What To Wear To The Office – Professional Outfit Tips when Dressing For Work

Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette! In today’s video, we discuss how dressing
for the office has changed over the years and what you should wear to work for your
office environment today. In most offices today, business casual is
a firmly rooted dress code and to learn more about it, please check out our business casual
video, here. As far as dressing for the office goes, a
lot depends on the culture but over the years, things have changed dramatically and today,
we go through the decades and we will give you a specific rundown of what items to wear,
what not to wear, and particularly, what shoes you can focus on. In the last thirty years, the formality scale
has dropped dramatically and today, probably just 1/10 office workers wears a full suit. As with many trends in menswear, the World
War set a huge impact on style and dress code for the office and it usually meant that it
was more casual or at least, more utilitarian. In the 1950s, there was a post-war boom, materials
were again plentiful at least in the US, and so people wore suits, white dress shirts,
ties, and proper oxfords. The classic black cap toe oxford was definitely
a staple shoe at the time. Of course, characters like James Dean popularized
a much more casual and youthful look with undershirts, however, that did not catch on
in the office. If you wanted to work at a proper office,
you could not show up dressed like James Dean. During the 1960s, mod style had a heavy influence. Nevertheless, people still wore suits. In terms of style, you could see that lapels
got narrower and so did the ties. Trousers usually had huge cuffs or turn ups,
or sometimes an excess of two inches. The big casualty during this decade is the
hat. Also worn by older gentlemen who consider
the hat to be an essential part of their business wardrobe, younger men simply went without
it. Of course, the 60s were great for fantastic
menswear fabrics that were heavier and not as soft as they are today. At the same time, they drape really well. At the same time, man made materials were
becoming a lot more popular so you would see nylon, polyester, and all kinds of other things
blended into classic menswear which eventually would fade again but at that time, it was
a bit tight and was very popular to have artificial fibers in your business wardrobe. The style influencers at the time, just like
the Beatles, still wore suits, dress shirts, and ties. In the 1970s, the disco and hippie style dominated
men’s fashion and that even had an influx on the office. People still wore suits but they had a lot
bolder patterns, lapels had gotten wider, colors were a lot bolder, and everything was
different. Lanvin, Pierre Cardin, or Yves Saint Laurent
were really popular designers and would oftentimes, license their name to have suits produced
even for the American market. In the early 70s, you’d still see flare pants
but by the end, they became more European and slimmed down. The ties were longer and much wider and the
rise fo pants were much lower. In terms of shoes, the derby shoe became more
popular now but in very traditional white-collar environments, you would still see the black
cap toe oxford as the dominant business shoe. In the 80s, things changed a bit again. Designers like Giorgio Armani created a more
unstructured suit that was quite wide, the gorge of the lapel was low, and eventually,
the power suit became really popular. Just think of Wall Street, in the US, Ralph
Lauren also became really popular and he always had a taste for wider ties and wider lapels. Shirts were oftentimes Winchester shirts that
had bold stripes, colored combinations that resembled the typical power style. The classic office shoe was still the black
cap toe oxford, sometimes you would see black derbies, or things like Gucci loafers in black. Even though you had power suits on the one
hand, on the other hand, combinations became much more acceptable for office wear. Also, TV shows like Miami Vice popularized
the style of wearing a tshirt with a jacket on top. Obviously, this was not worn to the office
but it showed the desire to casualize a formal wardrobe. The 1990s were definitely the heyday of office
wear and men’s fashion. Vogue declared the end of the era of the power
suit and things became a lot more casual. In the US, casual Friday became a lot more
popular and people who quit the traditional jobs and started working on tech startups
in Silicon Valley really changed the way people dressed to the office. Everything became more casual and not wearing
a suit was a tradional F.U. to the classic establishment and the way they dress. In terms of shoes, you could still see anything
from the classic black cap toe oxford in a law firm, for example, all the way to New
Balance sneakers with tech startups. In the 2000s, the influence of the Silicon
Valley further increased. New generations were not interested in wearing
