How to navigate the latest dress code: Business casual

model in Alexandra Wood tailored mens knitwear

You may have heard yet another dress code being introduced – smarter than smart/casual, yet less formal than formal business wear. If you’re confused, you’re not alone. It’s called ‘business casual’. Let us guide you into effortless style. 

Business casual is fast becoming the new norm within the modern working worldparticularly when it comes to working in law and finance.

Opening your wardrobe and choosing the right ensemble can be a daunting and challenging process – but fear not, that’s why we’re here – to help you navigate this tricky new dress code. 

As a result of relentless lockdowns, many companies reduced their formal dress standards, and were no longer required to dress up in tailoredsuits every day. Ever since restrictions have been lifted, many have gone into meltdown over lockdown and were unsure of what to wear for every occasion, whether for business or for social events. This is when the concept ‘business casual’ really took off! 

During those lengthy periods of lockdown, work wear took on an entirely new meaning: a fine shirt or sweater on top, to maintain appearances during tense Zoom calls, and shorts or joggers at the bottom – because how were they to know? 

Letting go of the comfy loungewear and adapting to the new norm of business casual can be daunting – when for so long you’ve been used to reaching for your tailored suit during the week, or jeans and t-shirt for the weekend.  

A prime example of adapting to this new exciting but unfamiliar dress code, business casual, was when the leaders of the G7 nations met for the first time following the pandemic. They were pictured wearing full business suits but sans ties. This was the first time that had ever happened, and it was sensational and transformative. Have you given up your tie? Seems you’re not alone.

But what actually is business casual? 

In simple terms it includes outfits that are a level down from your classic tailored suit but a level up from for your go to weekend designer jeans. It’s a more modern approach to creating a relaxed but still smart, sharp, professional look. 

Rather than the formal suit, button-down shirt, and the tie of before, you need to dress in a manner that is more in line with the spirit of the present and the possible. Working as a partner in a law firm the shift has been on a pretty epic scale, with daily usage of suits being switched for tailored knitwear and chinos

What does an ideal business casual wardrobe look like? 

Building an effortlessly stylish wardrobe is what we do best. By staying in touch with the style times, we know the art of perfecting each dress code- and the business casual dress code is no different.

Business casual is fundamentally about looking polished but not so put together that you’re going overboard. It signifies making an effort, but not wearing a three-piece bespoke suit and tie. With that being said, business casual does not have to mean no suit.  

How to navigate business casual? 

Sports Jackets 

  • A suit doesn’t necessarily have to be formal and that is especially true with a hopsack sports jacket. It can be extremely versatile and because of the weave and texture of the fabric, it is more durable and crease free. It gives a great casual option to your wardrobe and gives you a great standalone jacket as well.

  • Another great jacket option is a navy mid weight flannel for a classic elegant look. Having a block colour material for a jacket rather than a pattern makes your wardrobe more versatile with a simple style. 

Shirts  

In terms of shirts, Alexandra Wood suggests having a minimum of five tailored shirts, with a blend of blues and whites that will give you full capability to adapt and create different looks within your business casual wardrobe.  

Layering  

Especially during the winter season that we are quickly heading into, layering can be absolutely vital when dressing business casual. This is where knitwear becomes one of the most important pieces in your wardrobe. Everyone needs a sweater made from an irresistibly soft merino wool. Whether that is a roll-neck sweater or a quarter zip sweater, they are a warming and versatile choice for the winter. Produce a look that is simple and comfortable by wearing it with a pair of denim jeans or lightweight chinos. We’ve created our own range of stunning, merino wool sweaters which have been tailored with a flattering cut. 

Trousers 

To complete your wardrobe an important foundation of a business casual look are the trousers. Having different combinations of trousers will allow you to achieve each end of the business casual bracket.  

  • Smart tapered wool trousers 
  • Smart chinos for a fashion forward but smart casual look. These trousers are a reliable piece in any many wardrobes and can be worn as effortlessly at the office as they can at your favourite cocktail bar 
  • A pair of jeans and lightweight chinos, which can be reserved for the weekend, and at the more casual end of business casual  

In the end, it’s all about striking a balance between formal and casual to produce clothes that fall somewhere in the middle. It includes incorporating relaxing touches into smart pieces and dressier casual pieces to create a look that effortlessly blends the borders between smart and casual. 

How can Alexandra Wood create your business casual wardrobe? 

We create you a business casual look where you are able to mix and match items with each other to create different looks that make looking the part effortless.

Alexandra Wood brings the modern and practical option to Savile Row standards whilst still being traditional and classy. We take on board your everyday lifestyle to create you a well thought out, tailored wardrobe. 

“I highly recommend Alexandra. The quality of the product is excellent and the service first rate.’’ Senior Partner, Quinn Emanuel Law Firm 

“I can only speak in superlatives. The entire experience is truly bespoke. I wouldn’t go to any other tailor – she is (pun intended) absolutely a cut above!” Luka Krsljanin, Blackstone Chambers

Whichever business environment you work in, you’ll be styled in the current luxury business casual trends, combining high class, high quality and a great fit. We help to simplify your life and save you time. You can start being the best dressed in the office and leave your wardrobe worries behind! 

How to find out more about our tailoring services? 

Discover our bespoke wardrobe design service.

You can also find us on: To find out more we are on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook ready to answer any questions.