While many business environments have thought-through, written down dress codes, many others don’t, which makes it hard for some men, especially new employees, to make daily fashion decisions that they can be sure will work well.
Therefore, we have put together a guide on creating different types of outfits for business settings. Of course, not all will work in your case, but they are a good starting point and a good source of inspiration.
We will being with the pants and work our way to the shirts as we describe the best scenarios for dressing up for the workplace.
Choosing the right pants
When it comes to most business environments, it is usually recommended to wear conservative pants and shirt combinations. Of course, the most conservative and always a safe bet option is wearing black pants. Black is a neutral color that goes with absolutely any type of shirt and jacket.
However, if you wish to go for something that is more dynamic and young, you can opt for a gray pair of pants or a dark blue pair of pants. In this case, your jacket should match, but in more relaxed business environments, you can wear mismatching shirt and pants; but we would still recommend going with a neutral (black, gray, dark blue, brown, khaki, tan, ivory, beige, etc.).
Also, it’s recommended to go for solid pants. Depending on the setting, sometimes pinstripe pants can work, or in very casual or creative business environments, you can even go for a pair of pants that features checkers.
If you don’t know what type of shirt to wear, you should go with a shirt in a solid neutral. Neutrals are colors that go with absolutely anything. For a dressier look, go with a shirt that contrasts strongly with the pants.
Solid color shirts
If your workplace’s dress code allows, you can go with a solid color shirt that will make an impact. If you go with neutral pants, you can wear any color on top. To keep it conservative, yet still colorful, our recommendation is to wear a solid color in a very light shade. Business environments and very bold solid colors don’t make good friends. Opt for a pastel pink, peach or green and you are ready to go.
In case you want to wear both a solid color and a solid color pair of pants, you should know that the combination that works best in business environments is the analog color combination. An analog color combination is a combination where you wear colors that lie closely to each other on the color wheel. Purple and green or red and orange are some good options. This being said, it is highly unlikely for such a combination to be welcomed in a business environment. Other combinations (for example mixing colors that lie on opposite sides on the color wheel such as red and green), while they are valid, should be kept for other settings only and not be worn in a business environment.
Even though prints are generally a big no-no in business environments, sometimes they do have their place. Very strong prints, especially in bold colors are usually a no-go when it comes to business outfits. More subtle, soft prints do however work. Opting for a shirt that has a light print can look great with a pair of neutral pants.
Bolder, yet still conservative prints, such as bold checkers can be worn on business casual days or in more relaxed business settings.
The creative field is the most open of environments; here you can even wear a printed shirt with a printed pair of pants. Make sure the two prints are of different sizes and you are set.
Now that you’ve got the basics of wearing a good shirt-pants combination in a business environment down, you can begin to mix and match clothing and create combinations that are your own. Always remember that the clothes you wear are a clear indicator of who you are and let others know what you’re about and how they should treat you. Wearing the right things will make you not only look good, but feel good as well, so make sure you put the necessary energy and time into creating go-to business outfits.
Fraquoh and Franchomme
P.S. We want to hear from you! What shirt-pants combinations do you wear? How do you style up your pants? What type of pants do you wear? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!