How to pick business clothes you actually like

'Johnson, I think you misunderstood our Casual Fridays dress code.'
I recently went shopping with a friend of mine to Square One to find potential articles of clothing or jewelry I could add to my wardrobe.

I stopped in front of Le Chateau and contemplated upon going in. Did I really want to spend time looking for business clothes?  They’re just so bland and boring…

I’m sure each of you have had this thought at some point or another. After all, there are so many rules to follow, certain colours to pick, certain styles and designs to adhere to and quite a lot to avoid.
In fact, business clothes seem extremely conservative and maybe even outdated in style.  I mean, when I first wore black pants, a printed blouse and black heels, I felt like I was walking in ’90s attire but still somehow overdressed.

So what exactly is the best way to find business clothes that make you feel comfortable, stylish, and professional?

First of all, it is important to remember not to overwhelm yourself.

It can become increasingly frustrating when you go out shopping thinking, I will buy all my professional clothes today.  More often than not, you will get confused about what to buy and might end up being disappointed with your purchases.

Think of it this way: is it a good idea to study for a final at the last minute? Probably not.  Similarly, business clothing should also be bought whenever an article catches your eye, not just when you have an event the next day and suddenly realize that you have nothing to wear.

What’s the best way then? Keep on cruising the stores, people!  Take a few minutes when you’re in a mall to just browse or window shop. Even if it’s out of your budget, it can certainly provide you with some ideas as to how to mix and match certain items.

mackelmore-dancing
I’m gonna pop some tags… only got $20 in ma pocket 😛

Ok, now you’re prepared to shop. What should you buy?  Obviously, everyone needs to have at least one good pair of black pants and a white shirt, but what else?

Here are a few pointers for my fellow Biz students!

Men

Opt for black, navy blue, charcoal grey or brown suits. Go for subtle, patterned wool if you’re feeling adventurous 😉

Shirts should be modest and light in colour (maybe a nice yellow, light blue, pink, grey, etc.). The ties are where your personality shines. Do not skimp!  Feel free to choose bold colours and experiment with patterns, but note that the tie is usually darker in hue than the shirt.

You may also prefer to wear sweaters for business casual. As for accessories, go for leather oxfords, brogues or loafers in either black or brown.  Try to match the belt and shoes in colour whenever possible.

Try to minimize jewelry but a statement watch is great to have. Also, don’t overlook the importance of well-maintained personal hygiene.

For more men’s business casual fashion tips, check out the following sources:

Women

Just like men, choose black, blue and grey for suits. Make sure that you are able to button the front, the sleeves rest at your wrist and the blazer fits snugly across your shoulders.

For shirts, opt for pastel colours or printed blouses. The material should be soft in texture (i.e. silk, polyester, chiffon) and designs should be subdued. A dress with minimal patterns would also work, as long as the neckline and length are appropriate.

Sweaters and cardigans are also good for layering. Trousers should be slim and solid in colour, and skirts should reach at least the top of your knees (be mindful of the slit).

Statement jewelry is great, but make sure it is not distracting. Ensure that footwear is comfortable and professional. It is always a good idea to have a pair of solid black heels/boots, but nude or beige pumps will also do the trick.

For more women’s business casual fashion tips, check out the following sources:

 

 

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