Fall is quite possibly the best season for business casual style. Here’s how to freshen up your workplace attire with some autumn vibes.
Business casual style is often treated as a strict (yet vague) dress code, but in reality, it’s not quite that defined.
There’s more room for creativity than you might think, and this is especially true for the colder seasons when you can introduce new garments that don’t work in warmer weather.
This is why fall is such a boon for guys who need to stick to a business casual style. You can break out sweaters, introduce different textures, and layer pieces to stylishly ward off the cold.
But what exactly counts as fall business casual, and how can you build an autumnal wardrobe that will fly at the office? Here are some style tips, garment recommendations, and outfit ideas to provide a little seasonal inspiration.
What Is Fall Business Casual Attire?
Fall business casual men’s style differs from standard business casual in a couple of important ways.
First, it includes seasonally appropriate clothes you typically won’t wear during other seasons. These items are often made from mid weight fabrics to provide a boost of warmth for the chillier weather.
Second, the fall business casual style relies on an autumnal color palette that mostly consists of warm and understated browns, greens, and reds/oranges. There’s some wiggle room, but fall business casual is mostly about earth tones and muted accent colors.
The general style is more or less the same, so most of the standard business casual style guidelines apply. Think slim or standard fits, tucked-in shirts, crisp lines, etc.
Essential Clothing Items for Fall Business Casual Attire
Unsurprisingly, the fall business casual style is similar to the general fall style for men. However, thinking about formality is crucial, as plenty of fall pieces are more casual than business.
This means you want to opt for structured garments with minimal designs and mostly neutral colors. (Of course, this is just a rule of thumb — the specific way you put together a fall business casual wardrobe will depend on your workplace dress code).
Here’s a list of the most essential fall business casual men’s clothing:
There are plenty of ways to wear sweaters in a business casual setting, but by far, the most popular approach is to wear one over a button down shirt. This relaxed, professional, and comfortable pairing has been a staple of business casual style for years.
Most sweater types are fair game here, although crewnecks and half/quarter zips are the most common types for this layered look. To avoid unwanted fabric rumpling, wear a classic or tailored fit shirt and a sweater that’s noticeably thicker than the shirt.
The flannel shirt is almost synonymous with fall, but unless your workplace has a really relaxed dress code, save flannels for casual Fridays.
A flannel is a comfortable alternative to an OCBD that will also provide a little extra warmth. Solid colors and subtle patterns are safe bets, but you might also be able to rock a classic plaid design.
Technically, the cardigan is a type of sweater, but this autumnal piece deserves its own category, if only because of how many options there are.
For the office, stick to thinner and less chunky cardigans that pair well with dress shirts and button-downs, but feel free to take this opportunity to introduce a bit of texture into your outfit.
While you might not keep your jacket on all day, you’ll want one you can throw on to relocate (say, for a coffee run).
You have a lot to choose from here: Harringtons/blousons, fleeces, bombers, and field jackets can all be business casual if the design and fit are on point.
You could probably pull off a fancy chore jacket if your workplace isn’t too strict.
The humble vest is a versatile layering piece that looks great whether worn simply over an OCBD or as part of a multilayered outfit.
Sticking with a sportier vest is broadly better for business casual style, but you can pull off a more rugged gilet depending on where you work.
You can wear many fall outfits with Oxfords or derby shoes, but the elegant ruggedness of a dress boot is a perfect match for autumnal style.
You’ll most likely want to stick with actual dress boots for more formal workplaces. If you can go more casual, consider dressier Chelseas and chukkas.
Business Casual Fall Outfits for Men
Are you wondering how to put all of this knowledge to use? Here are 9 fall business casual outfits for men to give you some style inspo:
Casual Earthy Layers
This outfit shows how much mileage you can get out of an outfit when you focus on color and texture.
At its core, this is just a button-down, crewneck sweater and jacket, but the color palette and textures add a ton of dimension for an interesting but not too bold outfit.
Timeless Fall Style
It’s hard to go wrong with what just might be the archetypal casual autumn outfit: a flannel, fleece jacket, jeans, and Chelseas.
If you need to go a little dressier, you can swap the flannel for an OCBD and the jeans for chinos without losing that timeless fall appeal.
Some business casual looks are so safe that they’re almost boring. One way to combat that is to introduce subtle elements in a minimal outfit.
Here, the loafers and rolled-up sleeves contrast with the neat quilted vest and tailored chinos. Carefully choosing the right pieces can mean the difference between bland and understated, so select your fabrics wisely.
For a cozy business casual outfit with depth, opt for a layered look that features different textures and thicknesses.
One great way to do this is to layer a button down, cardigan, and vest for a refined yet slightly sporty fit that will help keep you toasty on chillier days.
The scarf is one of the most quintessential fall accessories for men, and it’s also a highly practical tool that can carry you through colder fall weather.
This outfit features a scarf that’s layered between a button down and a casual blazer to add a pop of color and provide more depth.
This look manages to be office friendly without looking at all sterile — in fact, it has a retro feel while still being presentable.
Consisting of a polo, jacket, chinos, and loafers, this outfit gracefully combines casual and formal elements. You might not want to wear this to a boardroom meeting, but this is a great option for a typical workday.
Simple and Stylish
Sometimes, a minimal outfit will do the trick. This turtleneck and trousers pairing is good for temperate fall days when you don’t need to ward off any particularly icy breezes.
Although the blue trousers are loud compared to the black turtleneck, they’re still relatively neutral (although we’d go for a navy pair or at least a darker blue).
Conclusion: Try Something New This Fall
Fall business casual men’s style offers a unique chance to make your office outfits a little more fashion forward.
Once you understand the foundational concepts behind what makes fall business casual style work, you can mix and match to create your own takes on autumnal office fits.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!