How to dress comfortably yet look stylish at work

How to dress comfortably at work

Men are famous for their interest in fashion, shopping and … wait, what? Let’s start over. Most men aren’t interested in fashion and shopping (or at least pretend that they’re not). Therefore, sadly, the fashion sense of most men can be summed up in the sentence „If it fits, I sits” – if I can get into it I’ll wear it. Don’t get me wrong though. I think, if fashion topics were more often accompanied by pie charts, top ten lists and bullet points it would be way easier for us to get on board. Otherwise it all seems a bit too abstract, doesn’t it? This is why I felt like writing an article which gives some easy to follow tips on the workplace dress code. And since comfort is what we praise most of all, lets focus on comfortable fabrics.

Illustrating the concept

If it fits I sits

The basics

Chances are you work in a place where wearing sparkling jewellery or body piercing is still considered pushing it too far. This means that you are probably expected to observe an official and formal dress code. So a suit, pants and a shirt. Maybe a pair of single colour jeans and a sweater for those casual Fridays. And just to be clear – when I say „a shirt” I do not mean a T-shirt with „Haters love me” written across the back. What I mean is a white, blue or classy, pastel coloured long sleeved shirt.

„Well, that can never be comfortable” you might think. Take a deep breath, keep calm and let me introduce you to your new best friends – cotton and silk.

The fabric for all seasons

Cotton is the king of men’s clothing and its popularity is no accident. The cotton fibre has a long history and it has endured through the ages because of its unique properties. The fabric is soft, very durable and takes to dyes.

Cotton is king

Here’s a short bullet list that shows some of the advantages that the wearers of cotton clothing enjoy:

  • Breathability – clothes made from cotton do not trap moisture which helps keep your body cool
  • Comfort – its elasticity helps the clothing follow the natural flow of your body movement
  • Hypoallergenic – very few people are allergic to cotton, so it’s highly unlikely for cotton to affect your skin in a negative way
  • Biodegradable - when cotton reaches the landfills, it will biodegrade
  • Absorbent – you don’t have to worry about your skin staying wet if you wear cotton, because it is highly absorbent

The clothes that best benefit from those qualities and will provide you with the greatest comfort are your suit and pants as well as your socks and underwear. Traditionally the suit must be dark coloured – dark shades of grey, blue or black. The pants should be matching the jacket unless you prefer a sports jacket or a sweater. In that case try to match the tones – grey sweater with black pants for example. Lastly, unless you feel knowledgeable enough, fashion-wise, stick to dark coloured combed cotton socks. You can get some high-quality and fairly priced socks from The Socks; for shirts I prefer TM Lewin.

The most luxurious textile on the planet

If cotton is the king than silk rightfully deserves its place as the queen. Its absorbency makes it comfortable to wear in warm weather and its low conductivity keeps warm air close to the skin during the cold. Furthermore, due to its protein structure silk is uniquely hypo-allergenic material. It provides real luxury that does not go away and instead continues to provide value with its smoothness and softness. Trust me, wearing silk shirts and ties is a pleasure in itself (check out our reasonably priced Mandrobe silk ties here). Whichever colour you choose, the soft glow of the silk will make you look more outgoing and self-confident. Not to mention easy to notice, if that is the look you are after. If you are willing to push it even further, and go for the “underworld crime syndicate boss” look, try wearing a black silk suit and wine red shirt combo. If you manage to pull it off (not many people can), you are bound to turn a few heads around in your office.

Black-red suit and shirt combo

Dress for success

It seems that as men we are wired to worry more for our knowledge in domains far away from how to keep an excellent exterior appearance. But it has not been a secret for a while that how we look matters a great deal for our success (see this CNN article for more info: How to dress for success). Whether we like it or not, in order to rise up the career ladder, we have to keep up with fashion trends.

I do realize that for some men (hopefully very few!) buying their first pair of trousers is a huge step on its own. To combine those pants with shirts, suits and socks on a daily basis – a nightmare. And to achieve some level of comfort with those combinations, for the sake of sanity, is a task better left to the professionals. But trust this – keep it simple, stick to the above tips and soon enough you will be looking back to those suit-free days and wondering “How did I ever find those jeans comfortable?”

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