How Men Can Look Professional Without Looking Boring

Dressing for work doesn’t have to be boring. There’s a ton of room for personalization. You can wear a sport coat in oxblood, a bold bow tie, or even mix business formal pieces with everyday items. Adding personality to your workwear doesn’t mean dressing in inappropriate clothing such as flip-flops, skinny jeans, and athletic wear. You can make a big impact but still look professional. Here are a few tips on how to liven up your workwear.

For a casual workplace

stylish man wearing a sweater and chinos

Man wearing casual dress clothes | iStock.com

If you work in a more relaxed environment — where jeans are allowed — choose a pair of jeans that fit you well in a dark wash to look more professional. A great outfit option is signature cuff jeans worn with a nice, casual sweater, paired with dressy boots in a chukka style. You should keep your accessories to a minimum, so just wear a watch or a cuff you like.

For a creative workplace

People work at the "coworking" space Cove | BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Some work environments invite a little more personal style| BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Here you have the most flexibility with your outfits, but that doesn’t mean going over the top with crazy clothes. A cool look to try is a simple tee accompanied by short tailored trousers and sneakers. You can add a statement piece like a scarf or hat. Before trying this ensemble, take a peek at how your superiors and co-workers dress. You don’t want to be sent to HR or worse, home to change.

For a formal workplace

a man wearing a suit and sunglasses

A stylish man wearing a suit | Thinkstock

Stylish sartorial choices are a must at conservative work environments. You can stick with classic tailored pieces — but with a twist. Preppy style doesn’t have to be boring. Like a modern dandy, you can try: double breasted suits, oversized bow ties, blazers in a bold colors or patterns, and slim-fitting dark-colored suits in colors like navy, burgundy, or even a brocade suit.

A few workwear don’ts

Something that almost fits does not fit, so get it tailored | iStock.com

Something that almost fits does not fit, so get it tailored | iStock.com

  • Don’t lose yourself in trends: What’s hot today could be left out on the stoop tomorrow. Focus on wearing pieces that are more your style. If you’re drawn to a trend, get one piece and then go from there. You might change your mind by next season.
  • Don’t assume that off-the-rack clothes are ready to wear. You need to get your clothes tailored for them to fit you properly. Have a good tailor on speed dial. Communicate to him your personal style and how you like things done.
  • Don’t be too matchy-matchy. That can get old fast. Mix patterns, try colors you have never worn before, or wear an accessory you haven’t thought of. Have fun with your workwear.
  • Don’t select quantity over quality. Invest in pieces that outlast the seasons. Buy yourself a really nice topcoat that can be layered from fall to winter.

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