Dressing for work is no longer a hard thing. As modern workplaces become more relaxed, so too do the rules of attire. Many companies have done away with the wholesale requirement to wear a tie.
Few will mourn the demise of the corporate dress code in all its buttoned-down, straight-laced conformity. That said, business attire still matters. How we dress is a powerful form of non-verbal communication. It can enhance our perceived status, inspire confidence in our abilities and it expresses respect for our colleagues. These things are still of great value in a work environment, regardless of whether we spend our nine-to-five at a vast corporation or a start-up.
The challenge for the modern professional, then, is how to channel such virtues in the era of the dressed-down office and the hoodie-clad CEO. There’s no single, universally applicable answer to this. Every workplace is different and you’ll have to figure out what works best for yours. To help you, here are some tips for a successful, formal and casual manager look. The mantra: upgrade the office rules, don’t abandon them entirely.
Formal business look
Undoubtedly the single-breasted, natural grey, is a must. Opt for either a charcoal grey suit with two buttons or a pinstripe suit with three buttons and back double slit.
If you feel like walking away from the safety of grey, try the variant in the Prince of Wales pattern but tone on tone. More impactful than single-breasted, the double-breasted jacket is ideal for those already familiar with the office savoir flair. Can be adapted in other beautiful variant colours blue and dark brown.
For each of these outfits, the shirts will be predominantly in cotton white or blue, with varying consistency depending on the season with the Italian collar. The shoes will be lace-up, black or dark brown, depending on the garment. Well polished and tidy.
The tie is a fundamental element. Excellent in both cases the solid colour or micro patterns that carry on within the weave of the same nuance of the clothing. If you are in a great mood, experiment with the colour.
Practical tips for a formal look
Tip # 1 – Tone on tone
A subtle plaid, plaid or houndstooth design, on a blue or grey base, will give the suit a visual boost.
Tip #2 – Accessories
A handmade silk tie with a Windsor knot is a must, pair it with an elegant tie clip, it’s a combo that packs punch.
Tip #3 – Briefcase
Sure, backpacks are convenient, but in terms of style, nothing beats a proper briefcase. Spacious enough to fit the work laptop, your wallet, documents, and whatever else you may need, a sleek leather briefcase will instantly raise the game of your outfit (and probably induce envy in your colleagues, too).
Tip #4 – Knitwear
During colder months, instead of wearing classic shirts or V-neck pullovers, opt for a turtleneck in extra-fine wool or cashmere. Black, dark blue or cream, ultra-chic.
Tip #5 – Shoes in shape
A couple of pairs of simple black Oxford shoes will provide you with years of service, assuming that you take good care of them. Here are three ways to do that. One: after taking them off store them on wooden shoe trees. Two: keep them polished. Three: check the weather forecast before leaving the house, especially during winter, and wear boots or sneakers on the commute if necessary.
Business casual look
Speaking of casual look we are not referring to a well-defined dress code, but a wide range of style possibilities are available. Although often a lot of opportunities rather than easing the task of choice have the opposite effect. So, what to wear when we do not have the obligation – with minimum exceptions – to dress in a suit and tie?
For those who think the jacket is the safest option and can’t give it up, the broken suit is the most suitable solution. The blazer will be the great protagonist of your look and the plus point is that you can indulge in combinations and different choice of colours. A dark green, or a brown, accompanied by blue trousers or a pair of jeans.
Given that you are allowed to wander with a jacket and trousers, personally, we suggest that for the shirts you should focus on white, French collar or button-down and combine. If you really do not feel like wearing a tie, a soft cashmere or cotton sweater will suit you. V-neck, classic, or round neck, wear any with a shirt. For the second alternative, if your work environment allows it, you can also leave your shirt in your wardrobe and wear an invisible t-shirt.
The shoes, whatever the look is, can be Derby model, but instead of the classic blacks, you can go with the beautiful shades of brown, in leather or suede, but never too light. In suede, you can also pick moccasins with fringes or tassels with a comfortable rubber sole.
Practical tips for a casual look
Tip #1 – Shoes
It’s tempting to think of work shoes as Oxfords and that’s it. But there are many shades of casual when it comes to footwear. For instance: a pair of lace-up Derbies, in a polished brown or black leather, or even suede, is a timeless choice that works with any outfit, smart or casual. Embrace luxe sneakers, Chelsea boots, and loafers too.
Tip #2 – Sartorial pants
A few pairs of well-tailored trousers in checks and stripes will keep your work wardrobe sharp allowing you to play with the upper part of the look. Pleated trousers with more tailored legs and tapered, cuffed hems are good options, as well as, slim-cut-chinos paired with knit polos in Summer.
Tip #3 – Broken suit
Networking, brindisi e intrattenere i clienti oltre le 6pm richiedono un guardaroba versatile che possa andare dalla scrivania all’alba. La soluzione è indossare capi separati su misura. Per creare un look spezzato che funzioni, cerca trame che si combinino bene insieme e gioca con sfumature della stessa base cromatica.
Networking, schmoozing and entertaining clients after 6 pm require a versatile wardrobe that can go from desk till dawn. Wearing tailored separates can be the best option. To create a broken suit that works, play with the shades of the same colour scheme.
Tip #4 – Dress-shirt
A well-fitting shirt is that piece that holds your business casual wardrobe together, and if you need a break from basic oxfords, there’s plenty on lanieri.com for you right now. Wearing a shirt in the office is the best alternative to get the right balance between a smart attitude and the desire to express to our employers that yes, you do actually want to be there. For summer? A knitted polo shirt is allowed. Wear it with simple trousers and loafers or under your favourite suit.
Tip #5 – Denim
Not all denim belongs in the business casual-compliant office, but the right buys will go a long way towards making your work wardrobe look less boring. Try a denim shirt or overshirt jacket with your dressier work clothes.
What not to wear in the office
- Except for young-casual contexts, pairing sneakers with a suit is a thorny issue that we suggest you avoid.
- Short-sleeved shirts. No matter how much you suffer from the heat in Summer, your effort will be appreciated by your superiors and colleagues.
- If you want to dress formal, let your suits with patch pockets in your wardrobe. They have an excessively sporty attitude and risk undermining the authority of your look.
- Socks are not so visible when you are standing, but when it comes to sitting the wrong choice can be fatal. So, forbid the sponge versions.
Office attire Made in Lanieri
If you want to renew your office wardrobe and you want to treat yourself with Made in Italy sartorial quality, here are two options for a casual business look and a more formal office outfit.