make me stand out. 🤣 It will also be a low stakes environment to try a DBF chore coat I got recently.
 

dieworkwear

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Should I spend $4k on a bespoke suit that I will likely wear 6 times in my life even though none of my peers or coworkers care about how much handstiching is involved? Or should invest wisely so I can afford a comfortable life in my mid-later years?
I'm middle-aged and wear bespoke suits so I feel more comfortable around people who sensibly saved for middle age.
 

Herders_Gulch

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Should I spend $4k on a bespoke suit that I will likely wear 6 times in my life even though none of my peers or coworkers care about how much handstiching is involved? Or should invest wisely so I can afford a comfortable life in my mid-later years?
I’m rebuilding my wardrobe right now, and set a rule for myself: don’t buy it unless you will wear it once a month on average. I’m not spending $4k on a suit right now, but the suits I have on order I will wear, come hell or high water. I have them styled more as sport coat suits, so the jackets won’t look like orphans if paired with odd trousers.

But: realistically, I know I am spending more than I “need” for clothes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

RSS

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Uh, I’m hoping the laugh emoji is appropriate for this one.
If you set up debate ... you get my vote of support. If I don't comment, it's just age. I've said and done it all ... so now I mostly read and leave the occasional emoticon.
 

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