Office Style Errors and Fixes

Previous generations had it easy when it came to dressing for work. If you picked a suit that fits and kept your shirt and tie sober, you’d be unlikely to put a foot wrong. Yes, it was restrictive. But at least everyone knew where they stood.

The revolution against the dress code has unyoked us from style servitude but, with right and wrong now less clearly distinguished, it’s easier to take a sartorial stumble. Can you wear trainers but still look like you mean business? Is there any way to wear jeans at your desk without looking like an off-duty dad? Yes, and indeed yes. Just follow our map through the minefield.  


The Mistake: Gym Bags & Suits
You’ve binned the briefcase for a backpack as a more modern way to cart your kit to work, but know your limits. If what’s slung over your shoulder is riddled with velcro and pockets, save it for hiking.
The Fix
A backpack is office-ready if it passes a few tests: premium fabrics, muted colours, and a contemporary shape. Ideally, that means leather in black, brown or blue, with high-quality hardware and enough space for your laptop and a spare layer.

MaleEdit | Emporio Armani Backpack

Emporio Armani

MaleEdit | Fossil - Estate Backpack

Fossil

MaleEdit | Oroton - Crusade Backpack

Oroton

The Mistake: Misunderstanding Athleisure
Gone are the days when black Oxfords were the only option, but that doesn’t mean you can wear your running shoes to work. If they’re neon, or have seen the inside of a gym, they’re out.
The Fix
Work-worthy trainers are unfussy and, above all else, as clean as the formal kicks they’re replacing. Box-fresh canvas, leather or suede styles from the likes of Adidas, Common Projects or Axel Arigato work. The beer-stained ones you wore to last night’s gig do not.

MaleEdit | Reiss - Bradley

Reiss

MaleEdit | Florsheim - Sepang

Florsheim

MaleEdit | Windsor Smith - Art157

Windsor Smith

MaleEdit | Rockport - Let's Walk

John Smith

The Mistake: Disrespecting Your Suit
What to do with that lounge suit you no longer need to wear every day? Dress it down by splitting the jacket from the trousers, of course. Fine, until a laissez-faire approach to tailoring renders it unwearable when you do actually have to dress up.
The Fix
Deploying a suit singly means the trousers and jacket wear out at different paces. Invest in some tailored wool trousers and a sprezzatura-inspired unstructured blazer, which is softer at the shoulder and more relaxed in fit. It also shrugs off wrinkles, so you needn’t stress about slinging it on the back of your desk chair. 

MaleEdit | MJ Bale - Alday Jacket

MJ Bale

MaleEdit | MJ Bale - Ernest

MJ Bale

MaleEdit | Reiss - Jaydon Jacket

Reiss

MaleEdit | Reiss - Antonio

Reiss

The Mistake: Dressing Too Far Down
Luxury loungewear may have the designers’ seal of approval, but your boss isn’t refreshing this season’s runway reports. At work, being on-trend matters less than being appropriate; even in business-casual offices.
The Fix
Balance is one of the fundamental rules of menswear. If you’re going to dress-down your lower half, then find balance up top with a smart shirt and knit. Similarly, a polo shirt is fair game at work, but you’ll swerve any awkward glances by pairing it with tailored trousers. 

MaleEdit | Saba - Sanders

Saba

MaleEdit | Saba - Ryder Chino

Saba

MaleEdit | Lacoste Polo

Lacoste

MaleEdit | Lacoste Trackpant

Lacoste

The Mistake: Dad Denim
By now your DILF-dressing game should be on-point, but the urge not to be too out-there can steer you into Clarkson territory. Be wary of anything shapeless, or that looks like it’s been washed in an acid bath.
The Fix
Treat your work jeans like formal trousers by sticking to something rich in colour, without distressing, in a tailored fit. Pair indigo denim with an Oxford shirt, blazer and Derby shoe to make them safe for work.

MaleEdit | UINQLO - Men EZY

UNIQLO

MaleEdit | Edwin - Regular

Edwin

MaleEdit | Vivenne Westwood - Jean

Vivenne Westwood

MaleEdit | Oneteaspoon - Mr Bones

Oneteaspoon

The Mistake: Visible Undershirt
It’s only when you lose the office noose that you realise what it hid. Tie abandoned, the top button of your work shirt often follows suit. The peek-a-boo sight of your undershirt’s crew neck is an unsightly replacement.
The Fix
Don’t ditch the undershirt altogether — sweat stains are an even worse sin — but swap it for a V-neck to ensure it stays hidden. Heather grey also beats white, as it’s less visible through lighter shirts. 

MaleEdit | UNIQLO - Dry V Neck

UNIQLO

MalEdit | Reiss - Dayton

Reiss

MaleEdit | Bonds - Besties

Bonds

The Mistake: Creased Shirts
There is no business pressing enough (pun very much intended) to warrant leaving the house in the morning with a wrinkled shirt. Not only will doing so see your style stock de-crease, but chances are it will also ruin the rest of your look.
The Fix
In short: invest in a good iron, and use it. If unsure how, learn. If that’s too much effort, buy a steamer. If you can’t deal with any of that, get a new job as something topless like a swimmer or stripper.

MaleEdit | Tefal - Ultimate Steam Iron

Tefal Ultimate Steam

MaleEdit | Tefal - Effetus

Tefal Effectus

MaleEdit | Tefal - Garment Steamer

John Smith

The Mistake: Poor Shoes
There’s an old saying that women judge a man by what’s on his feet before anything else. Which isn’t exactly true, men do it too. Whether they’re scuffed, in dire need of a polish, or just square-toed monstrosities, lax lace-ups just won’t do.
The Fix
Not every type of shoe needs to have a you-could-shave-in-that level of shine. However, taking time at least once a fortnight to remove loose dirt, buff out any marks and apply some shoe protector will pay dividends when it comes to salary negotiations.

MaleEdit | Ted Baker - Shoe Care

Ted Baker

The Mistake: Wearing Beachwear In A Heatwave
Sadly, temperatures that reduce a besuited man to a sweaty mess are no excuse to turn up for the 9am meeting in board shorts and a pair of flip-flops. But with many offices relaxing their dress codes, there is a way to stay cool and collected without being called to see HR.
The Fix
Tailored shorts, or at least slim-fitting chino styles, are your only option. Restrict them to a neutral palette of black, navy, sand and khaki and dress them up with crisp shirts and polos. We can’t condone bare feet in the office but if you really must, ditch the ‘thongs’ for a pair of smart, minimalist sandals and for the love of Sandra on reception, get a pedicure.

MaleEdit | Reiss - Wicker

Reiss

MaleEdit | Polo Ralph Lauren

Polo Ralph Lauren

MaleEdit | Aldo - Edudien

Aldo

MaleEdit | Florsheim - Getaway

Florsheim

This article was originally published on Fashionbeans.

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