Ah, yes, the always fun and always confusing concept of business casual. When you apply for a job that has a business casual dress code, it would be a good idea to clarify what you mean by their statement; In some places business casual is seen as simply polo and whatever pants are most comfortable, and in other places it is essentially seen as business professional without tie. With all that confusion and so much range to choose from, it can be difficult to know which are the best business casual shoes.
Which shoes matter for business casual?
The best way to look at business casual and accompanying shoes is that they are an elevated version of the shoes you’d wear outside of the office. When you want to elevate a casual outfit, you can do it with shoes. This also works in the other direction, as wearing a more formal outfit can be accomplished by going a step more casual with your shoes. A good example is to consider wearing a pair of casual Chelsea boots with your dress pants and dress shirt or dress shoes with your jeans to dress them up.
Although there are different types of shoes you can wear for a business casual dress code, here are five types of shoes you should always have on hand to allow you the most versatile shoe wardrobe in the office.
Dress shoes are best in business professional wear, intended to be designed with a suit on Wall Street or in the board room. However, they are a great way to dress up your office chinos and step up your game while everyone else is toiling hard on the casual side of business casual.
If you’re in a leadership position at a business casual company, lean towards business and put your sports coat to good use. The best shoes to wear with chinos and a sports coat will always be oxfords or wingtips.
Mark D. Mackie / The Manual / Bruno Magli
If you want to step up your game and lean toward the business side of business casual but want to avoid mixing with the rest of the leadership, choosing a pair of dress boots is the go-to option to make your outfit pop. While they often resemble a pair of dress shoes, the high angles and distinctive embellishments give a bit of flair to the sometimes boring business casual look.
If you really want to stand out, keep them leather and laceless; It gives you an attractive look which will definitely make you more memorable to the people you meet in the office. The footwear collection from Bruno Magli is some of the best footwear you can find. Also, if you want something unique consider buying something from a company like Taft.
Nate Swanner / The Manual / The Manual
Loafers are some of the most underrated and sometimes unsung heroes of the shoe world. With the range of a dress shoe and the simplicity of a sneaker, a good loafer can be the best shoe for your business casual wardrobe. They’ll look great with chinos and dress pants and look even better when wearing your denim on a Friday.
The best way to wear these would always be to wear socks without showing. Even though it may look like you’re not wearing socks, invest in some great invisible socks to protect your shoes and anyone around you when you take your shoes off and amp up your look.
Priscilla du Preez/Unsplash/Unsplash
As you go more casual with your shoes, you’ll need to elevate your look with the rest of your outfit as well. The more you push the casual side of business casual with one aspect, the more you have to push the business side with the other. So if you go with casual boots like suede Chelseas or leather chukkas, your pants and shirt need to be higher.
Let’s say you want to wear a unique Taft boot that pushes the boundaries of casual. In that case, you’ll want to avoid denim (if you’re lucky enough to work at a company whose business casual dress code includes denim) and wear chinos and a button-up shirt instead of a polo.
Mark D. Mackie / The Manual / The Manual
Sneakers are the most casual you’ll find at the office; So, if you want to have the most comfortable shoes in your wardrobe then you must go for it. There are now countless dress sneakers or what are called hybrid dress shoes available, meaning they blend the worlds of business and casual with the epitome of efficiency.
The trick with these shoes is that, although they are called dress sneakers, you don’t want to veer completely down the dress aisle. These shoes will look inconsistent with dress pants, so you’ll want to stick with chinos, and if you wear denim, definitely wear a sport coat to the office.
Can I wear regular shoes for business casual?
Your everyday shoes will be tough to handle at the office, but they can’t be destroyed. When you want to wear your regular casual shoes, remember the rule that the more you lean towards business casual with shoes, the more you need to lean towards business casual with the rest of your shoes.
Is it okay to wear tennis shoes with business casual?
Running shoes are the ultimate casual shoe. They are specifically designed for function, not fashion at all. Hence, these shoes rarely find a place in the office. If you have a medical reason for needing to replace leather-soled dress shoes with something that has more arch support, explore dress sneakers and see if they’ll work before handing them over to the guy at the office who New Balance wears tennis shoes. with his sport coat.
Here you have five pairs of shoes that will make you look fabulous at the office. They might not get you a promotion, but they will definitely keep an eye on you and give you an edge over the rest of the competition.