Making the best choice regarding work attire has never been easy. You’re questioning yourself and contemplating whether it fits the values of your environment, you’re worried if it will be positively accepted or not, and will it be valued and appreciated or dismissed. After all, the way you dress and your behaviour can play a decisive role in your job. Nowadays, the choice has become even more complicated with the development of a new style. That style is business casual, which first showed up in the early 80s in the USA but has since spread everywhere.
Since then, there have been many variations of it, but it still substantially confuses people. And for a good reason, the name itself is somewhat an oxymoron. Simply put, how can attire be both for business and for casual events? The simplest way to explain it is to describe it as an attire that you can wear for meetings and dinners on the formal end, or, on the informal end, going for a drink at a bar or at a local barbeque. Despite this loose definition, it still has many unbreakable rules, especially when it comes to upper-wear. As such, this article will exclusively focus on this aspect and what your best options are.
Although they might come as a surprising option, mens rugby shirts have made a comeback as the ideal business casual shirt. The reasons for this are numerous, and I will do my best to describe their history, renewal, design and many styles. Let’s go into detail as to why to buy mens rugby shirts for your business casual attire.
There are several aspects of the rugby shirt that just stand out and make you known in your environment, while also making you look respectable. The first one is that it’s long-sleeved, which makes for a great formal look. However, unlike other shirts, it’s also tight and sticks to your body, so it isn’t puffy or loose. As such, it accentuates your body and your muscles, giving you a powerful look. However, it’s still breathable and comfortable as it’s made from a cotton/polyester blend. That said, they also wick away moisture, feel comfortable, and are more tear-resistant.
Furthermore, a distinguishing feature is the horizontal stripes that are placed on the entirety of a men rugby shirt. Therefore, it makes a great contrast between the colour palette of the shirt, making them look fashionable and fit in with many variations of pants and shorts. Finally, a crucial characteristic is a contrasting collar that stands out at the bottom of your neck, giving you an elegant look.
History and Styles
As previously explained, rugby shirts now have a specific and defined style, but they’ve changed a lot since their first appearance. The first rugby shirts were wool sweaters which then changed to long cotton flannel shirts. In short, the exact opposite of today’s blend-type shirts. With time, they’ve transitioned from fashionable to unfashionable and the other way around. However, in the nineties, with the streetwear revolution and grunge attire, they become one of the best shirts to show off a sense of style and a possible ironic twist.
This interpretation of them has changed once again with some of them still being streetwear staples but also becoming the perfect business casual option. If you wish to accomplish this, you should pair the shirt with some long plain-coloured jeans that show you mean business. Of course, you should always button up your shirt. And for a finishing touch, some nice loafers will do. All this combined will make you seem like a person ready to go at all times. Finally, if you want to do more, a jacket or a blazer is never the wrong choice.
But, and this is most certainly not business casual; if you’re looking for a natural athletic look, you can pair the shirt with some nice joggers or sneakers. Or, as an alternative, khaki pants to give you that rugged look. Consequentially, you’ll be able to pull off two looks with just one shirt.
Another classic option that is unbeatable is the good old traditional shirt. While it doesn’t have the same powerful and aesthetic look as the rugby one, it’s still great for almost all purposes. In the simplest terms, it’s a universal option that you can never go wrong with. There are several reasons for this and there many great ways to combine them. This particularly applies to button-down and polo shirts.
Much similar to rugby shirts, they have a collar that gives them a closed-off, yet professional look for any job. Further building on this, what sets them apart from formal, non-casual shirts is that you don’t have to wear a tie, which is another distinguishing feature between formal and business casual wear. If you have to wear a tie, it’s most definitely formal wear. After all, as everyone says, business casual is one step down from formal, and that’s a precise statement.
Another option to consider regarding design is whether you want to opt for long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirts. If you go for a long-sleeved one, you’ll lean more towards the formal side, whereas short-sleeved shirts are less formal. With that in mind, it depends on how you want to come off. Do you wish to look serious and down to business or more relaxed? Lastly, contrary to rugby shirts, these give off a more loose and relaxed look to your personality. After all, they are puffier, but as such, they allow for more breathability. If, however, you want to seem more powerful and prepared, you can pull the sleeves up.
Style-wise, these shirts don’t offer the dual combination that rugby shirts do. They can’t be used for an athletic or more streetwear look, but they’re perfect for anything else, and here are some ways to pair them. First, you want to get the right jeans or khakis for them. It’s best if the colour is as plain as possible so that it doesn’t stand out much. Next, you want to choose matching shoes for your style. You can go for more formal ones, like loafers or even some one-colour Nike sneakers if they’re accepted at your workplace.