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Let’s Get Casual: What’s The Difference Between Regular and Business Casual


When it comes to dressing appropriately for work there are many paths one can take. The first and most important thing to keep in mind is your company’s dress code policy. If there is one in place, that should pretty well cover your dos and don’ts. But for those with more wiggle room, we’re here to give you a quick run down on how to best posture your wardrobe. So, without further ado, let’s get down to discussing the difference between casual and business casual in the context of office attire.

What Is Business Casual?

Very simply put, the line between business casual and professional attire for men generally hinges on whether a tie is involved. But, because each office is different, we’ll still run down a loose list of what business casual looks like from head to toe.

  • Shirts: stick to button down and polos here. Long-sleeve shirts are going to be most appropriate, but there are tips and tricks to pull off a few short-sleeve looks. The easiest is adding a tie to short-sleeved button downs. For polos, stick to neutral colors with very small to no insignia. 
  • Pants: dress slacks, khakis, and chinos are going to be the safest bet for anyone not intimately familiar with their company’s dress code policy. The most versatile of this set are khakis as they’re easy to pair with either formal or informal attire.
  • Shoes: loafers are a great addition to your shoe game. They’re comfortable, versatile, and easy to pair. They look good sockless and come in a variety of styles.
  • Accoutrement: a good leather belt in black and another in brown, suspenders – yes, they work here, trust us – a solid color crew neck sweater, and a sports coat or blazer are necessary pieces that will tie your ensemble together and smarten up the look.

What Is Casual?

Casual dress is a catch all term that can run the gamut from board shorts to baseball caps. But let’s be real, not many offices out there are willing to go so lax with their definition. Of course, if they were, you wouldn’t need to be here brushing up on what’s appropriate and what’s not. So, here are a few garments that can be dressed down to give you a casual vibe that works well in workplaces that allow for them. Pro tip – the biggest boon to your casual aspirations will be ensuring a great fit.

  • Shirts: t-shirts can absolutely be worn casually around the office, depending on the office. However, you’ll want to stay away from prints. choose solid colors, and leave them untucked. If you’re looking to avoid dress shirts but don’t want to lose the collared look, try a deep navy denim button down. Linen shirts are also a viable option. White linen and well fitted jeans in a complementary color like grey is a classic casual go-to. 
  • Pants: jeans are the obvious answer here. But the type of jeans can vary widely from person to person. Whether you’re a boot cut, slim fit, or skinny kind of person is of no consequence. The main thing to keep in mind is the style. Yes, casual is an adaptable term, but acid wash, rips, and other fashionable baubles are best left to after hour adventures.
  • Shoes: casual sneakers have become synonymous with laid-back style. The one caveat that comes with casual sneakers for work versus casual sneakers for every day life is the top. High tops and mid-tops are a no-no. Stick to low tops in solid colors like black, white, blue, brown, and grey. These give you a lot more freedom as the versatility of each colors is easy to pair and cover a wider range of outfit choices.
  • Accoutrement: canvas belts, sports watches, classic aviator shades all go well with casual looks and we’d recommend investing in at least a few of each to make sure your casual style is well put together.

At Original Stitch, we offer a fully customizable collection (yes, even the collar type!) of premium quality shirts. Customers can create a shirt completely unique to them. Our high-quality yarns are hand-selected from and tailored in Japan to be extra resistant to wear and tear while maintaining a softer feel than regular button-up shirts.