The Top 5 Fundamentals of Office Wear for Men
1) How to Wear Pants Properly: Whether you're in a suit or in business casual, RLS continues to endorse flat front pants. These are a more modern look and will make you look thinner than pants with pleats.
|Bonobos Heathertones Grey, $178 |
Exceptions are only for seasoned gentlemen wearing suits or the super-trendy catching pleats that have recently re-emerged on the runway. However, I can tell you with confidence, that not many DC government workers are wearing anything that hot off the runway. For those considering "the new pleat", remember that the pleats should lay completely flat while you're standing and be worn at the waist—not below. The newest interpretation, for the super stylish, have fewer pleats, are more likely to use a “reverse pleat” (facing away from the fly), and a more narrow silhouette, meaning you're more likely to find what you’re looking for in the store than in your closet.
For men who aren't skinny but are looking for a slimmer cut, check out the “slim fit” selection at Charles Tyrwhitt, which provides more space than their “extra slim” line.
3) Shirt Collars: Whether you opt for a classic or spread, make sure that your collar corners aren’t curling up like elves’ shoes. Remember those little plastic tabs that came in the collar? Those should come out when the shirt goes to the cleaners but go back in before you head to the office. Lost your collar stays long ago? Pick up a set of various size stays, so you're set with all different collars. Better yet, your wife should get you a set of custom message stays from Red Envelope.
4) Match Your Leathers: Some suits or slacks deserve black shoes. Other combinations will go better with brown. Either way, make sure your leathers match. If you opt for black shoes, make sure you’re wearing your black belt. And likewise, brown shoes mean a brown belt. If you can, pick a watch band to match too.
5) Suiting Up: I find most men know the color basics (or have fallen into them). Have a navy suit, have a grey suit, and build out from there. We've already talked a bit about flat front pants versus pleats. So, let’s talk about fit. First and foremost, make sure your suit jacket fits across the shoulders. If it doesn't fit there, forget it, no matter how much you like the pattern, price or fabric.
We recommend sticking with two-button suits. They’re classic and will stay in style. More modern silhouettes are cut in above the waist and have higher armholes. If you’re still in the baggy Tony Soprano suits, it’s time for a change. Tailor the pants and sleeves to fit your limbs. The pants should hit just at the top of your shoes, and the jacket sleeves should hit at the wrist bone, giving you an opportunity to show a bit of shirt sleeve.
Some companies are now integrating working button holes into the sleeves, which is a nice touch. But if you have shorter arms like me, take a pass. A tailor won’t be able to adjust the sleeve length if there are actual buttonholes, and it’s better to have a properly fitting suit than something that doesn't fit with bells and whistles.
Follow these simple steps and you’ll be a step ahead of the competition in your office. Check back later in the season for five tips on taking office wear to the next level.