Striking the proper balance between stylish and professional is often a challenge when it comes to modern office style for men (and after our popular “Dress for Success” secrets for women, we’re sure not going to leave out the men). The days of a straightforward suit and tie are gone and men especially are mixing it up and adding personality both in and out of the boardroom. Here are some simple tips to keep your work look professional, add some character, and take it beyond the basic suit and tie.
Break The Cardigan Rules
With no relation to the Cardinal Rules, we just mean that cardigans – and sweaters for that matter – are boardroom appropriate as modern office style for men. Knits have always had their place in men’s wear, but in the past few years like never before. Textures or ribbed V-neck sweaters and button down cardigans now take on an air of sophistication when layered over dress shirts or under blazers (with or without ties).
⇒ TIP: Stick to blacks, browns, blues or the muted and various shades of these (charcoal to heather grey, camel to tan or fawn, navy to sky blues) to keep the look sharp and executive.
Stick to the Basics
Yes, we said move beyond the suit and tie, though it has been the symbol and referent of the business professional for a reason. That doesn’t mean it can’t say who you are. Stick to the basics, but mix it up. Take a jacket from a light colored suit and wear it with the pant from a dark set. Try wearing monochrome shirt and pant with a bright colored or graphic printed tie. Mix fabrics and prints like tweed with pinstripes or cable knits. Keeping these items in the same or similar color and just varying the shades with one solid, will tie the whole look together.
No, we don’t mean a plastic insert full of pens (or a red stapler, for that matter; “Office Space” reference, if you haven’t seen the movie). A simple yet stylish way to dress up a button down is with a colorful pocket square instead of a tie. There are dozens of ways to fancy fold a simple pocket kerchief, or you can choose to stick with a basic square. Either way, choosing one in a bright color that contrasts your shirt is wearing your confidence on your sleeve … well, er, in your pocket. For the not so bold, a coordinating pocket square and tie is just as sharp. There is no “correct” office style for men, though presenting yourself as fashion-savvy may require reading a few articles like these, flipping through some magazines, and getting fashion scores from your friends.
⇒ TIP: Can’t find a tie and pocket square set? Just purchase a second tie, and tuck it into your pocket with the widest end out. Adjust as desired and snip off
Office Style for Men – Cool Accessories
Finally, treat yourself to a tasteful timepiece and a messenger bag or briefcase for work. These exude confidence and class, attractive traits when landing big deals, impressing the board, and having fun while doing it.