8 Essential Business Casual Accessories for Men

8 Essential Business Casual Accessories for Men

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Welcome back to the Gentleman's Gazette.  In today's video, we'll be discussing   some of the best accessories to choose when  working within the business casual dress code   and how you can wear them  to their fullest potential. [Gentleman's Gazette theme song plays] [8 Essential Business Casual Accessories For Men] The business casual dress code is one of the most  ubiquitous dress codes in menswear, and really,   in society today, and we've discussed  it numerous other times on the channel.   If you'd like some basic information,  you can start with our overview video   here. But when it comes to accessorizing a  business casual look, one should keep in mind   one of the essential qualities of this dress  code: its breadth. As we've stated before,  

the meaning of business casual can vary widely  from industry to industry and company to company.   So, knowing how to best accessorize a business  casual outfit starts with knowing just how formal   or casual said outfit should be. But,  in fact, the great virtue here is that   you don't need to purchase many, many outfits  for the subtle variations of business casual.  Rather by using your accessories to make  an outfit more formal or more casual,   you can more effortlessly traverse the  various levels of the formality scale.   And, on that note, for a more in-depth look  at the formality scale and just what it means,   you can find our video on that subject here. So,  in today's video, we'll explore a wide range of   accessories that you can use to dress up or dress  down different broadly business casual outfits and   how to make sure you're making smart choices  for your business casual and accessory arsenal   moving forward. As a reminder, the business  casual dress code has its origins in the relaxing  

of what was considered business appropriate  throughout the course of the 20th century.   Once the business suit was no longer mandatory  in every office, workers began experimenting   with looks that would be more comfortable for  everyday wear such as substituting the suit   for a sport jacket and odd trouser combination  and skipping the tie to go with an open collar.   But, especially today, some industries consider  business casual to be so casual that a gentleman   really has carte blanche when wearing it. And,  as the business casual dress code can encompass   so many different kinds of outfits, you can  approach it from different lenses; for example,   this video where Raphael builds multiple different  business casual outfits from just a few garments.  

And, of course, while business casual originally  referred solely to outfits that would be worn in   an office setting, it can now be applied  to social events and situations as well. With this seemingly limitless variety, should  come a bit of caution however. Remember that   it will always be up to you to determine just how  formal your outfit should be, and if you're ever   in doubt, it's always better to err on the more  formal side than on the more casual. So, one more   note here before we get into specific accessories  to wear. Today's video won't be touching on  

seasonal pieces like hats, gloves, scarves, and  the like because wearing these will often depend   on the season or where you live more generally. To  learn how these more outerwear-based accessories   can best be incorporated into business casual  outfits, you can find our videos on seasonal   accessories here. With all that said, let's now  get started looking at the accessories themselves   starting with belts. While business casual can  encompass a wide range of overall formalities,  

we're not aware of any business casual dress  code that's so casual it would involve foregoing   trousers altogether. And, except for those rare  occasions where you might be wearing suspenders   or a pair of trousers with side adjusters,  chances are most often when wearing trousers,   you're probably going to be wearing a belt.  Belts are an often overlooked accessory that,   in addition to their overall utility, also  serve to easily scale the formality of an   outfit. A leather belt in black or in shades of  brown with a simple buckle in a silver or gold   shade can complement almost any outfit, business casual or otherwise. The elegant   simplicity and understated charm of such a belt  will help to accentuate the rest of the outfit as   the belt won't draw too much attention to itself.  To still remain somewhat on the formal side of   business casual while adding a bit more variety  though, you could also consider lightly brogued or   tooled belts or, perhaps, a woven leather belt.  Belts like these will provide a bit of additional  

visual interest without looking too busy. But,  keep in mind that a heavily brogued or tooled belt   may draw too much attention to itself. And, in  general, the lighter the color of the leather,   the more casual a belt is going to be overall.  And, on the more casual side of business casual,   you could consider wearing a fabric belt  instead. Fabric belts come in a variety   of textures and colors ranging from the subtlety  of a monochromatic or two-tone belt to something   more bold like a madras pattern belt. With the  exception of these more casual fabric belts,  

best practice is usually to match the color of  your leather belt to that of your leather shoes.   For a guide on how to do this effectively as well  as when considering your metal accessories, you   can find our video on that subject here. And, as  is often the case with most garments in menswear, investing in a high-quality belt featuring hand  stitching is probably going to be your best   investment in the long term as a cheaper belt  will become frayed and tattered more quickly.   For such a level of quality and also for added  versatility, you could consider a modular belt   system of interchangeable belts and buckles  such as the one we now offer in the Fort   Belvedere shop. Finally here, as a general rule  to keep in mind, the larger the buckle of a belt,  

the less formal the belt will be overall. Next  up are socks. which like a belt, in addition to   their utilitarian purpose can also be a vehicle  for personal expression in a gentleman's outfit   especially in the business casual dress code. The  right pair of socks will serve to tie your outfit   together as well as providing needed visual  interest to the bottom half of an outfit.  

