Style Scenario: All Business No Suit

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About the Author: DeJuan is a husband, father of an 11-year old son and 4-year old daughter, and a chemical engineer. He enjoys watching sports, reading, playing and listening to music, and of course men’s style. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and works from home in inside sales for a chemical process equipment supplier.

What are you going to wear? Sometimes it’s good to look at a few suggestions then add your own tweaks and ideas. That’s what these are for. Unless your workplace has a strict dress code that requires it, you do not have to wear a suit or a blazer to get dressed up for a day at the office. A shirt and tie with a cardigan instead makes for a nice, polished, put together look. A step above the usual slacks/shirt/tie look often seen on reluctant office workers who are told they have to wear a tie. Hope this look inspires you to give a try.

Style Scenario: All business no suit

The Sweater: Amazon Goodthreads Men’s Lightweight Merino Wool Cardigan Sweater – $44.90. Camel cardigans are incredibly versatile. Also, a cardigan makes a great substitute for a suit jacket or blazer for those times when you want to dress up and have something over your dress shirt, but not go too formal. The camel color or a neutral shade of brown or gray pairs well with nearly everything.

The Dress Shirt: Paul Fredrick Slim Fit Pure Cotton Pinpoint Solid Color Button Down Collar Dress Shirt – $95. Or your favorite white dress shirt. A well-dressed man should have at least one plain white dress shirt in his wardrobe. Goes with just about anything when you need to get dressed up. Looks great on its own in case you get too warm and want to remove the cardigan. The More affordable option: Try this from Nordstrom for $49.

The Tie: Tie Bar Pointed Tip Knit Slate Blue Tie – $25. To stylishly make a formal leaning outfit a little bit less stuffy, or smarten up an otherwise casual outfit, try a knit tie. TheTieBar’s pointed tip knit ties have the texture, but also end in a more dressy point as opposed to the more casual squared off end of most knit ties. It really is a perfect combination.

The Pants: Charles Trywhitt Super 100s Wool Stripe Trousers in French Blue – $120. Keeping the contrast under control is key when it comes to wearing striped trousers and suits. A super dark base fabric and a high contrast light stripe can leave you looking like something out of a Dick Tracy gangster movie. Here, the stripe is a lighter blue on top of a dark but not inky navy. Perfect. Thickness of stripes also comes into play. Look for thin and subtle. The More affordable option: The trousers at the very top of the post? Thrift store! Hat-tip to all of my fellow thrifters out there.

The Belt: Charles Tyrwhitt Made in England Reversible Belt – $55. Sustainably sourced Italian leather, made in England, and easily reverses from brown to black. That’s a lot of belt for $55.

The Watch: Orient Bambino 2nd Gen Version I – $123.98. A clean, classic, affordable dress watch with an in-house automatic movement. Versions of the Bambino often show up in these Style Scenarios and for good reason.

The Socks: Bombas Men’s Dress Calf Sock $15. A simple pair of navy socks to coordinate with the trousers. Usually looks better to match the color of your socks with the color of your pants, not the color of your shoes.

The Shoes: Thomas Bird Benson Wholecut in Chestnut – $295. Or your favorite medium brown dress shoes, such as the iconic Strand in walnut by Allen Edmonds. The chestnut color gives the outfit in neutral colors some added “pop” without actually bringing color. The More affordable option: Nordstrom’s “Dane” Cap Toes deliver for under $100. Full review here. They won’t last year years on years on years, but for many a worker-bee who doesn’t wear dress shoes on his down time, with reasonable care they can get you where you need to go. Want the “flash” of the Thomas Bird Wholecut or Allen Edmonds Strand? Try some monkstraps. Nordstrom makes those too for under $100.

The Briefcase: Blackbook Horizon 2 Executive Briefcase – $99.70 ($210). On sale via Nordstrom Rack. Finding affordable but professional looking briefcases can be tough these days, with all the WFH and more casual work cultures. But if you want something slim and clean looking, a basic briefcase in leather is the way to go. Not familiar with this brand, but for under $100 it could be a decent bet.