business suits, they were not used to wearing suits, and they certainly don’t want to wear
it to the office. Fast fashion started to dominate the retail
world and so quick turnover of many different seasons and trends with very low quality and
very little substance became mainstream. Also, jeans or denim have become universally
acceptable no matter whether you go to church or at a fine restaurant. In the early 2000s, jackets became a lot shorter
and suits became a lot slimmer. A very popular shoe in the US for business
was the tassel loafer and even today, you can find men who are about to retire wearing
the same 90s suits that are quite wide in cut with their sometimes brown or oxblood
or black tassel loafers. In terms of shoes, the tassel loafer from
the 90s became less and less popular and you found a lot more shoe companies that used
the internet to bring shoes from the manufacturer directly to the consumer, thus cutting off
the middleman, and saving the consumer quite a bit of money. One of those companies is Ace Marks and the
shoes we are showing you today in the video are mostly from them. If you want to check out their website, you
can do so here and they supported us in making this video. Today in most office environments, business
casual and casual Friday is the most prevalent dress code. At the same time, a lot of people don’t really
understand what it means specifically. The boundaries between work and office have
been blurred; we find a lot more working from home now and working outside the office. At the same time, surveys indicate that 1/2
of senior level management thinks that their employees dress too casually. So some men are really into dressing up and
they love it when they can wear suits to the office while others would rather wear sweatpants. Overall, I think there are more men interested
in classic men’s clothing and dressing up today than they were 10-15 years ago. So, what should you wear to work? Honestly, a lot of it deoends on your workplace
and the culture there. That being said, we are big supporters of
the plus and minus rule. So, don’t just look at what the employee handbook
says but actually observe what people are wearing at the office and at your workplace. Now ideally, you want to stay within one step
above of what people wear. Ideally, you don’t want to step below because
it definitely has an impact, people see it, and they will judge you maybe just subconsciously. You’ve probably heard of the old saying “Don’t
dress for the job you have but for the job you want.” That as a caveat, many CEOs today dress very
casually because they are already at the top of the company and they don’t have to impress
anyone. At the same time, if you have client contact
and you want others to respect you at the office, dressing well and dressing a step
up is important. Now that being said, sometimes your manager
or superior can feel threatened if you outdress them so that is one aspect to keep in mind. You do not want to offend people and hirt
your chances of climbing the ladders simply because they feel threatened by the way you
dress. Honestly, if that happens at your workplace,
it’s probably time to change jobs anyway because that is not the kind of culture that you will
likely thrive in, especially not if you like to dress up. if you want a full rundown on what business
casual means today, please check out the video, here. That aside, now we discuss five wardrobe staples
that you can incorporate in most office wardrobes. The first item is the classic navy blazer. Even though you never have to wear suits at
work, having a blazer is ideal because it makes your otherwise very informal outfit
rather formal without being over the top. To learn more about the blazer along with
all of its options, what you can wear, and what is a good choice, please check out our
in-depth blazer guide, here. The next item you want to invest in are quality
cotton chinos. Ideally, you get them in some khaki color,
you can also go lighter with stone, or darker with navy, it’s a classic staple slacks that
sit in between jeans and dress slacks in terms of formality. You can also wash them at home so you don’t
have to worry about dry cleaning costs and they are just a wonderful business staple. You can also wear them just with dress shirts,
or with sport coats, or a blazer, and they always look good. Of course, you also want to invest in dress
shirts. If you don’t work in a super formal office,
you can be a little bit more relaxed with your shirts, you can have stripes, you can
add some colors, maybe checks, and you cand ecide if you want to have button cuffs or
French cuff for cufflinks. Cufflinks are certainly a bit more formal;
I personally like them because it gives me a chance to wear all the different cufflinks
in my collection. If you don’t wear neckwear to the office,
I suggest you go mostly with checked shirts; you can incorporate different colors such
blue, green, or red, and I would opt for a button-down collar because it stands up more
