What do the terms “Business-Wear” and “Smart-Casual” mean?

Until a few years ago, there were still many unwritten laws concerning correct clothing in the work place. Men’s office style was almost every where dominated by business suits and ties. Today, however, the business world is more relaxed. About 20 years ago, jeans were still considered a “forbidden” item. Today, widely used in German offices, the tie has been replaced by polo shirts or T-shirts for most men. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of faux pas and fine distinctions in the office as to what is allowed and what is not. In Europe, a business division dealing with “Business-Wear”, “Business-Casual”, “Smart-Casual” and “Casual” has been established.

What does “Casual” mean?

In English, “Casual” means free, easy and comfortable. This can also apply to the style of clothing: “Casual” is casual and comfortable clothing that is worn during leisure time. This includes casual jeans, colorful T-shirts or hoodies. At the office, “casual” also means that things can be a little more casual, but it doesn’t mean you can come into the office with a hooded jacket and jeans. The term “smart casual” already suggests it, here casualness is combined with a smart and cultured office style.

Whatis the “casual” look?

The casual look is very popular and well known in small family businesses and creative professions. The look forms a bridge between a noble style for work and a comfortable outfit for home. These include comfortable cotton leisure pants, t-shirts or hooded sweat shirts that can be worn in leisure time but still look good enough to be seen at the office.

What sets the “Business-Wear” look apart?

The classic look of men’s business clothing consists of a suit, business shoes and a nice shirt with tie. There is a clear rule of thumb for the classic look of business clothing: the higher the position, the darker the color choice should be.

What does “business casual” look like?

The classic suit is always an integral part of the business casual look. Today, it can be more casual and does not necessarily have to be combined with a tie. Instead, the shirt can be worn with an open collar.

A smart office style with a “casual” look

The casual chic look is positioned between the casual look and the casual business look. Although it gives a serious touch to the casual look and softens the business casual look, it can still be considered a business outfit! That’s why there are pit falls and subtle differences that you need to beaware of. Here, you have to be extremely tactful as you move from the limits of elegance to those of casualness. The goal is to look attractive and serious without being over- or under dressed. For that, it is necessary to show a good instinct! As we are currently in the Spring/Summer season, I created a structure with advice on the clothes you can buy at this time of the year to wear this look :

The best for the “smart casual” look

For tops, the thin suit shirt can be omitted, but a casual shirt, polo shirt or T-shirt that you choose instead should be well cut and perfectly matched to the outfit. Here you can also play with lighter colors like red, blue or green for summer.

Which pants go with the “smart casual” look?

You can easily get jeans or pants. Here you can use dark colors like black, dark blue/grey and khaki or lighter shades like light beige, blue or grey.

Comfortable shoes distinguish the casual office style.

As for shoes, they can be more comfortable. Here, sneakers, moccasins or suit shoes in neutral colors such as white, black, beige, brown, grey or darkblue are a good choice.

Accessories complement the office style for men.

As for accessories, you can let off steam and choose a bow tie, for example, to create a more “intelligent” look. Straps instead of a belt will make you stand out from the crowd, but are not essential. Brief cases can be replaced by leather back packs and wrist watches or bracelets can add the finishing touch to your outfit.

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