There aren’t a whole lot of Don Drapers left. Fewer and fewer offices require their employees to show up to work in formal business attire, and some have even given up on asking their employees to ‘come in’ at all. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2017, 43% of Americans worked remotely at least once during the year. That leaves us with a pretty big question; what does it mean for a guy to have a business wardrobe when the very idea of the office is changing?
First and foremost, it means that guys need to have a broader and maybe more considered number of casual outfits for the work week. Sure, you won’t be wearing suits every day, but you should still look clean and your outfit well put together. The modern guy should also be prepared to dress formally for work when the time comes. Whether it be for a big pitch, an important meeting, or for some formal work event – having the ability to dress sharp is important. So for that reason, we’ve put together a list of what we see as the best business wardrobe essentials. Having one or two of these hanging in your closet will ensure that you’ll be prepared for whatever big promotion or meeting is in your future.
Built For Breaking Hearts And Beating Back Office A/C
You don’t necessarily always have to wear your best blazer to work. Instead, you can pick a somewhat less formal sport coat to throw on over your shirt before heading out the door. Whether you’re looking for something more traditional – or an almost total reimagination of what kind of fabrics should be used to make a blazer – we have the best picks right here.
Bonobos Lightweight Italian Blazer
Wool is just about one of the most dynamic fabrics out there. Not only does it have the capacity to look great in sport coats like this one from Bonobos, but it also manages to stay cool during the warmer times of the year.
Ministry of Supply 3D Blazer
Ministry of Supply is more than willing to go against the grain. Take their 3D Blazer for example. Made from a technical fabric it wears more like a running jacket than a blazer but looks traditional all the same. They’re putting ‘sport’ back in sport coat.
PS by Paul Smith Blue Check Wool Blazer
This smart gray check navy wool blazer from Paul Smith is an ideal pick for the weekday warrior looking to show a bit of character. The interior has a satin lining that features fun, bright floral patterns while the interior boasts Paul Smith’s trademark blue lines.
Button Up And Get Down To Work
A good shirt is the base of any outfit. It draws in to contrast your suit, tie, and your own clean-shaven mug. When they’re on the more formal side, they can be worn to occasions like baptisms and weddings, and when they’re a bit more casual they make for great shirts for going out and grabbing happy hour drinks after work. The three we chose here run that gamut.
J.Crew Slim American Pima Cotton Oxford
Made from American Pima cotton grown in the Southwestern part of the country, this classically cut Oxford shirt is purpose built to be soft to the touch and easy to wear. It features a button-down collar, can be machine washed and goes well with either formal or casual outfits.
Taylor Stitch Hyde Shirt
For those looking for a more dressed-up shirt, this one from Taylor Stitch is a solid pick. The dress shirt is made from 100’s 2-ply fine cotton fabric, boasts a semi-spread collar, and a lightweight and soft feel.
Buck Mason Bleached Indigo Pearl Snap
This American made snap button shirt from Buck Mason straddles the world of office attire and after-hours life perfectly. Made from an 8-ounce indigo dyed chambray fabric it has a classic, textured look to it that manages to be clean and full of character at the same time.
Look Great Even As You Hide Them Under A Desk
Pants are never easy to shop for. Generally speaking, we suggest going to a brick and mortar retail store as opposed to an online men’s shop before actually trying them on because every style will fit slightly differently. That being said, we think these provide a great jumping off point for getting an idea of what looks and feels great both on the job and off the clock.
Bonobos Stretch Weekday Warrior Dress Pants
If anyone knows how to craft great fitting slacks it is Bonobos. They literally built their brand on making comfortable and stylish chinos. These cotton and elastane pants are decidedly more formal than their chinos – but no less fantastically fitting.
Club Monaco Modern Stretch Trousers
These modern trousers are a pair of simple, modern dress slacks cut from cotton and given a slight amount of stretch for either hustling to the subway stop or booking it to that meeting you almost forgot.
Hugo Boss Grey Genesis
Sharp, slim fitting, and unrestrictive; in essence, these wool and cashmere blend trousers from Hugo Boss are the perfect slacks for the desk-bound office worker.
Not Just For Super Heroes
Like we said in the introduction, most guys aren’t going to be wearing suits on a regular basis. But that doesn’t excuse you from keeping one or two pressed and ready in your wardrobe. These three are all solid picks for either daily wear or occasional dusting off for special occasions.
Indochino Navy Blue Sharkskin Suit
Made from a combination of Merino wool and mohair this lightweight suit manages to stay cool even on warmer days. A solid pick for a great price.
SuitSupply Lazio Grey Birds Eye Suit
This slim-fitting modern suit is made from pure wool and features padded shoulders and a two button closure on the front. A smart, classic look.
Saint Laurent Midnight Blue Slim Fit Pinstripe Suit
This is for the guy who wants to flex on all of the peon Excel-monkey interns from NYU Stern. The suit is sewn in Italy from a blue merino wool and features slight, almost unnoticeable pinstripes.
A Cinch Of A Style Choice
For as much hate as ‘fun’ ties get – you know the ones, with corny print patterns all over them or garnish brush strokes – they can actually be…well, fun. They provide a good splash of color, and can genuinely help pull an entire outfit together.