nicely, tips always stay down. Because if you wear a jacket, the tips should
always stay underneath. I’d also go with button cuffs rather than
French cuffs, otherwise, not having a neckwear but the French cuffs is kind of a clash of
formality. Of course, if you love cufflinks overall,
you can still wear them. On the other hand, in a lot of offices today,
neckwear is not required anymore and it is simply something that you can wear to express
yourself. If you don’t want to go with the traditional
three-fold business tie, you can opt for different things such as knit ties, for example, which
are different in texture, they are more casual and they are definitely office appropriate. If you decide against neckwear, I suggest
to always have a pocket square in your blazer or sport coat because it really upgrades your
look, makes it more unique, polished, and finished. In terms of shoes, the rules have relaxed
a lot. For the traditional office, you can go with
the classic black cap toe oxford. At the same time, brown at the office today
is probably more popular than black if you look at all the offices across the US and
Europe. It really does not matter if you go with derby
shoes or monk straps. In my opinion, a great shoe for the office,
c for younger men, is the double monk strap shoe. It is right in between the classic office
leather dress shoe with the leather sole and a sneaker. Even though you can wear it in black, I prefer
colors in burgundy red or maybe brown because it is casual enough to wear for a happy hour
after work but also perfectly appropriate for most office environment. That being said, most offices today are casual
enough to go with brown shoes at pretty much any instance and if you want to go with brown,
there are so many shades all the way from a lighter tan to a medium tan to medium brown,
dark chestnut brown and really dark brown. I would definitely suggest to stay clear of
sneakers and always invest in a quality pair of dress shoes. Now down the line, it always pays to invest
in quality dress shoes because the cost per wear goes down. You may think that is easier said than done
because you are just starting out your career and this is your first office job, it may
be hard to come up with all the money for nice quality dress shoes. First of all, you can fin a lot of mone by
buying the right kind of dress shoes so please check out this video on five men’s dress shoes
every man should have. That aside, you can buy quality leather dress
shoes in different price points. You can invest 200 dollars, 300 dollars, or
2000 dollars, to learn the difference between shoes per price category, please check out
this video, here. That being said, Ace Marks provides a range
of quality office dress shoes that won’t break the bank. Does Ace Marks produce the best menswear dress
shoes ever made? Absolutely not! However, what they do offer is a really big
bang for the buck because they sell directly from the manufacturer to you as a consumer
thus, saving the middleman market. If I would have to pick just three shoes that
are appropriate for office wear, I would go with the black half brogue oxford.The burgundy
double monk strap as well as their brown penny loafer. Last but not the least, an often overlooked
detail in officewear are socks. A lot of men wear short socks or mid-calf
socks when they slide down, they expose your hairy calves which is still unproffesional
in this day and age. To prevent that, you should go with over-the-calf
socks that stay up and for a range of different socks in different colors, please check out
our shop here and we also have a free guide on how to pair shoes socks and pants so you
look the part so check it out here. In today’s video, I was wearing two different
outfits/ The first one consisted of a checked dress shirt with a button down collar and
barrel cuffs or button cuffs with a pair of khaki chinos and a pair of over the calf socks
from Fort Belvedere that has kind of a chino color as well as the red of my Ace Marks double
monk strap shoes. They have a very elegant Italian last and
I really like wearing them because they are a mix between casual and formal. Later on, I kept on that same outfit and simply
added a navy double breasted blazer which is part of a suit and I added a pocket dquare
with kind of a turquoise blue with paisley pattern that pops and just creates a visual
interest that roudns up my outfit. Overall, even though I skipped the neckwear
for this video because most men probably don’t wear neckwear and it is a typical office outft
that I could wear with or without the blazer. If I had opted against the blazer, I will
just keep the jacket in my office, If you enjoyed this video, please check out
our dress code series particularly the business casual guide as well as the five men’s shoes
every ma should have. If you subscribe to our channel, video like
this come right to your inbox and if you are looking for quality men’s leather dress shoes
that don’t break the bank, I strongly suggest you take a look at Ace Marks website.

