Business Casual Outfits for Men: Outfit ideas and expert tips

Outfit #1. Perfect for a work event or day time event

THE BIG TAKEAWAY: Notice all the textures in this outfit– everything from the leather jacket to polo and heather grey pant. BUT they all look like they belong together.

How did he do this?

His stylist chose one color family to stay within as she put together this look. If you want to try this for yourself, test out staying within a grey color and then building an outfit with light to dark shades.

Outfit #2. The modern business casual go to outfit

THE BIG TAKEAWAY: Notice how he’s wearing all black but he looks so put together. Why? Because of the fit of his clothing and modern shoes. (Guys, please don’t wear gym shoes as daytime shoes).

Outfit #3. A timeless outfit perfect for day to night

THE BIG TAKEAWAY: Need to look more ‘formal’ but don’t want to wear a traditional long sleeve button up shirt? Try a polo. Polos are a great go to piece, that have a touch of formality but don’t read as casual as a plain t-shirt.

They are also an essential piece if you often go from the office to night time events. Throw on a blazer for a night out and you’ll be good to go!

Looking for more Business Casual Outfits for him? Check out this blog post and be sure to follow Next Level Wardrobe on Instagram

Working from home- how I figured out what to wear

My first day as an entrepreneur, I remember LOVING the fact that I had no dress code. I thought, “this is the ultimate freedom!” No more having to follow guidelines or dress a certain way my boss wanted me to.

And so I did what any person who gets to work from home does…

I worked in sweatpants.
I worked in my pajamas.
I worked in ultimate comfortable clothing (that I’d never be caught dead in outside)

But shortly after, I realized that I didn’t feel that great. I definitely wasn’t as productive. There was a general haze that washed over me hour by hour because of how I presented myself (to myself) each and every day.

Some recent work from home outfits

So how did I create a work from home wardrobe that I love wearing?

1. Always remember to focus on core colors, fit and invest in the right pieces.

It can be tempting to go out and buy whatever is on sale to fill a void. Or to buy into the latest trend you see Brad Pitt wearing. But it’s much easier than you think to build a work from home wardrobe and that’s by focusing on 3 key areas– core colors, fit and the right pieces. (Sign up here for my complimentary guide on the 3 pieces you should have in your closet today)

2. Realize that you can be stylish AND comfortable.

Many people think that if you look stylish that you have to be uncomfortable. My private clients are surprised to learn that they are actually MORE comfortable and BONUS, more stylish. There are so many great clothing options that incorporate comfortable details like stretchy fabric, elastic waistbands, drawstring and more!

3. You don’t have to get rid of everything hanging in your closet.

Most people think that if they have a new work dress code that they have to throw everything in their closet away and start fresh. NOT TRUE.
Yes, you should do a closet edit to make sure that your clothes are aligned with your new lifestyle but many of the basics (t-shirts, blazers, trousers) you can actually keep to dress them down (or up!)

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest and Instagram, where I’ll be talking a lot more about work from home stylish essentials and comfortable uniforms.

Business casual outfits for Men

What is business casual?

There is a lot of confusion around business casual because

  • HR usually doesn’t provide images of what they mean
  • It can vary from industry to industry
  • ultimately everyone has their own interpretation of it

Business casual is a step down from a formal (think- suits) dress code, but isn’t as casual as a no dress code (think- tee and jeans). It still has to have a professional feel, look and most importantly represent your company in the right way.

As a private styling in New York City, I’ve worked with many clients who needed help navigating this dress code. They didn’t want to dress in a traditional way of a long sleeve button down, baggy khakis and dress shoes. 

My clients wanted to develop a classic, effortless looking business casual style and with my help they looked incredible.

Next Level Wardrobe clients

Here are 3 ‘next-level’ tips for to remember when dressing for business casual.

DITCH YOUR JEANS

Business casual means no jeans throughout the week, maybe on casual Friday. So what do you wear instead? Try a pair of sleek trousers. This is a modern update to the traditional khakis that you usually see most guys wearing.

There are now stylish, comfortable trouser options as well that have drawstrings, stretch fabric and some are even water repellant. Suitsupply has great trouser options for all body types, check out a style I recommend here.

Traditional business casual baggy khakis
The modern sleek trouser

SPORT A LUXE SWEATER

One of the easiest ways to upgrade your look is to incorporate better, more luxe fabrications in modern styles, like a lightweight sweater.

This style you can dress up easily, by doing a sophisticated layered look or you can wear casually on the weekends. Be sure to look for wool blends or cashmere fabrications. These natural fabrics will breathe and will have a flattering fit.

Dressing up a lightweight sweater. The collar and tie make it feel more formal.
Dressing down a lightweight sweater. The sneakers and no-layered look give it a casual feel.

