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The Compass  /  Style  /  6 Ways To Be The Best Dressed Man In a Casual Office

6 Ways To Be The Best Dressed Man In a Casual Office

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6 Ways To Be The Best Dressed Man In a Casual Office

Today’s well dressed men know you can wear a suit jacket with jeans if you follow a few key rules. Stay with the times, don’t do it wrong.


There are some offices out there where suits are still the norm, but much of the modern work world has moved to a more laid back dress code. Call it business casual or business informal or, one of our favorite oxymorons, “dressy casual” but whatever you call it, it took the American office by storm.With the advent of the business casual office, HR departments began offering fuzzy definitions about what is appropriate to wear to work for over twenty years now, but one thing is for sure: if you want to find the C-suite in a casual office, follow the blazers.

The hipsters at the creative firms and tech startups may go around in AC/DC T-shirts (worn with varying degrees of irony) but the blazer puts the “B” in bossman. Many of them do it poorly (putting a blazer over a blousy, untucked shirt and a pair of dad jeans isn’t fooling anybody into thinking you’ve got style) but they do it nonetheless. Here’s how to do it well.

Ways to Wear A Blazer to Work


Casual Business

With an open collar shirt and cotton pants (lightweight chinos in the summer, corduroys in the winter and denim year-round) this look exudes casual confidence.

When the blue blazer is solid, or subtly patterned, pump up the volume with a gingham shirt like we did for two of these looks.

When the jacket pattern packs a punch, like the Delancey Blue Windowpane Blazer shown here, think of your shirt as a simple blank canvas and stick with solid shirts.


Business Casual

In a business casual setting, wearing a tie and dress slacks with a blazer means you’ll always look buttoned up, without looking uptight.

All three of these business casual looks feature knit ties. That’s no accident. Like the blazer, the knit tie straddles the line between business formal and casual and is a perfect choice for a business casual look. (Bonus: they look great with a suit or a pair of jeans too.)


More Inspiration

Inspired to start rocking a blazer to work? For more on how to pull off this look, read our story on how we perfected the modern blazer.

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9 thoughts on “6 Ways To Be The Best Dressed Man In a Casual Office”

  1. I love the combination advice. I for one often have difficulty with matching ties with shirts except for the very obvious. I remember rocking a style combination here and almost everyone at church gave me compliments. Thanks BlackLapel!!!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      So glad to hear we could help you put together a strong look, Sam. Be sure you subscribe so you can get more tips like these regularly sent to you.

  2. Just wanted to take a minute to thank you guys for all the help, as a high school student from the south I see a lot of sweat pants and jeans with t-shirts, but I love the help you’ve given me to stand out and blazers are my favorite way to dress up casually. Thanks!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Glad we could help, James. Being a young man of style is not always easy, but keep reading (subscribe to our email list if you haven’t already) and we’ll keep dishing out sound advice to help you navigate.

  3. Love the Knickerbocker Windowpane Blue Blazer! Is it available as a full suit or just the blazer?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Glad you like it, Tyree. That’s a blazer only fabric. It’s made with a blend of cashmere and wool so it would make for a pretty heavy suit. Also, the cashmere and wool mix isn’t appropriate for pants and would result in pilling.

      The good news is, the Knickerbocker is available as an Unsuit (seen here), a combination of a jacket made from one fabric and pants made from another, if you’re looking for a head-to-toe outfit.

  4. I feel like I only see white pocket squares in the Compass. Do you ever recommend colored or patterned pocket squares?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Good eye, Clay. You are right we usually photograph our jackets with white pocket squares. That’s no knock on colored and patterned pocket squares. We love (and wear tons of) colored and patterned pocket squares. However, usually our coverage is about how to wear the jacket or the suit or the shirt and we found that guys can easily get distracted/thrown off by the addition of something else to match in the outfit. Since so many guys get stuck on matching, we keep it simple and focus on white squares.

      We’ll devote some pixels to pocket squares in the not too distant future, though, so keep coming back (and subscribe, if you haven’t already, to our emails).

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