100 Replies to “What To Wear To The Office – Professional Outfit Tips when Dressing For Work

  1. I am glad I came across your channel. Being a common man starting out as an accountant, I will definitely be using alot of your tips to up my game. Thanks for all the info.

  2. it takes effort to stay well-dresses at office, yet one must strive not to over dress their immediate seniors. I experienced this, its so difficult, essentially if the senior guy has not enough self confidence 😂

  3. Quick question, why do you wear pleated pants? For me, I have always felt straight/flat front pants (both dress and chinos) look significantly better, so just curious your reasoning, thanks!

  4. In my opinion, you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you are an intern or a junior and want to be taken seriously, I suggest dressing up just a notch above everyone else

  5. May I know the picture credit at 5:36 and what is your knowledge about all these brands to just call them all „low quality”?

  6. One of the issues I have is having too many things in my pocket. With my suit, I'll have a cell phone, wallet, keys, business cards and sometimes my extra phone. All of this takes away from the slim suits that I wear. Even the wallet is noticeable. What do you guys suggest?

  7. Many workplaces (at least here) seems to require a very bulky and ugly plastic ID card to be visible at all times in the company premises. It is as impossible to look classy with such monstrosity as it would be with an obligatory clown nose. That only may cause many people to go "why bother".

  8. Hey Sven how should I dress for my first job interview it’s with and auto-body shop I don’t want to overdress what should I got with since it’s more a blue collar job

  9. I enjoyed the video, but the double breasted blazer looks too big, and clashed too much with the casual dress shirt.

  10. Although i enjoy classic fashion, I'm glad that it is evolving and there is no more need for still dress codes and bland suits. In big cities people have the opportunity to express themselves, and their work has nothing to do with how they dress. You could find a man dressed in a three pieced suit and another wearing sneakers and a t-shirt, both in the same office. If you don't evolve you die.

  11. Chinos and checked button down shirt screams very American style. Try comparing the European and American look and we wouldn't wear that combination. Colours are more common and button down collars are best left to teenagers. These said, enjoying the videos. Keep it up!

  12. I'd love to see this dude come down and work outside and in attics in Florida in the middle of summer. Fantasy land living video here.

  13. Hats disappeared because President Kennedy didn't wear hats. Before him, a businessman was not dressed unless he had a hat on. Wide cuffs didn't appear until much later — circa 1970-71.

  14. Manmade fabrics? Sorry, no. Manmade fabrics have always been outré even back in the 60's and 70's. (Not quite our class, dear.)

  15. Now that I've watched the whole video… You're totally right about sock length. The rest of your advice is (probably) right for the east coast and maybe southern California. Here in the San Franciso Bay Area, you'd be overdressed especially if you are a techie, and want to be taken seriously. In southern California, the billionaires dress like billionaires. Here in the Bay Area, our billionaires wear hoodies. (Steve Jobs died for your sartorial excesses.)

  16. Hello!! I love this channel! It is a great guide for the men who are at the beginning of their business career and want to adopt this style. Do you know if there is a channel like this that addresses to women? Thank you in advance! Have a nice day!

  17. Hi Raphael,
    Kudos to you and the work you do. You are king! Nobody else even comes close to the level and quality of your contribution to my sartorial life although I have picked up some good pointers from two other Youtube fashion gurus who have unfortunately gone too disproportionate in the sponsor-hype-versus-straight-up-contribution ratio. You have it to just beyond perfect.
    To bolster your arguments, I just want to point out a sub-dimension to one of your pointers, regarding a boss feeling threatened by sartorial superiority. That likelihood may not take into account that, in many cases, the distance between boss and underling consists of levels of experience, skill, wisdom and maturity that make a boss a boss and the subordinate a work in progress. So anyone who would embark on such a logic is either very close to equivalent to his or her boss’s qualifications or simply has not taken this into consideration (which can be a disastrous omission careerwise).
    In the real world, especially in some of the most traditional industries, dressing well and having good fashion sense is not enough to make you a boss or to make a boss feel threatened.
    Keep up the great work!

