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Ask Harry: What Do I Wear to Work?

Our guide to going back to the office and what to wear.

By: Harry Rosen Staff

So, you’re going back into the office more these days. Even a few years ago, office dress codes could be tricky, but now? There’s a whole new rulebook. What hasn’t changed is striking the right balance between professionalism and comfort. Here are a few office outfit ideas to inspire you for your next visit to the boardroom.

Have a sartorial problem on your mind? Send us a message on Instagram @harryroseninc, and we’ll answer it here next time.

Formal Business Wear 

Perhaps you work for a law firm or in finance –  in a more formal office setting, a classic business outfit is a safe bet. A dark suit in navy or charcoal is a timeless, practical choice that will serve you outside of the office as well). A navy blue suit works for most any man and any skin tone and can be worn together or broken up with just the jacket or just the pants. It virtually offers three outfits in one. Make sure the fit is tailored and not too loose or tight. This outfit exudes professionalism and is perfect for meetings, presentations, or other formal occasions.

Feel free to wear the full suit with a dress shirt and tie and smart brown dress shoe, or dress it down a touch, either by simply removing the tie, or taking it further on a casual Friday by taking the jacket and wearing with a pair of stretch-cotton chinos or dress pants for example.

Casual Office 

If you work in tech, or in a creative industry like advertising, you can obviously skip the shirt and tie. But at these more relaxed work environments that have little to no dress code – so much freedom can be daunting. For this, similar rules to the more formal environment can apply.

Timeless, neutral colours such as navy, grey, white, and black can form the crux of your wardrobe –– from there it’s just about mixing and matching. Pairing casual joggers with a T-shirt or polo shirt, and layer with an overshirt or swacket (sweater +  jacket) as the top layer is a comfortable but professional look.

The joggers should fit well and not be too baggy or too tight. The overshirt or light jacket can add some structure to the outfit, while still keeping things casual and creative. From here you can get creative with a graphic T-shirt or eye-catching sneakers to really express yourself but starting out with these simple elements will help you fill out your work wardrobe.

Best of Both Worlds 

For an office with a more flexible business casual dress code, a mix of formal and casual pieces can work well. Men can wear a blazer or jacket with cargos or jeans and a knit polo in place of a traditional shirt. And when paired with clean, leather sneakers – it’s a more dressed up than the casual office fit, but with a relaxed feel. It's a great option for days when you have meetings or presentations, but also need to be comfortable and mobile.

No matter what outfit you choose, remember, it's always better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.

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