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Mastering Business Casual: The Mismatched Suit


Sep 15, 2015
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Business casual is a dress-code oft used nowadays in many an industry, and at first may seem a bit of misnomer, a thumbed nose to the 'true-style' establishment. I've learned to embrace it though: if you look past the baggy chinos with equally billowing polo shirts of silicon valley, there really is an opportunity to show off some classic styles.

And one of the best ways to pull this attire off for anyone struggling with it is to go for the mismatched suit:

1) Pick a jacket

This should be your staple. Start by buying a few (sports) jackets, think light blue/dark blue/light gray/ dark gray to begin with. Remember, this is not a suit jacket per-se, so go for a slimmer fit than you usually would.


2) Keep the shirts light
Think simple: light pastels, thick pinstripes, no more than 2 colors.
Make sure they complement your jackets, light blue with gray, pink with blue, white with.. well anything.

3) Mismatch with some pants
Now to contrast the suit, and here's a tip: chinos. Start with a classic beige, but again think slim, and then add a dark blue etc.

Finally, add one or two brighter colors for occasional use:

(And don't be afraid to show off some ankle.)

4) Not too casual with the shoes
Your staple will be one or two pairs of your favorite dress shoes (oxford/balmorals, monstraps etc.), and to that add something more casual (driving loafers, brogues..).

5) Now finish the look
- Belts: clean, slim and matching your shoes.
- Pocket squares: Start collecting them. A great, and easy-on-the-wallet, way of rotating a small number of jackets. Be seasonal: bright in the Summer, chequering in the colder months.
- Socks: Go for bright colors and simple patterns. Consider losing them altogether in the Summer.

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