Picks of the Week: Business Casual
Hitting the sweet spot between two of menswear's most venerable stylistic departments, Business Casual dressing can bring together the best of both worlds and make for a happier working life. If it's done properly, that is.
Where the working week is concerned, the tried and tested dictum 'dress like you mean business' is something that we encourage, nay expect readers of The Rake to adhere to. However, we're living in the twenty-first century - an era of slippery linguistics and fluid definitions, and also an era where nobody has the time to attire themselves in fully tailored businessman's regalia before heading to work like some Edwardian banker - and it's outdated to think that 'business' and 'casual' are mutually exclusive categories. Indeed, given that nowadays work increasingly involves travelling, attending meetings, and generally moving about more, taking a more relaxed approach to your day-to-day outfit can entail happy possibilities for both your bodily comfort and personal aesthetic. Whether you're a veteran hedge fund manager or a budding designer at a Shoreditch start-up, mixing elements of classic business wear with judiciously chosen casual staples is a great way to liven up the daily grind a little. If you're looking to make business casual your sartorial modus operandi, or if you just want a more pub-ready look for Friday afternoons - our editors have you covered with their top tips.Tom Chamberlain, Editor If you were looking for the reason almost every brand on the planet is trying to align classic codes of tailoring with unstructured, comfortable, pared-back details, then casual Friday is your answer. The feeling of looking great without the starched collar, cufflinks or generously-canvassed suiting is something of a golden egg in style circles and it is a relief to say that there are some brands really (and I mean really) getting this right. My brand du jour is Craftsman Clothing, who refuse to do any wrong and took the opportunity at Pitti to make more of an impact than before. This safari jacket would be perfect for a meeting and paired with the Drake’s corduroy trouser and Belgian loafers from Badouin & Lange, you look like you’ve been thoughtful enough to coordinate and uniform your look without needlessly overdoing it. Ryan Thompson, Digital EditorBen St. George, Head Buyer If ever there was a season well suited to casual Friday dressing, then summer is it. Fortunately, a relaxed, breathable and easy-wearing wardrobe can still be damnably stylish. Ring Jacket's 'Balloon' range is cut from cloth they weave themselves, with a very open weave and excellent recovery - great in the heat and with enough recovery to keep looking the part if the afternoon transitions into a hard night on the tiles. A long-sleeved polo, like this charcoal number from Marol, pairs the elegance of a traditional shirt with incredible comfort and a louche, laid-back style. Lardini's linen pleated Madrid trousers are perfect for completing the ensemble, with enough structure for the boardroom and enough style for the bar and beyond. Salud!
Jessica Beresford, Managing Editor
The phrase 'business casual' typically implies the dressing down of a suit but not everyone is obligated to wear a two-piece day-in, day-out. For those in the creative industries especially, Fridayoffers the opportunity to actually dress-up their usual work attire, particularly if a drinks or dinner engagement is in the offing. In the summer, this is best achieved by opting for a seersucker blazer, which while functionally perfect in warmer climes, is also a subtle way to add some classic tailored structure to casualwear. G.Inglese's double-breasted jacket can be easily paired with a simple white t-shirt by Sunspel, and while most people would err on the side of neutral chinos, we'd recommend a pair of King & Tuckfield's loose-fitting denim trousers. Wear them with a roll up for a cropped effect and bookend them with a minimal pair of white sneakers by C.QP. Effortlessly chic and comfortable at the same time.
Here in London's Mayfair, where hedge funds jostle with art galleries for (ludicrously overpriced) rental space, the animal that is "business casual" has broken free from its once exclusive confines of a Friday, to be witnessed roaming about on any day of the week, remiss of tie and shirt uniformly unbuttoned. The codes of suiting have relaxed, no shadow of a doubt, but 'business casual' this is not - instead it looks as though these men were abruptly interrupted while getting dressed that morning and never returned to complete the task. I'd recommend losing the suit altogether in favour of separates. My holy trinity of summer separates include a pair of high-waisted linen trousers by Anderson & Sheppard (lightweight and crisply pleated) and Salvatore Piccolo's brown check linen blazer (the 'no brown in town' rule has gone the way of the dodo), worn not with the obvious white or light blue business shirt but instead with Marol's exquisite denim shirt. Repp tie for the office; ditch it for the pub. Speaking of which...
Desmond Huthwaite, Copywriter ‘Business Casual’ – smart casual’s cantankerous and finicky cousin – rears his head on louche Friday afternoons in the office, nestling somewhere between the last meeting of the working week and the first pint at the local pub, striking fear into the hearts of bepinstriped CEOs and staffers who can’t compute a midway point between work and weekend. But fear not! A few simple substitutions are all that’s required to make a smooth transition from boardroom to bar, whilst keeping you looking sharp for clients and colleagues. A collarless cashmere shirt by Anderson & Sheppard is not only irresistibly comfortable, but also eliminates the need for a tie and adds a touch of Parisian insouciance to your suiting. As well as dressing down a suit in an unmistakable contemporary fashion, a pair of crisp white trainers by North-89 will be an indispensable aid on the 4pm sprint to the pub. For a more subtle approach, a charm bracelet by Rubinacci will soften up your shirt sleeves nicely.