Dressing sharply can significantly impact your confidence levels and ability to convey authority and close deals. With COVID-19 restrictions easing up and more people commuting to the office or traveling for work, we’ve compiled a list of business casual must-have items and tips.
Are you ready to take your sartorial aesthetic from WFH to polished and irresistible? Let’s get started.
Idea #1: Assess and Address
Take a long, hard look at your closet. You likely have staples such as button-down dress shirts and slacks that you use frequently, but many of your dressier seasonal pieces have probably been gathering dust.
So, the first order of business before jet-setting is to check whether last season’s attire still fits you. After that, you’ll need to take the necessary garments to the dry cleaners and buy items currently missing from your power dressing arsenal.
Idea #2: Embrace Timeless General Principles
Does your company have a dress code? Company culture may dictate what you can and can’t wear, especially if you operate in the law and finance spheres. Still, you can always be playful and experimental within the bounds of organizational rules.
- Be conscious of the climate in the place you’re going to and utilize layers to prepare for temperature shifts throughout the day.
- Don’t be afraid of bold colors and prints—a sprinkle here and there in an otherwise neutral wardrobe adds a necessary touch of verve and personal style.
- If you’re ever unsure about a style choice, dress up rather than down but favor conservative looks and clean silhouettes. Minimalism is the height of sophistication.
Idea #3: Stock Up On the Classics
The coronavirus pandemic and lack of demand for formal wear led major retailers like Brooks Brothers and J. Crew to file for bankruptcy.
Retailers had to cotton on to trends and make business casual wear comfier to survive the cultural shift. Think slimmed-down pant legs that gel with casual footwear and adjusted dress shirts that look good when untucked.
When restocking your wardrobe, try to purchase high-quality classic pieces that will last a long time. Clothing items that you can mix and match offer the ultimate flexibility.
You can wear these pieces often, style them half a dozen ways, and neither you nor your colleagues will tire of them. Look for well-fitting pants or custom make one or two flattering pairs of trousers.
Idea #4: Keep Things Versatile for Travel
Business trips may call for multiple looks to meet the demands of various meetings and speaking engagements.
To save some scratch, browse sales racks at your nearest department stores. Or, if you have $4000 for Hugo Boss and Tom Ford suits, consider designer clothing rental services. These options are great if you’re not willing to spend so much on rarely-used business casual wear in a post-pandemic world.
Remember these hints when planning your business trip.
- A beautiful polo neck and heavy double-breasted pea jacket combo may not be practical for warm weather. Pack a light crew neck sweater instead to be worn with or without a tie. Button-down sweaters work too.
- Think about swapping your dark-hued suits for lighter colors, including chocolate and beige tones. And in addition to your wingtips and fancy dress shoes, keep a sleek pair of sneakers on hand. Couple suits with casual kicks for an en vogue look that will take you from the high street to the boardroom.
- Polo shirts, golfers, refined T-shirts, chinos, and khakis are informal options for more relaxed business events. Lululemon ABC pants are stretchy and wrinkle-resistant and great for storing in your hand luggage if you need a change of clothing en route to your destination.
- You can leave your cargo shorts behind. But carry smart jeans for less formal outings and flights or train rides. Dressed-up denim is tried and tested and ideal for when you’re on the move.
- Optional extras include a belt, a watch (Apple or luxury), a pair of sunglasses, and luggage that complements your style.
What About You, Ladies?
The 2010s corporate-chic trend is back, albeit with a few modern tweaks and upgrades. The fit-for-Wall-Street look moved seamlessly from daytime to nighttime, and hybrid dressing where workwear serves as leisurewear is back under the spotlight.
Keep the following pointers in mind to hit the right notes:
- Choose relaxed, oversized tailoring in your shirts, coats, vests, and trousers. A little shoulder padding can enhance the shape of blazers.
- Monochromatic separates, for example, pleated cotton-twill shorts and a matching top, will help you look put together and dressed up without much effort—perfect when you’re on a company trip. A sweater and skirt set work well in cooler temperatures.
- In terms of shoes, chunky loafers and flat mules are in right now, but so are kitten heels if you’re looking for a bit of height. You can also opt for ballet flats. Skip the pantyhose if you like.
- When you’re packing light, select a single tasteful and versatile bag to complete your various outfits, as well as a headscarf or small chunky gold hoops for some old-school glamor.
- A blouse with a strong collar may serve you well, as should a sheath or shift dress, a long knit dress, a statement wool vest, a stretch-knit cardigan, and a structured coat.
- Be mindful of cultural norms in the city or country you’re going to, if relevant. An outfit may be too tight or revealing.
Complete Your Closet With Butler Luxury
These days, fashion-forward individuals who love their formal wear can take a power-casual approach on business trips. The vibe is pared-back elegance, and the attention to detail should extend to the way you store your clothing.
Butler Luxury is a purveyor of fine hangers and garment covers for men and women. Shop our range of exceptional trouser hangers and other storage accessories to protect your treasured garments for years to come.