SHOES MATTER

Leave the square toed dress shoe and gym sneaker at home. 

Please leave these styles at home! 

Instead, choose for a modern sneaker or leather boot. These styles come in a variety of colors and textures. I recommend a grey leather sneaker and a brown suede boot. Between these two pairs, you’ll be covered year around for your business casual footwear needs and best of all, you’ll be able to wear them for day time at the office to a work event in the evening.

Just say no to dated dress shoes
The suede texture gives these shoes more of a modern, classic feel.

Visit https://nextlevelwardrobe.com/ to sign up for my complimentary guide to learn about the 3 essential items you need for your wardrobe. 

Dressing well when you’re the youngest on the team

If you’re one of the younger members of your team, here’s how to dress to boost your confidence and get the respect you deserve.

One styling method that I use for my younger female clients is blending ‘masculine and feminine’ elements into one outfit:

Notice the blend of both worlds here– the structured coats in grey and navy prints give a feeling of power and confidence. While the jeans, trousers and even footwear communicate approachability and casualness.

For my younger male clients who want to dress well, be sure to focus on the FIT of your clothing.

You want to ensure that your clothing hugs your body, which in turn will flatter your figure and will make you look powerful as well as put together. Wearing clothing that is too big will make you look sloppy and disheveled.

Remember fitted clothing doesn’t mean TIGHT or uncomfortable.

How to dress when you don’t have a dress code

“I’m not in a work environment where I have to wear a suit and tie everyday, but I still want to look sharp.”

“I’m a software engineer and we have a ‘look’ — jeans, t shirt, sweater and sneakers but I want a more elevated style that is still functional. Something that would say, ‘Yes I’m a software engineer but hella stylish and can totally be director one day.’ ”

     These are common challenges that I hear from my clients around navigating what to wear to work. Many people work in super casual offices and are confused about what to wear to convey that they are serious about their job, amazing at what they do and are capable of being promoted.

     They are surrounded in a sea of free oversized hoodies, baggy jeans and logo t-shirts that they become overwhelmed about how they can develop a professional style that doesn’t put them front and center.

Look familiar?

Updating your style for such a casual environment can seem risky. If you wear anything that your coworkers aren’t wearing (eg. a free oversized hoodie or baggy jeans) — there is a possibility that others could take notice and ask you, “so why’d you dress up today?”.

     Or worse, they’d could think that you are trying too hard and then you’d be the center of attention. (eek!)

What we *think* we’d look like if we updated our work style vs what our co-workers are actually wearing.

The good news is that you can update your style to look like you aren’t trying too hard.  You can create a style that looks effortless, polished but still fits into the casual work context.

     So today, I’m going to show you how you can use 4 well-known casual pieces to create a more elevated, professional style.

1. The Hoodie

Why does this work?

– FIT: everything fits his body perfectly.

– COLORS: they are unexpected and understated.

– SNEAKERS: this is the perfect accessory to express your personality. You can either do a solid color or a more fashion forward pair.

2. Denim

Why does this work?

– FIT: all pieces flatter his body well and don’t add extra weight.

– COLORS: you can never go wrong with grey, navy, black and white.

-POLO: because this style has a collar, it can feel a tad more formal. But it is made more casual here with jeans and sneakers.

3. Black Pants

Why does this work?

– COLOR: this has some personality with a pop of the teal long cardigan.

– STYLES: this outfit is all about basics with a twist. For example, it’s not just black jeans, they have a coating on them to make them more interesting. – VERSATILITY: pair this outfit with sneakers for super casual, casual flats for elevated casual or heels for dressed up.

4. T-Shirt

Why does this work? – SIMPLICITY: two main pieces are very casual (t shirt and jeans) but are taken up a notch with the blazer and the loafers. – COLOR: notice the pop of the shoes, if you want to tone down you could do sneakers as well. But main focus are simple colors (white/dark blue) that are understated.

If you want more style guidance and support, I have two options for you:

  1. Follow me on Instagram and sign up for my email list where I regularly post about style stories, tips and more!
  2. If you don’t have time to figure this all out and are ready to get long term style solutions, apply to become my private client here. I’ll help you create the perfect, timeless style for your body type and lifestyle.

-Cassandra NYC Personal Stylist and Founder, Next Level Wardrobe

Do This When You Don’t Know What to Wear

Today, I’m going to share with you a fashion formula that you can use immediately to look put together, effortless and professional- for any work occasion.

What most of us normally do every morning:

  • You walk to your closet, put something on, look in the mirror and it doesn’t look quite right…(but you can’t figure out why)
  • So you then decide to switch the top, then see it has a stain…
  • Then you realize you don’t like your pants…
  • And now your entire outfit is just not right…
  • After 15 minutes you decide to put on outfit that looks ‘good enough’ because you are late.

