It can be difficult for anyone to nail down the perfect work wardrobe that looks appropriate but still maintains your sense of style. For men, it can feel especially limiting when the classic look has always been a suit or stiff button-down and slacks.
Fortunately, as times and styles have changed in the workplace, you have more options today than ever before to put more personality into your work wardrobe, from your hair to your shoes, and everything else in between.
If you’re feeling like you’re in a professional style rut, these 3 tips should help you refine your work wardrobe:
Define Your Style
Depending on your workplace there may be some limitations to how you can dress, but surely you have some flexibility compared to old-school business professional dress code standards. The first thing to do when you’re trying to redefine your professional wardrobe is define your style. Are you aiming for a wardrobe that skews to the side of more business or more casual? For many modern workplaces, you can work in a lot of casual wear while still looking the part.
While you might want to stay away from ripped jeans and flip flops, you can loosen up your tie and opt for a more relaxed look when it comes to shirts, pants, and even your shoes.
Think about which of these men’s style categories best defines your style and work from there by integrating pieces that help you create that image:
- Smart casual
- Street style
Whichever way you decide to go, it doesn’t mean you should toss out all of your suits either, you might need them for cocktail parties and other important work events.
Often, accessories are considered an afterthought in men’s fashion, but they’re essential to creating a pulled-together look that’s uniquely you. If you haven’t worn a lot of accessories before, you might be stumped as to where to start. For a business-professional look, you could consider leather watches for men, solid silver or gold rings, minimal bracelets, or belts with minor embellishments or textures.
Need inspiration? Start with our men’s watch buying guide. If you do decide to work accessories into your daily looks, it’s recommended that you invest in a few high-quality staples that will last. Not only will this save you money in the long run, but it’ll help you maintain the most professional look.
Revamp Your Wardrobe
Now that you know how you want to dress, you just have to do it. While this part is the most fun, it can also be the most challenging for men who don’t shop for themselves frequently. Here are a few tips to follow to make your next shopping haul successful:
- Get creative with your shirt options: Gone are the days where showing your sleeve tattoo was frowned upon (for most offices), so don’t shy away from relaxing your work shirt collection by purchasing some short sleeve varieties. There are plenty of dressy button downs with short sleeves and interesting prints to choose from that will add some youthfulness and style into your work wardrobe.
- Say goodbye to slacks: While you might be used to wearing slacks, you should know there are plenty of other pants that can keep you looking professional but also up to date. Consider purchasing more modern trousers like chinos, slimline joggers, and other tailored pants in more sophisticated materials like wool, twill, or linen. In some workplaces, you can even wear well-fitting jeans to work.
- Step away from the classic dress shoes: The shoes you pair with your newly minted wardrobe are essential so skip the boring classic dress shoes and step into a footwear that better matches your style and this decade. Consider a pair of loafers, chukkas, a suede Derby, oxford boots, or even a nice pair of sneakers.
As you can see, looking sharp in the office doesn’t have to limit you to just the classics. Take some inspiration from this list to curate the perfect professional wardrobe that allows you to inject some of your own style into the clothes you wear nearly every day—not only will you look your best, but you’ll feel more confident too.