Because socks are often plain and have  something of a uniform appearance,   wearing socks with color or pattern can  easily... And there's the bus. Okay. [Black and white clip on "bus" plays] "Now it's goodbye to Mr. Thompson   and goodbye to George. Let's hope  we'll take a bus trip together again."

Because socks are often plain and have something  of a uniform appearance, wearing a pair of socks   that incorporates more color or pattern is an easy  way to alter the formality level of an outfit.   To keep things generally formal yet slightly  playful, you could consider a pair of two-toned   shadow-striped socks. Select colors that  will either complement or directly contrast   the other hues in your outfit for a unified but  stimulating look. And if you'd like some more   general guidance on how to incorporate different  colors into your outfits, you can find our   video on using the color wheel in menswear here.  Meanwhile, if you're feeling a bit more audacious,   you could perhaps try wearing socks featuring  clock patterns in different colors. Socks with   more unusual colors or patterns like these  are an easy way to slightly dress down an   outfit that might otherwise be too formal as  the detailing will be somewhat unexpected.  

Setting aside pattern for a moment, even  wearing something like a simple sock in   a brighter pink color is a strategy employed  by well-dressed men going back decades to add   a dash of color and personality to an outfit.  And while there may be a time and place to wear   novelty socks with more outrageous patterns,  these are probably going to be too casual   for business casual outfits. We'd stick to them  in other applications. For more information   on whether or not we think a gentleman should  wear crazy socks, you can find our video here. Remember also when buying socks to consider  the durability of the construction,   the quality of the materials, and the  precision of the fit. And if you're in   the market for new socks, we'd suggest you  take a look at the Fort Belvedere shop.  Staying within the realm of footwear, our  next pick: shoelaces are another way for   a gentleman to easily change the look of his  footwear without having to buy too many more   new pairs of shoes. And since the business  casual dress code offers many opportunities  

to experiment with different colors, doing so  in your shoe laces is another smart choice. So,   when selecting different shoelaces to insert into  your shoes, try finding a color that is featured   somewhere else in your outfit but that also  contrasts a bit with the color of the shoe. This   way the laces will harmonize with the other outfit  element overall, but provide a bit of pop against   the contrasting color of the shoe itself. Of  course, for a more formal look, you would want to  

minimize the contrast between the color of the  shoe and its laces. And for a more casual look, maximize this contrast. And although we've spoken  today about both socks and shoe laces, we won't   specifically be covering business casual shoes  as we've got an entire video on that subject,   which you can find here. As we often mention at  the Gentleman's Gazette, a pocket square is a   great way to add more color and visual interest to  any outfit and this holds true for business casual   as well. This is why pocket squares are our next  pick. Generally speaking, the more formal you'd   like for your ensemble to be, the more plain your  pocket square should be. The most formal pocket   square, of course, would be a plain white linen  design. Moving up from there, you could work with  

contrast edges or edge stitching, and then, start  incorporating both colors and designs. You could   go with a micro-pattern design or small paisleys  for something more formal, a larger paisley or   geometric design for something more casual, or to  really turn heads go with something like our art   deco Egyptian scarab design or our rabbit motifs  - both available in the Fort Belvedere shop.   Of course, how you fold your pocket square will  also impact the look and formality of your overall   outfit. So, for eight different ways to  fold a pocket square, our video here has you  

covered. And if you'd like to learn more about  pocket square construction and what determines   quality in a pocket square, we've also got you  covered there, too. Next, while the business   casual dress code often means that neckwear isn't  required, it's almost always within your right to   wear neckwear as part of business casual if  you so choose. As you may have guessed then,   the hallmarks of business casual neckwear are  exciting colors and interesting textures. And,   as is usually the case, darker colors for  neckwear are going to be more formal overall,  whereas lighter colors are  going to be more casual. And contrasting colors or unexpected combinations  in something like stripes or mottled designs are   a great way to add even more visual interest. The  caveat here would be to avoid overly shiny or neon  

colored ties as these will most often look cheap  and are typically made from cheaper materials like   polyester, and instead, to go with brighter or  pastel tones but still have a lustrous finish.   And, as with pocket squares, patterns like  repeating geometric motifs or paisleys can   work particularly well for business casual  when incorporating interesting color choices.   Heavier or denser patterns especially in darker  colors are going to be more formal. Whereas,   patterns like florals in light colors are  going to be more casual. Keep in mind though   that florals are generally going to be more  fashion-forward and can clutter a look somewhat.   So, for smart ideas on how to incorporate florals  into classic menswear, check out our video   here. Long time viewers of the Gentleman's Gazette  should also be aware that we're large fans of  