Instead, do this:

Statement Sweater
+
Classic Trousers
+
Timeless Sneakers
=
Effortless, Put Together, Classic Style

This easy to remember formula can be used for men and women of all body types to quickly put together an outfit you’ll love.

Check out some inspiration looks for how you can style this:






Cashmere turtleneck with baggy trousers and fun sneakers. So chic!






Crewneck sweater with classic grey trousers and effortless sneakers. Wow!

-Cassandra

Founder, Next Level Wardrobe

PS- Want more regular style inspiration? Be sure to follow me on Instagram.

What to wear to work…no matter the dress code

I often hear from clients and friends that they are confused about what to wear to work.

Some common questions I get include:

  • “I recently started my own company after working in a corporate setting. How do I dress in that middle ground (aka business casual)?”
  • “I am the face of my brand and want to be more thoughtful in my appearance- how can I get a lot of wear out of my wardrobe for all the press I will be doing?”
  • “I recently got promoted and notice that management dresses in a different way. How can I dress better to be more in line with them and their image?”

Here are 6 Next Level examples of how you can dress for any work environment:

Notice that these looks are not:

  • Overly complicated or uncomfortable.
  • Reuse the same pieces but for different contexts.
  • Fashion forward pieces that are going to go out of ‘style’ in 6 months.

What do you find challenging about your work dress code? and why? Email me at [email protected], I’d love to hear from you!

And if you don’t have time to figure this all out and just want it done for you, click here to apply to become a private client.

-Cassandra

NYC Personal Stylist + Founder, Next Level Wardrobe

How to instantly look more put together

What do all these outfits have in common?

and how do these outfits look compared to those above?

What was the first thing that stuck out to you for all these looks? Was it the fit? A specific item they were wearing? Or did you notice the colors?

The biggest difference between the first batch and the second is COLOR. The first batch has too much of it and the second batch showcases outfits that are more thoughtful in color coordination.

How does the second batch of outfits look cool, cohesive, approachable and more put-together?

These outfits focus on only FOUR colors! These 4 colors are season-less, look great on all body types and look amazing when paired together to create an outfit.

Today, I’m going to share with you “Next Level System” that I use for all my one-on-one clients to make sure they avoid style boredom with their wardrobe.

First, let’s look at this color hierarchy pyramid that I’ve created.

This is a guideline that you can use for your wardrobe to ensure you have the right colors in your closet.

Next, let’s dive into the details with some outfit inspiration.

50% : CORE COLORS

40% : TONAL TEXTURES

These colors are light to dark of Navy and Grey. You can also incorporate the Tonal prints as seen in the 2nd the 4th picture.

10% : SEASONAL COLOR & PRINTS

This is where you can interject seasonal color trends.

One of the biggest reasons that I recommend my 50/40/10 Rule is because I have found that it will make you look instantly more put together, intentional with your style and prevent common frustrations. We have all had those moments that we put on the same top and bottom — why? Because it’s “one less decision that we have to make in our day”, it fits, it’s comfortable and it’s just fine.

Don’t have time to figure all this out and just want it done for you? Click here to apply to become a Next-Level private client!

-Cassandra

NYC Personal Stylist + Founder, Next Level Wardrobe

Who is your style role model?

When I chat with new clients, I always ask them if they have someone that they look up to for style inspiration- it could be someone in their life or online.

Many guys that I talk to 99% of the time do not name anyone and I understand why. Talking about your favorite place to shop, how great your outfit looks or where you get your alterations done are not hot topics among men to chat about with their friends!

But, I believe that it is important to surround yourself with people that you look up to- in any area of your life- so you can learn from them, observe and ultimately this will help you become an even higher quality person.

Surrounding yourself with men who have great style is no exception. While it may be more challenging in real life to find these role models, you can find them online.

It is important to do this because:

  • You can figure out what you like and don’t like.
  • You will get tons of inspiration about where you want to take your personal style.
  • You will get comfortable and ok with saying ‘I want to dress better.’

So let me introduce Jeff, Sundar and Kevin. You may have seen or heard of them before- they run a few small companies called Amazon, Google and Instagram.

What do these guys have in common?

  • They are busy entrepreneurs.
  • Developing their style didn’t come easy to them. Understanding how to put together outfits wasn’t intuitive.
  • Their time was most valuable to them so they would pay anything to outsource looking better.

Ultimately, these guys realized that dressing better communicates a refined image and impression– before they even open their mouth to speak!

Jeff, Sundar and Kevin are great examples of style role models that have made the transformation themselves and look much better.

Who is your style rolemodel and why? Shoot me an email at [email protected] and let me know!

-Cassandra

Founder, Next Level Wardrobe

PS- Want more regular style inspiration? Be sure to follow me on Instagram.