There is a lot to digest when it comes to the definition of business casual. To break it all down, we like to categorize the dress code into three buckets sorting from lenient to moderate and moderate to strict. Based on setting + audience, the most appropriate business casual dress look can be identified within one of these categories.
Let’s break it down further. Falling within these three buckets comes a few necessary key wardrobe items. We call these key items the “non negotiables”, which include a shirt with collar, pair of dress pants or chinos with a belt, and dress shoes.
Whether you are dressing for a relaxed office vibe that goes by business casual dress code or your work place is a bit more formal, the non negtiables should always be the starting point. From there, the look can be styled more strictly or more leniently. For example, on the lenient end of the spectrum a casual iteration of a belt such as a fabric belt would be appropriate rather than a leather dress belt. The lenient category allows for the non negotiables to become "negotiable", as shown below. Keep in mind, this does not mean all non negotiables become negotiable within one look. Balance of the key items should be considered within each business casual outfit. For example, a short sleeve polo may be okay when worn with dress khakis, but not jeans. Or, denim may be worn in lieu of dress slacks when styled with a tucked in button down, belt + cardigan.
Lastly, each look can be layered upon with what we refer to as the “bonus items”. Bonus items can be used to create a more tightened up look that leans formal or they may simply help to style and accessorize a casual look. The basic bonus items include a blazer or sport coat, layered knit, tie, and jewelry.
shop all featured looks: Bonobos chinos + Stantt dress shirt + Cole Haan dress shoes + Cole Haan shoes + Greats sneakers + Everlane cardigan + Bonobos dress pants + Nordstrom sweater + APC jeans + Bonobos blazer + Topman knit polo