textured ties, and knit ties are a great example  of this. They'll work especially well within   business casual. Again, solid or two-toned ties  in darker colors are going to be more formal.   Whereas, lighter colored designs will be more  casual. And, while retaining texture but also   keeping a bit more formality, you could also opt  for a grenadine tie. These are also available in   solid or striped patterns. And to learn more,  our video on grenadine ties is here. Of course,  

all of these guidelines can also be applied  to bow ties, which are another good way to   add a slightly whimsical element to a business  casual ensemble as non-evening wear bow ties   are typically going to be a bit less formal  overall. Again, just avoid colors that are   overly loud and go for patterns and colors that  are more subdued yet elegant. Next up are watches.   If you do choose to wear a wristwatch with  your business casual outfit, you'll find that   you have a great deal of leeway here as well. Many different styles of watch should work well   within the business casual dress code with the  exception being watches that are overly large,   have chunky metal bands, or excessive or bejeweled  detailing as this heaviness and intricacy will be   somewhat at odds with the lighter overall feeling  of business casual. Echoing our advice for belts, you could go with a simple leather band here, or  if you'd prefer to wear a metal watch band, going   with something lighter and finer would be a better  bet. In the same general realm of men's jewelry,  

wearing a pair of cufflinks with a business  casual outfit can also be a smart choice. Overall, cufflinks do tend to create a slightly  more formal air. But, this can be toned   down somewhat by selecting a bit more of a  unique cufflink design. As an example here,  

we can look at the two types of cufflinks we  currently carry in the Fort Belvedere shop.   Our monkey's fist knot designs in silver, yellow  gold, and rose gold, given that they are all   one color with just a subtle amount of texture, make them more formal overall. This is why we've   also introduced shirt studs with the same  design to wear with black tie and even white   tie ensembles. Our eagle claw cufflinks, on  the other hand, are somewhat more organic and   certainly more dynamic; featuring the eagle claw  gripping the differently colored natural stones.  

The bright pops of color that the  stones provide add a bit more of an   informal quality to the cufflink so it might  be more at home with a business casual outfit. Though our monkey's fist knot designs could  certainly be worn as well. And, of course,   should it be of interest to you, vintage shops  and online retailers will often have a wide   selection of vintage cufflinks to choose from. So,  you can find beautiful designs and patterns from a   bygone age. Finally today, while they may be a bit  bold for most office settings, the elegance of a   boutonniere should be right at home in business  casual social settings. In general, the smaller   the bloom and the more subdued the colors of  the petals, the more formal a boutonniere choice   is going to be. In conclusion then, the best  accessories to choose for a business casual outfit  

are ones that will allow you to adjust  the relative formality of the outfit,   depending on just how formal or casual your  interpretation of business casual needs to be.   Remember to keep color combinations, scale and  size of patterns, and the overall formality in   mind and you should be good to go. In today's  video, I'm wearing a business casual outfit that   actually features several different color tones  that are still all working harmoniously together.   My herringbone pattern tweed sport coat generally  features colors of gray and black, but also   features subtle tones of brown, and even green  in its weave. My French cuffed shirt features  a micro-grid pattern of pink  and blue on a white ground, and it's further accented by my silk knit tie from  Fort Belvedere featuring stripes in dark and light   blue. Also from Fort Belvedere are my pocket  square, which is in a silk wool blend featuring   green rabbits on a medium blue background and  my boutonniere, which is a prototype design.  

My cufflinks are one of our eagle claw offerings  in platinum plated sterling silver featuring blue   lapis lazuli as the stone, and my shadow striped  socks are in tones of navy blue and royal blue.   My trousers are in plain brown, but they  do have a warm reddish undertone. And this   works well with both my shoes and my belt, which  are in burgundy leather. The shoes are cap-toed  Oxfords, and my belt is from our modular Fort  Belvedere belt system in Bordeaux burgundy calf,   featuring the jasper belt buckle with a rounded  design in a silver color. With the exception of the prototype boutonniere, you can find all of  the Fort Belvedere accessories I'm wearing today,   including the socks, belt  and buckle, pocket square,   tie, and cufflinks in the  Fort Belvedere shop here. [Bloopers of today's video] Welcome back to the Gentleman's  Gazette. In today...

Not too often I mess up the intro. It's not  like I haven't done that eight thousand times. [Preston laughs at failing the intro take] [Gentleman's Gazette theme song plays]

2021-03-24 18:11

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