The 5 Different Interpretations Of Business Casual

The 5 Different Interpretations Of Business CasualImage via Shutterstock

Personally, I think that the “psychology of dress” ideology is a crock of shit like most psychology is, but I’ve been at my company for a few years now, and I believe that qualifies me as an advocate and a critic of the “business casual” look. More so, as a male, the perception of what’s acceptable in the workplace varies from person to person, but it really does reflect who you are and what kind of worker you are. I’m looking at you, attention starved suit vest guy.

1. “Never Really Left Greek Life” Guy
The 5 Different Interpretations Of Business Casual
This is easily the most identifiable with recent postgrads, especially when new hires start strolling in with their diplomas still under their arms, giving Mom the subtle wave as she shouts, “Bye Sweetie!” from the cockpit of her Honda Odyssey. This dude is guaranteed to always be thought of as the intern, and guaranteed to always overdo it at a company outing.

Wardrobe Staples: Vineyard Vines patchwork belt, Ralph Lauren pastels and oxfords, slim fit chinos from Bonobos or Express, loafers with a shitty polish job, patterned Happy Socks from TJ Maxx, brand new North Face backpack.

2. “I bring Esquire into the Bathroom” Guy
The 5 Different Interpretations Of Business CasualImage via Shutterstock

Idolizes Schmidt from New Girl, watches Entourage on a nightly basis because he “just finished The Sopranos“, thinks Drama “is one crazy dude”, and always suggests that shots would make any situation better at the most inappropriate times. Relentlessly name-drops the brands that he’s wearing, incessantly talks about what he’s “thinking” of buying, and chimes in at any moment about what you “should” be buying or about his rare Japanese selvage jeans. Probably has a “crazy” weekend story every Monday, probably is seeing some “crazy” girl who just won’t leave him alone, and his buddies are “just nuts” whenever they go to EDM shows at questionable nightclubs. Constantly talks about the Hot and Not in the office.

Wardrobe Staples: Express button-downs that are too tight and in obnoxious colors, Express pants with the same demeanor as the shirts, black belt with oversized Versace buckle, horsebit loafers or square toe oxfords with no regard for colors (read: “oxblood” or “burgundy”), Timbuk2 messenger bag or Adidas gym bag.

3. “Still Can’t Grasp It” Guy

You’re not entirely sure what he does in your office, let alone if he still works there or if he’s just taking his sweet time getting his things every day after a subsequent termination. Regardless, he’s consistent about one thing: getting one half of business casual right. If he managed to get on a nice pair of slacks, he found an old quarter-zip sweatshirt to complete it. If a dress shirt was in the cards today, you bet your bottom dollar that he gets away with some jeans with it. White New Balances every damn day, but he can swing that shit because he’s been balancing the book since before you were born. This comes with privilege and can never be duplicated.

Wardrobe Staples: Home team logo sweater, pleated khakis, short-sleeve button-down shirt, boot cut jeans, walking shoes, oldest monogram briefcase in the history of man.

4. “American Psycho is my Favorite Movie” Guy
The 5 Different Interpretations Of Business CasualImage via YouTube

Completely regardless of what your company’s dress code is, he thinks he’s on Wall Street and finds no hesitation to deliver the “you gotta dress to impress” mantra to anyone who he feels isn’t doing the same (read: everyone). Leaves the Oliver Peoples website on his monitor because he can’t quite decide which frames he likes, uses absurd phrases for basic colors (“I’m not sure how I feel about my pulmonary vein blue tie today”), and leaves his 3-Series keys on the bar on purpose. Much like number two, he’s brand-obsessed, but it has to be top of the line. Tolerable in small doses, as in passing by you in the bathroom, if his cologne doesn’t choke you out first.

Wardrobe Staples: Three-one piece suit (no jacket, always just the vest), paisley pocket square, obscure and questionable ties, designer shoes he leaves in the office, designer briefcase that carries nothing.

5. “Weekend Warrior” Guy

The most relatable of all five, the Weekend Warrior knows the standards and sticks to what he’s going to get away with so nobody barks up his tree. Poster child of the dress code, he’s never come close to skirting with the policy. Five pairs of chinos, five shirts, modest socks, shoes always shined, and a good haircut. He’s the guy with his sleeves rolled up right after lunch and the guy who sneaks out right at quarter after five to beat the happy hour rush. Wayfarers in the shirt pocket? Sounds about right.

Wardrobe Staples: Good-fitting pants, oxford collar button down, Cole Haan’s, leather laptop bag, polos for the warmer weather, and a short n’ sweet recap of last night’s game in the back pocket.

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Living for the weekend.

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