Let’s get down to business. Picking a business suit is not easy, as many factors need to be considered. We know people are still getting used to dressing up to go anywhere, let alone the office. So, we’re here to help point you in the right direction when it comes to business suits for men.
Whether you work in a corporate office or retail shop, most workplaces have some kind of dress code. The standard has typically been a suit. However, today, dress codes are shifting, and there’s more room than ever to personalize your wardrobe, and dress for peak performance and happiness.
According to a survey, 56% admitted that they make assumptions about people at the office based on how they dress. And 55% believe that someone wearing a suit is more productive in their job than someone wearing casual clothes. It’s been proven that people who dress professionally tend to act more professionally on the job, no matter the industry. Not only would you look sharp, but you’d also act sharp. This includes thinking more critically, leading confidently, and having better problem-solving skills.
They’re also happier. Another survey found that people who wear suits to work have higher job satisfaction than those who do not.
This could be because you command more respect, as we tend to adopt characteristics associated with the clothes we wear. Wearing a suit mentally helps you separate work from leisure, thus creating a healthy boundary and inspiring traits conducive to success at work.
But speaking of boundaries, it’s important to dress within the guidelines of your office dress code. And distinguishing them can be challenging.
That’s why we’re explaining the four types of business dress codes. Plus, rounding up the best business suits for men to ensure you dress for success.
The Dress Codes, Explained
There are four different types of business dress codes:
- Smart casual
- Business casual
- Business professional
To us, wearing the wrong suit is almost worse than not wearing one at all. So here are the differences between the four in order of most to least casual. Plus, what you should wear for each.
Smart casual is all about striking a balance. You want to make sure your dress is a step up from your weekend attire while still looking ‘chill.’ This is the dress code where you can probably let your personal style shine through the most.
This means pairing a dark pair of dark jeans or chinos with a shirt, blazer, and leather shoes. Many describe smart casual as “anything smarter than a tracksuit, but more formal than a suit.” Just make sure you’re comfortable and feel like yourself.
Not to be confused with smart casual, business casual is one step up.
Business casual dress actually has an interesting history. Levi’s/Dockers coined the term as a part of a marketing campaign in 1992. Before this, the idea of casual wear existed but was not defined. The company released a pamphlet called, “A Guide to Casual Businesswear,” with images of people dressed in khaki Dockers. Then, they sent it to 25,000 human resources managers across America to share with employees. Here are some quotes from it:
Casual does not mean sloppy. You can dress casually and look professional.
- Don't forget to check footwear; open-toe sandals and sneakers may not be appropriate. Bare legs can also be considered too casual.
- Avoid ripped jeans and "distressed" clothes.
- Keep wrinkled, stained or dirty clothing out of the workplace.
Those rules still stand today. Business casual does not require a full suit. Jackets are preferred but not required. The most common business casual outfit includes a navy blue blazer with light to medium gray slacks or khakis. Pair the ensemble with leather shoes to match.
The business casual dress code is often ambiguous, depending on where you work. So if you’re unsure, it’s better to overdress and wear a jacket and tie. Then, once you arrive at your office or event, you can assess the situation and take one or both off if needed.
Business professional is the traditional dress code for professional offices, specifically banking, accounting, finance, law, and government. It has a clear set of rules and is most strictly enforced. You may have noticed that they were missing from the above dress codes, but this business professional includes men’s business suits. Here’s the formula. Business professional dress comprises of:
- A two-piece suit
- A button-up shirt
- A tie
- Dress shoes
From there, you should accessorize with cufflinks, a belt, and a nice watch (more on this later).
It’s all about the details, including quality, fit, and finishings. Luckily, this is something Samuelsohn prides itself on.
Last is the formal dress code. Also known as White Tie, it’s the fanciest dress code there is. It’s similar to business professional but reserved for formal events like fancy weddings or a Hollywood red carpet. Formal dress includes:
- A two or three-piece tuxedo, including a tailcoat and/or vest/cumberbund
- A white button-up shirt
- A white or black bow tie
- Dress shoes
Following a formal dress code is rare nowadays because of how fancy it is. So don’t worry, you’ll likely never have to wear it to your office.
