Office culture—and its dress code—has changed drastically over the past two decades. That’s certainly not news.
Especially if you’ve been employed during the transition. But, for many, the appropriate fit can still be a head-scratcher.
Indeed, there was a period when dressing for your 9-to-5 was easy. A suit in gray or navy with a pair of oxfords was always a good bet.
Influence of Silicon Valley and Start Ups
Think Mad Men, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Up in the Air. Nowadays, however, with Silicon Valley and start-ups across the nation promoting a laissez-faire attitude;
Read: normcore—in open-concept offices and boardrooms alike, the prescribed attire isn’t so simple. Enter business casual, and more specifically, business casual shoes.
The term is decidedly tricky. What does business casual actually mean? What are the parameters?
Here’s the CliffsNotes version: business, but not too business, and casual, but not too casual. You still want to present yourself authoritatively. But you also don’t want to be the sole over dresser in the group.
The choice of shoes, in particular, is the perfect way to meander between these two points. If you prefer the formality of a suit, pair it with a white sneaker. Similarly, if you’re a jeans-and-tee fella, polish it up with wingtips.
The white sneaker: Adidas and Stan Smith certainly did it well. If you have a Ludlow suit or something similar hanging around, pair it with this veritable icon.
There are also styles that fit the business-casual bill by themselves, including desert boots, Chelsea boots, and certain types of loafers.
Need more help getting business casual shoes down pat? Check out the selection below. Most of us will be heading back to the office soon (if you haven’t already).
And we could all use some new kicks when we do. And hey, we can wear them OOO, too.
If you’re not looking to overdo the latter half of “business casual,” a penny loafer is your friend. Wear it jeans and a sports jacket, or tapered slacks and sleek sweater, and you’re all set.
Thursday makes a range of business casual shoes, but we’re partial to the Scout chukkas. Wear them with chinos or dark denim and call it a day.
Come for the durable nubuck leather and crepe soles. Stay for the eye-catching patina that’ll only get better with time.
Into white, but really feeling sneakers? The Doc has got you covered with some slightly offbeat oxfords.
Pair them with a straight-leg jean and button-up, or a cotton suit, and consider yourself minted.
Everything you love about a penny loafer, beefed up with a big lug sole. It’s business and casual in one (very attractive) package.
A wingtip derby is pretty formal shoe, insofar as office-wear goes, at least. But Cole Haan has made it much more casual with the addition of grooved rubber sole.
Second only to the desert boot in the business casual spectrum is the mighty Chelsea boot. Whether dressing up or dressing down, this style consistently walks the line with aplomb.
Still yearning for a pair of elevated sneakers? Try these black leather kicks from Koio.
An ultra-versatile taupe sneaker with a little extra edge, courtesy of Jerry Lorenzo’s Fear of God Essentials line.
When in doubt, leather boots are a business-casual staple. Black lace-ups are great for wearing with black anything—jeans, chinos, suits, what have you.
Yes, black boots are a great option, but if you want to try a bit more color, Red Wing, purveyor of some of the most durable boots around, has an elegant option in rich amber.
A new take on the timeless loafer, this one with a unique vamp and a square toe.
Trust that Armando Cabral will always elevate tried-and-true classics with attention-grabbing details—like the elastic goring at the vamp of these pebbled leather loafers.
Like we said, penny loafers are foolproof. And if you’re looking for the toniest option, the one beloved by English gents, Grenson’s Epsom is what you need.
If you’ve been following us closely, you’re well aware of Common Projects’s sneakers—their paired-down look, high-quality materials, and expert construction. The same, of course, can be said of its stellar Chelsea boots.
Initially made for cruising down the highway, Tod’s Gommini—a.k.a. driving shoes—are the kind of shoes that will put your business casual fit into high gear.
There are very few situations in which a Gucci bit loafer is not the right move. Go ahead and invest—it’ll pay dividends.
Speaking of investment, Celine Homme has produced the perfect all-day Chelsea boot. Wear it to the office. Wear it to a festival. Wear it anywhere.