business casual men summer
The advent of Memorial Day and the beginning of summer often brings on a more casual dress standard at work, either through policy, or more commonly, that which is unwritten but somehow known. If you are in management, you will set the tone for your office, and the men under you will (should) take their cues from you.
If your office is at the highest level of dress code, Executive Level, (think downtown major legal and financial firms) you may find yourself “relaxing” into the next level down which is Business Management. This level requires a suit, but with some additional options such as lighter colors and cooler fabrics. You can begin to incorporate tropical weight 180’s fabrics in taupe or medium gray, as well as polished cotton khaki suits in a range of tans to ivory colors, as well as navy. Summer suits are less constructed, of less expensive fabrics and cost less. So perhaps you can play a little more and add a couple to your wardrobe this year. Summer is also a good time to stray a bit into the land of pattern, and include some subtle windowpane plaids, or even (if you dare!)a seersucker suit. Sigh… I remember a cream linen three piece suit at Brooks Brothers when I worked there I would have loved to have put on some dapper gent!
Business Appropriate is the next level down, and probably the most common for professional offices. It will always include dress trousers and oxford shirt, but your coordinating jacket can hang all day on the back of your door with it’s matching tie rolled in one of the pockets, unless surprise drop in’s from important clients or the powers that be arrive. Shirt colors can be brighter, play with peach, or lilac or aqua. And if you have trouble matching, its your tie that has the power to pull the two together, so re-consider wearing one – just to look great!
If your office is open to the Business Casual option you have the most opportunity to be relaxed and comfortable. You may wear cotton khaki trousers and even a golf/polo type shirt. This is great for you, but please, know that the more casually you are dressed the easier it is for you to get sloppy. Cotton trousers for example are not as “carefree” as your wool blends, in that you cannot wear them without a trip to the washer and iron or dry cleaners twice in a row. They get stretched and wrinkled and they do not look the same the second day. Your polo’s need to be unwrinkled with the collar not bent – if you are not really anal about folding them (I’m not!) you will have to hang them in your closet on a decent hangar (not wire) to make sure they come out looking presentable. You will always need to accessorize your outfit with excellent leather goods, a good belt and shoes. You bought those Bucks last week right?:-) You can also look for woven leather loafers and other softer light brown and tan shoe options for summer. Relegate last years summer dress shoes to linen short and evening drinks and get a new pair for the office this year.
So enjoy the season, the new lighter, brighter colors and great opportunities to spread your wings a bit!
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