Goodbye Suit & Tie – Dressing Down in the Office

Office dress codes used to be simple: suits for men and below-the-knee skirt suits for women. But as industries have changed over the years, workwear has changed, too. Dress codes are more flexible, and employees have more freedom to express themselves with their attire. Today, we see a wide range of office styles, from traditional formal wear to denim, athleisure and designer sneakers.

According to Willy California, casual office culture is sweeping even the most formal industries and men are seeking comfortable, versatile clothing. The trend of athleisure for men and women is making its way into the office.

Even Goldman Sachs is hopping on the casual bandwagon. The company recently announced that it was relaxing its dress code to make it more flexible.

It would be easy to assume that the casual trend would make it easier to dress yourself for work, but the opposite is true. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to plan out your wardrobe.

Here are a few tips to help you dress down at the office without going overboard.

Pair Comfort with Fashion

Everyone wants to be comfortable in the workplace. Depending on your office’s culture and dress code, it may be perfectly acceptable to wear athleisure clothes every day.

If not, you can still be comfortable without going too far over the edge. How? By pairing comfort with fashion or some kind of traditional workwear. For example, you can pair a dark pair of comfortable jeans with a cardigan or blazer. If the dress code is a little more casual, you can pair dark jeans with a well-fitted athletic shirt or polo.

Don’t Go Over the Edge

Athleisure is making its way into the office, and this is a trend that will be here for quite some time. But it’s important to do it right.

Gone are the days of loose-fitting, sloppy “gym clothes.” Athleisure is all about wearing clean, sleek, well-fitting, comfortable clothing.

If you’re going to dress down and be comfortable, you don’t necessarily have to give up that clean, well-put-together image. Make sure that your casual attire is still well-fitting, clean and neutral in color.

Even in a casual environment, the last thing you want is to show up to work looking sloppy. Unless it’s commonplace to do so, you’ll want to avoid wearing shorts, tank tops, flip-flops and tattered jeans.

Pretend that you’re a potential client walking into the office. How would you feel if you saw an employee wearing your outfit? Could you tell that you worked there? If not, it may be time to add a few more workwear pieces to your wardrobe.

Take Cues from Your Co-Workers

If you’re not sure what to wear, take a look around the office. What are your co-workers wearing? You don’t necessarily have to copy their styles, but it will give you an idea of what type of clothing is acceptable in the workplace.

If everyone is wearing blazers with jeans, then you know it’s okay to be more on the casual side. But if everyone is dressing formally, then you may need to rethink your wardrobe.

David Jackson

David is a personal finance expert, a professional male model, and an entertainment writer.