  18. Cowboy boots are a great way to slide up the formal ladder in a very casual environment without attracting attention.

  19. Haven’t been in an office that wears anything more than t-shirt and jeans at this point. Bit disappointing, but anything more and you’re considered overdressed.

  20. if im coding on a computer why tf would i not want to be as comfortable as possible? i'll let my performance speak to my work ethic

  21. at some point we will all be required to dress very casually at work (no ties allowed), and after work we will be changing into suits and ties so we don't have to be so comfy and frumpy all the time.

  22. I’m a teaching credential candidate and hopefully will be landing my first job teaching elementary school next
    Fall. Would love some advice on ways to look sharp without over doing it.

  23. The biggest drawback with being a radiographer is that I can't dress up for work… Sometimes I wish I worked in an office just to be able to wear nice clothes at work…

  24. I don't understand how one is supposed to buy those types of socks. Proper socks that go up like that usually costs 50 dollars or more for just ONE pair. And since you usually change socks every day that means you would need at least like 10 pairs…. That's like 500 dollars in just socks, which is insane!!

  25. I was once sent home to dress properly on a really hot day. I was wearing a Gieves and Hawkes blazer and silk shirt, Hermes tie, Ralph Lauren chinos and Gucci loafers. I was sent by my female boss wearing a T-shirt, mini skirt and flip-flops with no stockings.

  26. I enjoy dressing up. A nice suit and tie or blazer or sports jacket with a pair of finely tailored slacks (slacks – nobody talks about slacks) makes me feel elegant and when I am in a group of well dressed people I feel sophisticated, like James Bond. But nobody gets dressed up anymore. Jeans are mandatory. I hate jeans. They are for farmers and cowboys and the back yards but I go to affairs that should be upscale and I see jeans open collars running shoes. Nobody knows how or even when to dress. They look like bums and yet they spend a fortune to look like bums. Torn faded $200.00 jeans. I constantly dress down to meet this rise of the proletariat, this ignorant nouveau riche. Not that I am at all wealthy. I could go on but I think I had better stop my rant. you get the idea.

  27. Work wear is extremely dull now. A creased old Shirt and jeans/chinos wowee how thrilling.

    At least back in the day when people had to dress properly formal it took discipline and care

  28. I can't wear any of this stuff to work. I run my own demolition company and I'm a licensed contractor so have to wear steel-toe boots, safety goggles, a hard hat and cowhide gloves along with a toolbelt loaded with tools

  29. We have to also consider the political-economic climate affecting the way clothes are chosen. If you notice in the 80's Gordon Gekko was a bad guy, not a hero. He was shown as being what's wrong with American and it's excessive green. If you contrast to the hippy casual people began to look at work as a place where they go to work Gordon Gekkos to oppress the world with their capitalism. So to feel like a more commune location that benefits everyone they relaxed the dress code. But of course this was generally for the most everyday employee. To date the leadership almost always wears a suit of some sort.

  30. When I've worked in places where most people are really more casual than I would like to be and have an attitude about it, my answer about how to dress up without seeming like I'm trying to make a point has been to wear expensive clothes with a somewhat "rumpled" look — like maybe a soft English-country style tweed jacket, top-quality button-down Oxford shirts that aren't quite ironed, expensive shoes that have a slightly beat-up patina rather than being highly polished, a solid knit silk tie that maybe (shocking!) have loosened at the neck with the top button unbuttoned, very nice cotton rather than fine wool trousers (they wrinkle up properly), maybe a woven belt. Those married to the casual look aren't so threatened, and those people I encounter who know their clothing and do care about dressing well will see that I have taken the time and have the knowledge to buy and wear high-qualitytailored clothing and that I could dress properly if the environment were friendly to it.

