Sartorial Know-how15 October 2021

16 Items That Glorify Business Casual

Lee Osborne imparts his sartorial know-how with a top-to-toe guide on how to navigate this often nebulous dress code

Being able to nail the more casual side of your sartorial repertoire is not a God-given attribute most men are blessed with. It may be music to the ears of those itching to free themselves from their suited shackles, but the majority of men still shudder at the thought of the term business casual. I must say, I’ve always rather envied the small minority of men that seem to straddle, and I hate this term — the smart-casual divide — so seamlessly.

It was much easier for our forefathers of course, who donned suits 5-days a week and hardly gave it a second thought. Thankfully for them, the term business casual had not even been invented. But as our employers are loosening the knots of their ties all the more, the question remains: how do you rock up to the office (or perhaps — more topically Zoom Call — when working from home) looking less formal, but still sartorially-savvy?


In terms of jackets that exemplify this dress code, it has to be the patch-pocket variety. Any other style screams suit jacket masquerading as a separate. Salernitan tailor Melillo 1970 have two which fit the bill here: their navy wool blazer is the timeless option, or if you hanker after something with a bit more texture and subtle dogtooth pattern then plump for the Pied de Poule with button-flap patch pockets.


The aim of the game here is to err towards softer shirting fabrics. Swap your usual crisp white work shirt out for a pale blue Chambray polo in light indigo by G. Inglese for example. Cordone’s popover style polo shirt or even their rather suave Azure pale blue flannel shirt will work wonders. Dispense with the tie and instead wear a pocket square as a neckerchief in the nonchalant way Clark Gable once perfected. I’m really rather fond of Cordone’s new season wide striped cotton shirts too. Their warming autumnal hues will sit beautifully beneath either of the patch pocket blazers if you lean more towards a bolder pattern.


There has never been a better excuse to embrace the drawstring trouser, they were positively made for business casual — particularly when they’re as chic as those on offer from Neapolitan trouser maker Sartoria Corrado. You really cannot go wrong with any of the colorways — whether you stay safe with beige or light grey or inject a bit of color into the proceedings with a playful burgundy. Don’t rule out corduroy either. If you’re more of a Lapo Elkann statement kind of guy, I dare you to embrace the camo-print single pleats — just make sure the jacket is plain.


Trainers can most definitely be incorporated into a business casual get up, so long as they are of the premium leather variety in an off-white or navy — and most definitely not the type you go to the gym wearing. But if you really can’t lower yourself to the sneaker, then brown suede loafers or derbies are the fail-safe options — plain leather is a tad too dressy still.

The Finer Details

For scarves, more muted jacket tones cry out for playful patterned scarves to really pop. Stefano Cau’s exquisite Habotai silk scarves are the icing on the sartorial cake here. Serà Fine Silk and Fumagalli have intricate designs aplenty too which will make you the talk of the town. The former’s paisley and medallion styles are totally on point, as are the latter’s intricate Kashmir-inspired designs.

Be sure to trade up the briefcase for something a little less stiff and starchy. The DUST’s sleek leather backpack fits the bill perfectly here. As will any of Athison’s more malleable fabric buckle-up bags.

On Sale
The Dust Company Sleek Leather Backpack The Dust Company Sleek Leather Backpack

The Dust

The Dust Company Sleek Leather Backpack

401301 (TaxFree: 246)
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Athison Gray/Brown Alight Backpack Athison Gray/Brown Alight Backpack


Athison Gray/Brown Alight Backpack

690 (TaxFree: 565)
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If ditching your tie is too much to bear, and who could blame you for that, make it a less-pretentious bobbly knitted silk from Fumagalli or one of G. Inglese’s rugged shantung offerings (a highly-textured fabric that you can learn more about in the Introductory Guide to Italian Silk Ties).

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