by David Bremner, d.g.bremner & co. –
Along with all of you, I have ridden the wave of changing definitions for the term “business casual,” and today we’re on the upward sweep of yet another refinement.
Just to be clear: originally, the term meant you could come to work in a sport coat, dress pants and a nice shirt, but leave the tie at home.
Over the years, the definition of “business casual” has tended to shift, a bit like a wave, with the times. In the past decade or so, it’s been more to the “casual” side, though now you can certainly see the momentum shifting back to a more polished version. Leading the way would be one of the most exciting things to come into the menswear business in many years: the unconstructed sport coat. This is a garment that looks like a sport coat, but feels more like a sweater, most often made of soft, modern tweeds (nothing like the old Harris Tweed!) but a beautiful fabric that any special someone will be happy to walk arm in arm with.
In many cases, the absence of shoulder pads, a canvas chest piece and the tendency of many of these coats to be of a lanolin-rich wool fabric also give an additional benefit. Now the jacket can double as an outerwear piece, replacing a windbreaker, and it’s a great look with a scarf (remember all those scarves forgotten in your bottom drawer? Now you have a reason to pull them out and wear them!). This look is perfect paired with a slimmer profile dress pant, particularly one of the more technical “no iron, no wrinkle, washable” pants out there, either in a modern slash pocket or the ever popular five-pocket jean style. There are some really great pant options available today, and please don’t be afraid of a little pattern! As always, pants are all about fit … a clean profile, not too tight, but not too much extra material either. Many of these wrinkle-free fabrics mean you can work all day and still look great on the way home!
We’re almost there! Now we need a dressy sport shirt, and there are no shortage of options available today. We’re seeing a shift from bolder patterns to looks we refer to as “neats:” small checks, herringbones, nailheads and birds-eyes. Cooler weather often means loftier fabrics with more texture than you’d expect in a traditional dress shirt.
And that’s a sophisticated look that’s getting lots of attention this year.
An alternative might also be a lightweight wool, long sleeve polo shirt … or even a turtleneck. The heathered textures and earthy colours available in these just sing fall, and you’re well on your way to being right on trend for fall 2018.
Let’s not forget the accessories! Given no tie, it leaves lots of room for a great belt, and maybe take it up a notch with a nice pocket square! And shoes!
It’s a banner year for business casual, comfort, colour, practicality, and style.