  31. I’m a few months late watching this vid, but it really is the best I’ve seen on your channel. You’ve put together a decent 8 or 9 minutes here on a kind of cultural history of anglo-America. Sounds like I’m kidding, but I’m not, and congratulations anyway. I would repackage this vid in some way. Also, you are describing a past which was better in a lot of ways, regardless of the fact that dress standards may have irredeemably collapsed today.

  32. I was taken by surprise by your excellent French pronunciation (Pierre Cardin,Yves Saint Laurent ). Great video as always.

  33. This was an interesting video. I liked the brief history lesson on changes in fashion as well as explaining not to out-do your boss but to still dress nicely. I am curious about whether or not chelsea boots are acceptable in the workplace for people who like to have ankle support (I have a friend who only wears boots bc he feels uncomfortable without ankle support/coverage.
    The double monk strap shoes look nice. I also like the brogue oxfords.

  34. My office is mostly jeans a tshirt and sneakers. I'm just about the only guy in the office wearing chinos, corduroy pants, trousers/dress pants paired with a button up dress shirt, polo shirt, cardigan, blazer/sport coat, and a loafer, chukka, double monkstrap, Chelsea. There are some days if I'm out late the night before I'll just wear jeans a tshirt and sneakers, but it's rare. I try and dress business casual accurately.

  35. I don’t think he appreciates the look of the mod because they were top of the range suits tailored and yes skinny ties and skinny lapels but he didn’t even mention 3 buttons or the penny collar. The mod war chucker boots and loafers I know this is a rant but being a young modern day mod I feel quit strong on this

  36. How can I look more professional or what are some acceptable accessories for a law enforcement uniform attire?

  37. Obviously different than uk or europe….office or affice as you say a suit and tie is de rigeur to this day

  38. Sir, come to Israel and get doomed 🤦🤣🤣🤣 flip flops, T shirts and unfitting suits in best cases. Even BB

  39. Good morning Sven – I appreciate the video! I like to look good on my off time and your videos have helped me upgrade my casual wear, accessories, and I’m the proud new owner of a beautiful fountain pen. However, I own my own building inspection company. My work clothes consist of a polo shirt and khaki shorts, and have for as long as I remember. I need clothes that aren’t sloppy but still allow full range of motion if I have to get on a roof or in a crawl space. Added twist – I also need to stay cool and minimize sweat stains in 90+ degree Louisiana weather, so almost all of these polo shirts are black or navy, and cotton. It is to be hoped that somewhere in your compendium you’ve run across clothes that might help me polish my appearance but allow me to do my job? Or would this situation be the exception to the rule? Much appreciated, and keep up the excellent content!

  40. Hi Sven, i'm 58 and try for years to buy black dress-shoes…haha, every time i leave with a brown pair! For me…black dont show the full beauty of leather and for me the most suits or combinations looks fresher with a brown shoe. Even a black suit looks boring and funeral-like with black shoes. I know the older english gentelman rule: "no browns after seven" but i find no way ;-D
    By the way, the open collar is a good look for you……looks fresh

  41. Being in an engineering office I loathe wearing expensive clothing. Most of the time one can predict or schedule a trip to production or to prototype shop but other times it can be random. This means a chance of getting grease or other damaging materials on clothing. Lab coats hinder climbing around and under vehicles. I typically wear business casual because of this reason. Changing clothes in a semi public bathrooms is not something I wish to do.

  42. My dad remembers the dress code becoming more casual. His wardrobe didn't change until he realized he was "out-dressing" people 3 or more levels above him.

  43. This was not at all helpful for my job as a wilderness backpacking and mountaineering guide. There is no good way to clip a pair of crampons around cap-toe oxfords. 😉

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