The men’s business casual wear trend is a fashion staple that appeals to consumers who want a classy corporate look for work and business events.
However, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that this trend is defined by plain shirts, pants, or simple suits, when in fact there is far more on offer. Men can wear something as casual as denim jeans or t-shirts and still look smart and formal — it all just depends on how these items are paired.
This article will showcase the top five everyday outfits that can be worn as business-casual attire that are set to be popular in 2022.
The market for men’s business casual
Men’s business wear is a huge market globally, valued in 2020 at $101 million. This has been projected to hit $114 million by 2023, and is expected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.12%.
Aside from North America, the Asia Pacific region appears to dominate the workwear market with at least 46% market share as of 2021. The increase in global employment, especially in the tech industry, has fueled the growth of men’s business casual apparel. In addition, men’s lifestyle and fashion magazines like GQ, FHM, and Men’s Vogue contribute to the market’s growth as their models display innovative and classic men’s wear trend styles.
Five trending men’s business casual outfits
Chinos are casual smart trousers that stand out for rugged strength. They usually come in versatile fabrics and different cuts that are perfect for nailing an urban street dress code.
Matching chinos with other smart casual items is easy as long as consumers know their style and consider the occasion. For instance, mid-weight cotton chinos with a pantsuit structure are perfect for formal occasions. In addition, one can go for a pair that rests smoothly on the hip without bunching and tapering at their ankles. Finally, rolling the cuff from the bottom to about two inches is another way to get a cinched look.
The chinos trend gaining traction these days is the slightly wider leg version that allows for tapering at the bottom. Khaki is the most common color and it defines contemporary men’s fashion style.
Soothing shades like light red, rose, and peach are popular colors that are easy to wear and are also making waves this season. With these colors, one can ditch the formalities of over-the-top navy blazers and aim for collared jackets and silk scarfs.
Those who love a classic feel can play it safe with neutrals like gray, marsala, and navy chinos that pass for casual and formal events. Also, those who love earthy colors can try options like taupe sand or forest green.
T-shirts and chinos check pants are the best equation for a classic and effortless look. Chinos of any color are a good match with striped, white, or navy t-shirts. While classic chambray or button-down linen shirts go well with chinos for a dressier look.
Men’s dress shirts
Dress shirts are button-up shirts typically with long sleeves and a collar. Classic-fit dress shirts are for those who prefer traditional styles. The boxy shirt has a loose fit around the body and arms. With this fashion staple, one can move freely without feeling restricted.
The modern-fit dress shirt is a popular choice, and they sit between the slim and classic fit. They are the perfect go-to for those who want a more tapered and classic fit. The modern-fit dress shirt also looks great without a jacket and doesn’t billow out unnecessarily.
Slim-fit dress shirts, on the other hand, are for those who want a more tailored, sleek, and trendy look. These popular shirts feature a slim waist, higher cuffs, tapered sleeves, and a slim chest. Slimmer men naturally lean towards the skinny-fit dress shirts as they offer a slim cut around the shoulders and chest.
Consumers who wear suits most of the time will prefer solid-colored dress shirts in lavender, light gray, and light pink, amongst others. Black or navy black dress shirts are trendy options for semi-formal events.
For a more casual look, the checked variants will be popular. On the other hand, men can wear a plain white dress shirt with jeans for a simple look on a casual date, while those with a more conservative and formal taste can team the classic dress shirt with a suit, which is perfect for business events.
Almost every guy has a pair of denim pants in their wardrobes because they are stylish, durable, easy to maintain, comfy, and versatile. Those who love denim pants with clean natural edges choose the selvedge variant, which goes perfectly with blazers, tees, and collared shirts.
For most men, slim jeans are the perfect balance of comfort and a neat fit. These jeans contour the legs to create a great silhouette without stifling the lower calf. They allow one to rock casual suits, polo shirts, and fitted tees with a denim edge.
Skinny jeans are another popular denim cut that can make one look taller due to their tapered finish. It’s ideal for slimmer men that love a more tailored look. They are great combined with neutral solid-colored tees (black, white, navy, etc.), bomber jackets, and knitwear.
Another denim staple for tall and slimmer men is super skinny jeans.They have high elastane, and are perfect for a smart-casual look. Also, they can be paired well with denim jackets, loose tees, and sweaters.
On the other hand, those who love comfort may prefer straight jeans. They go well with loose-fitting layers like knitted field jackets, sweaters, and denim shirts.
Casual tees are subtly stylish essentials that look good for almost every occasion. Today, they’re becoming a popular fashion staple worn in offices, especially by Gen Zs.
One staple in this category is plain tees. Solid colors like gray, white, and navy blend smoothly with most outfits. Plus, they’re an ideal option for those who want a more casual look in the workplace environment. Plain t-shirts also look great paired with stone-washed blue or black jeans.
Printed tees are also trending these days because they add more character — giving a more iconic look. They can be combined with any type of trousers, so long as they are relatively subtle. A good example is a solid-colored printed tee with jeans, track pants, or chinos for a classy and sharp look.
Those who want to look more stylish can go for striped tees. However, the patterns may be tricky to pull off. So, playing it safe with solid bottoms like plain trousers, blue or black denim, or plain chinos would be ideal. Vertical stripes are great for those who want to emphasize their well-built physique.
Henley tees are classic staples with notched necklines and a few buttons. They can be paired well with jeans. These tees also come in neutrals and pastels that blend well with dark-colored bottoms.
Blazers and jackets
Blazers are a formal classic and are very common for those who want to increase their confidence at business meetings. Single-breasted blazers feature a minimal fabric overlap and a single-column button. Charcoal or navy-colored blazers are ideal and easy-to-wear, offering a bolder appearance.
The double-breasted blazer is a more formal option with a large fabric overlap and two-button columns. Cotton blazers, on the other hand, are summer favorites thanks to being lightweight and breathable. In addition, they look great with jeans or regular pants.
Consumers with a knack for luxury and comfort may opt for velvet blazers, which are perfect for corporate gatherings, and work well with black pants.
Linen blazers also offer a smart casual look, while being lightweight and breathable. They are another fabric that is ideal for summer as they offer a light and breezy feel and appearance.
Stock up on men’s business casual this year
With these top five men’s business casual apparel trends, you can capitalize on this growing market. Men’s dress shirts and blazers are set to be some of the most popular trend styles this year, while casual t-shirts, chinos, and denim jeans are perfect for those who work in a slightly less formal environment.
The most important thing is to know one’s target market and invest based on their needs. For example, those who work in financial institutes may prefer dress shirts. But those in lenient workspaces like tech startups can comfortably wear t-shirts, chinos, and even trendy activewear styles.