What are you going to wear? Sometimes it’s good to look at a few suggestions then add your own tweaks and ideas. That’s what these are for. “Business Casual” doesn’t have to be a bad thing. And while workplaces are getting more and more casual, it’s still the norm for many. Is it possible to upgrade the usual, yawn-worthy trousers/tucked in shirt/clunky lace up shoes combination? Absolutely. Here’s one way, without straying too far (i.e. adding a sportcoat) from the norm.
The Sweater: UNIQLO Extra Fine Merino V in Navy – $39.90. The HVAC systems in most offices can be downright unpredictable. Some days it’s hypothermic, and then the next day it’s so stifling that you wonder if Cerberus has moved into the adjacent cubicle. So skip the cheap cotton or cotton/cashmere blends and opt instead for wool. It’ll keep you warm when it’s cold, and not hold on to sweat when it’s hot. UNIQLO’s extra fine merino v necks are a deal at just under $40, and sometimes less when on sale. They move extremely well, and the V dips neither too far, nor too shallow.
The Pants: Nordstrom Flat Front Wool Trousers – $59.70 ($99.50). Just like the sweater, the upgrade here is to wool. And it’s worth it. Along with the temperature regulating characteristics, wool doesn’t wrinkle like a pair of cotton chinos will. And you can go plenty of wears between dry cleaning. The “light grey” here is neither boring-khaki, or a too-dressed-up charcoal. Lightweight and very comfortable. If you don’t want to mess with taking these to a tailor to get hemmed (they come unfinished), try the Lands’ End Tailored Fit year’rounder. You can have those hemmed to a precise length before they ever hit the post.
The Shoes: Banana Republic Tully Suede Chelsea Sneaker – $76.80 when 40% off ($128). If Sportscenter anchors are wearing sneakers with suits, then most of us can get away with a pair of suede sneakear/chelsea hybrids in our business casual office. If you don’t think you can? Opt for some suede wingtips. Skipping the smooth leather laceups, especially the conservative chunky kind, and opting for something a bit more contemporary in suede, is an easy switch that makes a big impact. Still professional, but a lot more style points.
The Watch: Seiko SNDC31 Chrono – $99.99. Man. Some of you lost your MARBLES on social the other day when the review of the new Todd Snyder Timex went live. “But I got an automatic blah blah quartz sucks bla bla cheap Timex blergh blergh WHARRGABL!!!” So yeah, it’s overpriced. That’s acknowledged in the post. Anyway, opt instead for this Seiko chronograph. A lot less money compared to the new T.S. Timex, and you get that same vintage aesthetic.
The Shirt: Banana Republic Slim-Fit Tech-Stretch Cotton Solid Shirt – $47.70 when 40% off ($79.50). BR’s newest foray into the world of techwear. A basic, button down white shirt, but in a blend of 57% cotton, 40% “COOLMAX polyester,” and 3% spandex. Got a few on the way for review. Reviews so far are positive.
The Belt: Marino Genuine Leather Ratchet Dress Belt in Burnt Umber – $19.99. Do NOT knock these until you’ve tried them. Sure, you might want to point and yell “NERD ALERT” at the sight of a ratchet belt, but avoid the cheesy buckles and go with the ones that make it look like you’re wearing a regular ol’ belt, and you’ll never go back.
The Briefcase: Frye Carter Slim in Olive – $173.96 ($348.) Canvas and leather = casual but not too casual. Half off helps too.
The Writing Utensil: Lamy AL-Star Fountain Pen in Grey Aluminum – $39.96. Even though we’re living in the digital age, having a dependable (and not to mention, slick looking) pen on you isn’t a bad idea. We worker-bees still write. The aluminum exterior helps keep it light, and the extra ink cartridges are good to stash in your desk. This way, with your own pen, you won’t have to depend on office-provided, chewed up Bics Pete in Sales has been gnawing on all day, every day. Seriously. Dude goes through ballpoints like floss.