Hugo Boss Jacquard Tie
A little bit of texture can go a long way. This fine silk and wool blend tie from Hugo Boss features contrasting threads that give it an attractive and textured look that makes it a great pick for wearing to the office.
Paul Smith Polka Dotted Knit Tie
It is hard not to be a fan of knit ties. This one from Paul Smith is particularly fun. It features clean, white polka-dots throughout the body of the tie’s silk yarns – giving it a playful but smart look.
Tom Ford Herringbone Mohair and Wool Blend Tie
A more reserved tie, this pick from Tom Ford features a tonal gray herringbone fabric cut into a slim, modern silhouette.
Keep Your Pants On
Sure. Belts are really about keeping your pants from sliding down around your ankles while you give that quarterly report, but they’re also there to help pull an outfit together in the less literal sense of the word.
J.Crew Woven Belt
A simple woven belt adds character and interest to even the most restricted and pared-down outfits. Whether you throw this on with a pair of jeans on the weekend or thread through the loopholes of your slacks – it’s a great pick.
Tanner Goods Standard Belt
No one is better at crafting fine leather materials than Tanner Goods. The Portland, Oregon-based label’s standard belt is cut from a vegetable tanned Meridian English bridle and matched with a high-quality metal buckle.
Anderson’s Green Suede-Trimmed Woven Cord Belt
If a woven leather belt isn’t quite what you’d want to go for, this suede trimmed woven cord belt is a great pick. It has an earthy, casual look to it that goes well with simple outfits.
Made for walking
A suit just doesn’t look right if a pair of sharp looking dress shoes aren’t included in the look. This trio all boast a high-quality leather build, impressive detailing, and an all around handsome appearance that are purpose-built for wearing with more formal business attire.
Grenson Sharp Burnished Brogue Boots
You don’t necessarily have to exclude leather boots from your search for great dress shoes. Take for instance this pair from Grenson. They’re made with pebble-grain leather and feature a bit of burnishing for a worn in look.
Paul Smith Leather Oxford Brogues
Here’s a pair of Italian-made brogues made with vegetable tanned leather and given a slight amount of burnishing to add character. Simply a classic.
O’Keeffe Cap Toe Oxford
If you’re looking to keep it classic and clean, these oxford shoes from the Irish shoemaker O’Keefe are more than suitable. They are made from a high-quality leather with a high shine and Goodyear welted soles.
An Important touch
So you’ve gone through all the trouble to put together a great outfit – are you really going to sport it with a pair of gnarly old black socks that you wear to the gym? Just in case you’re thinking about committing this heinous crime, we provided a few options you may want to consider throwing in your top drawer.
Richer Poorer Bixby Sock
A pair of combed-cotton socks that can just as easily be worn with your black sneakers as they could slide into your best dress shoes.
Thursday Finest Atlas Sock
If you’re looking to get yourself a pair of unique socks but don’t quite want to go down the ‘pink with purple polka dot’ route, the Atlas from Thursday Finest is for you. The Brooklyn-based brand allows you to pick your own color scheme and apply it to their simple, classic design.
Mr. Gray Melange Stretch Knit Socks
Full of character but not scene-stealing, these socks from Mr. Gray feature a healthy mix of gray and blue for an attractive and understated look.
Clear Eyes, Full Pockets, Can't Lose
It stands to bear that the effort you put into your business outfit shouldn’t stop at just the clothes. Or, put another way, you really shouldn’t be putting a velcro wallet in your nice slacks. Instead, you should maybe invest in quality carry items like those we’ve picked below.
Bellroy Hide and Seek Wallet
A classically styled wallet with more storage and a slim profile than its peers. And since it is made from a full grain vegetable-tanned leather, it will feel right at home in your Saint Laurent suit.
Inventery Mechanical Pen
We’ll admit it. It takes a certain kind of guy to want to carry around a pen that nearly costs a Benjamin. But if you love great design and take pride in the tools you carry every day, this EDC pen is for you.
Killspencer Briefcase 2.0
This American-made satchel is made from a black full-grain leather, features a bullhide leather handle, Cobra buckles, an interior padded laptop sleeve, and a removable shoulder strap. In short, this isn’t your father’s briefcase
The Final Touch
To round it all out, we thought we’d include some of our favorite accessories to add onto any formal business outfit. This is the stuff you don’t need but sure is fun to have.
The Tie Bar
We may not be able to smoke filterless cigarettes indoors or sip great whiskey(s) at noon anymore, but at least we can look like we do. The Tie Bar offers up a bevy of collars to choose from for your own custom clip.
Lanvin Silk Pocket Square
The simple addition of a pocket square can take a plain suit and make it pop. This particular square is made from a silk satin and features flecks of geometric shapes.
Warby Parker Burke Eyeglasses
One of the coolest things about Warby Parker is that their frames are affordable enough to get your hands on several styles. Want a different look during the week than on the weekend? Easy. Just peruse their site and see what looks good to you.
50 Best Men's Wardrobe Essentials
OK so maybe you’ve gotten office attire down perfectly, but what about your time off the clock? Take a look at our list of the best men’s wardrobe essentials and judge for yourself.