Men’s Office Attire: What Not To Wear

Man business casual attire

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You’ve finally landed your first job. Congratulations!

Now that you’re in the business world, it’s time to learn about what not to wear at work for men. You may be asking yourself, what’s the correct men’s office attire?

A recent article in Forbes Magazine states that there are certain things not to wear in business casual workplaces, and they are: dress pants or shorts in t-shirts, denim jeans or khakis with a button-down collar shirt, dress shoes without socks, sneakers with slacks/dress pants/shorts/skirts, you get the idea.

We’ve put together a list of things on what not to wear to work, so you look your best at all times!

No shorts in business casual workplaces

No Shorts in business workplace

Dress pants or shorts in a t-shirt are not appropriate business wear for men, especially if you will be working in a casual business office. Business casual means dressing conservatively with no exposed skin (neck, shoulders, arms). It’s the equivalent of wearing pajamas to work and won’t make a great impression on your business partners or coworkers.

There are two exceptions to this rule:

a) If you work in a casual, laid-back office where the business casual outfit is appropriate with no dress code policy enforced.

In that case, it would be okay for men to wear dress pants/shorts and a t-shirt as long as they don’t violate their office’s business casual dress code.

b) If you work in an office where business casual is enforced for men but not women, it’s allowed to wear dress pants or shorts if your female coworkers are permitted to do so without penalty (for example, by wearing dresses).

No tank tops or sleeveless shirts

Men is should not wear sleeveless shirt in the office.

Sleeveless and tank tops are not acceptable business attire for males, mainly if you work in an office where a business casual dress code is in place.

Your coworkers notice your bare arms and think it’s unprofessional to show off so much skin around the workplace.

It’s also a safety hazard in some business casual workplaces.

The exception to this rule is if you work in an office where no business casual dress codes are enforced; therefore, it would be acceptable for men to wear sleeveless shirts and tank tops.

No flip-flops

Men should not wear flip-flops in the office

While flip-flops may not seem like a big deal initially, they are deemed unacceptable business attire for men in business casual work environments.

Flip-flops aren’t professional looking and comfortable enough to wear during business hours where dress codes or company policies call for business casual workplace apparel (dress pants or shorts, dress shirt).

They are acceptable to wear in business casual workplaces if you work outside but need to be removed before entering the office.

If you work in a business casual office, it’s recommended that men wear sandals or loafers.

Dress appropriately for the weather

Men business attire according to weather

Business casual dress codes vary from business to business, so you must learn appropriate attire for your office.

If the weather is sweltering and humid where you work, don’t wear a suit jacket as part of your business casual wardrobe because it will make you significantly hotter than if you wore short sleeves or no shirt at all.

Also, dress in layers so you can remove your business casual jacket when it’s extremely hot outside.

This will allow you to stay cool and professional-looking while still complying with the business casual workplace dress code for men where you work.

Related: Men’s Basic Fashion: 6 Essential Rules

While business casual attire is a great way to express your personal style at work without getting too dressed up, it’s essential to keep in mind business casual does not mean business sloppy.

You should always dress appropriately for the business environment you work in, which means dressing modestly and professionally while staying comfortable enough to be productive at your job.

Avoid wearing a hoodie or clothing that is oversized

No Hoodie in workplace

Men’s office attire should be modest, professional-looking, and tailored to your body shape.

Oversized clothing is not appropriate business casual attire for men because it does not show off a man’s form or frame how business formal wear would.

In addition, avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes such as baggy jeans, sports jackets, or hoodies because they are casual and should not be worn to business casual workplaces.

Avoid wearing clothing with logos, words, pictures, etc.

avoid wearing shirt with marketing logo as this is not an appropriate for men's office attire.

It’s best to keep the business casual style simple and not wear clothing with logos or pictures unless appropriate for business casual.

If you work in a business casual dress code, your coworkers view the logo as distracting from your line of work, which could make them question whether or not you are there to do your job appropriately.

Wear cologne sparingly

Men must use a minimal amount of cologne in the office.

If you want to wear cologne, make sure it’s business casual appropriate (i.e., men can’t smell your fragrance in the office).

Use a minimal amount or spray sparingly on clothing instead of spraying directly onto the skin.

Cologne should not overwhelm your coworkers when they’re close by, nor should people be able to smell it when you’re walking past them.


What is appropriate to wear to work?

In business casual workplaces, men typically wear chinos or dress pants, a nice dress shirt, and business shoes.

Men’s business casual outfits should not be as formal as a business professional nor as casual as jeans or shorts.

Should you wear a suit on your first day of work?

It depends on the business casual dress code in your office. Suppose you work for a business that has a business professional dress code.

In that case, it’s recommended to wear formal business attire because this is typically what people wear when they are starting their first day at a new job.

What does business casual mean?

In general, business casual attire means business formal. It is a business dress that falls between business professional and business casual, but it still conveys professionalism.

What kind of shoes do you wear with business casual?

Athletic shoes and sneakers, loafers, clogs, and leather shoes are acceptable in a business casual office. Avoid wearing flip-flops, sandals, slippers, open-toed shoes, or eye-catching, blingy footwear to the office.


Next: How to Walk Like A Man With Confidence


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