Down to Business Part I.

Posted on October 7, 2009 in How To Dress For Work, Office Wear, Outfit Ideas.

Again, muchos apologies for the intermittent posting, but I’ll strive to continue to keep up a few posts a week while I balance my day job, drinking, drama, and darts.

It’s much belated, but I’ll begin once again to highlight particular outfit ideas. Rather than for going out, these will be targeted for wearing to work so that we don’t run into the problems that I recently outlined .

The rules are the same as for the previous posts: all the pieces are from the same mass market retailer and I’ll work within a budget. Let’s extend it to $300 since I was over budget virtually every outfit.

The first outfit will be the most casual of business casual. A place of work where wearing chinos is perfectly acceptable, and wearing dress trousers and a tie would be seen as a tad odd.

As mentioned before, we’re going to update your khakis, both in the fit and the color. I’ve chosen a nice pair of grey flat front chinos that are clean and very stylish. The unique color will help to get you out of the khaki rut, while the fit brings your look up to date. Reviewing the fit rules for pants: flat front and precise fitting are the biggies. These come in several different colors, but I like grey the best. It’s different and more modern.

The image makes it look like the pants are a little bit short, so I’d go with a longer inseam and just get it hemmed.

Photo credit: JCrew.

Photo credit: JCrew.

Now, finding a shirt that matches, and isn’t blue, is a bit tougher. I’ll admit that blue would work very well with the chinos selected above (blue and grey go well together), but instead I chose a grey and white striped dress shirt. I know from the image that the shirt by itself looks very muted and sort of bland. But, the key is to imagine it as a piece in the rest of the outfit.

The rich grey color of the chinos will help to bring out the positive qualities of the shirt. Also, we’re keeping it in the same color family which is modern and cool. The stripes add a bit more style than the typical solid dress shirts, while keeping everything professional. And, we’ve avoided blue completely.

Just because you’re not going out, doesn’t mean you can ignore the fit rules. This shirt is cut slimmer to avoid the bagginess of most office shirts. This is a good thing. Embrace it.

Photo credit: JCrew.

Photo credit: JCrew.

I’ve mentioned this previously, but JCrew’s Fall shoe offering is a bit sparse on the dressier shoes. But, that’s OK, because office wear should be slightly muted stylistically. Regardless, we can fall back on our (my) favorite shoe the wingtip. The wingtip is a heftier shoe that will anchor the entire outfit.
Here is a brown version of their wingtip (it comes in black). Don’t let the grey of the pants and shirt frighten you away from wearing brown. The contrast of the grey with the deep brown is very stylish. You can get a bit of a hint from the photo of the pants above, as the model has on a (lighter/weirder) shade of brown, yet it still looks great.

Photo credit: JCrew.

Photo credit: JCrew.

Bottom Line
Pants: $60
Shirt: $55
Shoes: $170

Total: $285

Not bad for an entire outfit. This of course is just an example of what you can do. Swapping out the shirt (while keeping the same pants) will give the outfit a completely different look (yes, you can go with blue, just go with a different hue than light blue). Also, you can opt for a patterned shirt to mix it up a bit.

You may be thinking that this outfit is startling similar to some of the other outfits that I’ve highlighted for going out. You’re right. Since this is the most casual, it will be very similar to previous outfits. However, you’ll find that even the dressier outfits bear more than a little resemblance to outfits I’ve selected for going out. This is because the fundamental rules typically don’t change from occasion to occasion. Things that do change are the details. For instance having your shirt pressed, choosing more muted fabrics and colors, and wearing polished shoes. Cumulatively, these subtle changes will completely alter the look of the outfit.

What do you think?