The best 10 business outfits that Samuelsohn offers
No matter the occasion, Samuelsohn has the best business suits for men. Here are some men’s business suit selections for each of the four dress codes.
Smart casual usually means pairing dark jeans or chinos with a shirt, blazer, and leather shoes.
Since this is the most casual dress code, opt for a blazer instead of a jacket. Blazers like Samuelsohn’s Blue Revenge Poplin Blazer - Classic Fit are more unstructured and, therefore, suitable for a smart casual event.
Round out your smart causal outfit with the Stone "Elite-Tech" 5-Pocket Pants and White Comfort Jersey Knit Shirt. The pants are so light and versatile that you can wear them from the golf course to the country club. The jersey knit shirt is part of our luxe casual Vue collection and is versatile enough for work or play.
As you’ll recall from above, the business casual dress code started with Dockers khakis. Well, our Tan Cotton Wool Silk Twill Trousers are like Dockers khakis but more elevated. These are the perfect pants for business or brunch.
The most common business casual outfit also includes a navy blue blazer. Our Navy Ice Wool Blazer - Classic Fit is water repellant, stain resistant, wrinkle recovering, and breathable, with natural stretch and isothermal properties to maintain optimal body temperature. (It’s cooling when temperatures are warmer and heating when temperatures drop.)
Business professional suits are typically dark-coloured and usually charcoal grey or navy blue.
Samuelsohn’s Charcoal Ice Wool Sharkskin Suit creates a “rich appearance”—the exact vibe you want to exude in the boardroom. The Navy Blue Pinstripe Zelander Dream Wool Suit is another very sharp and professional men’s business suit. The luxurious Italian material gives off a modern look with a classic fit.
In warmer weather, you can push the envelope of business professional by choosing light blue or grey men’s business suits.
For a light blue, go with our beautiful Blue Zelander Dream Wool Suit with a subtle plaid pattern. For light grey, go with our sophisticated Light Grey Earth Care Loop Wool Suit, made from Ermenegildo Zegna & Figli milled sustainable Loop fabric.
The last dress code is formal, the dressiest of all, meaning you must wear a tuxedo.
Go elegant with our Black Ice Wool Notch Tuxedo - Classic Fit. The tailoring and craftsmanship are immaculate. Designed for longevity and appropriate for any formal occasion, this tuxedo will never go out of style.
If you want to stay fancy but go slightly more unexpected, the Navy Ice Wool Peak Tuxedo is for you. It’s a trendy take on the classic tuxedo made for the modern man. It also has stain-resistant technology, so you don’t have to worry about spilling champagne.
Wear the White Cotton Euro Spread French Cuff Shirt underneath your black or navy tuxedo. It’s our most formal and refined shirt.
Tips for buying the best business suit
When buying the best business suits for men, you need to know more than the dress code. To make sure you look your best in your suit, you also need to consider the fit and the fabric.
The people who say they hate wearing suits probably have that sentiment because they are wearing ill-fitting ones. You need to make sure you’re wearing the suit, and the suit isn’t wearing you.
Ensure your professional business suits fit your body, as loose suits seem less professional. The rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t feel the suit on you. It should be a natural fit, with no tightness or looseness anywhere.
Samuelsohn offers custom business suits for men. You can customize every detail, from your fabric to your lining and lapels. Visit a store near you for a made-to-measure suiting experience that is a cut above the rest.
At Samuelsohn, we pride ourselves on our luxurious fabrics hand-selected by our designers directly from the most prestigious textile mills in the world. We carry a wide range of seasonally curated fabrics, including:
- Superfine wools
- Intriguing blends of cashmere
- Innovative performance weaves
When making your choice, think about texture and breathability. Which fabric are you drawn to? Which will you never get tired of re-wearing? With these notes in mind, you’ll choose a Samuelsohn men’s business suit that will stand the test of time.
Dress Like the Pro That You Are
So, now there’s no need to panic about deciphering business dress codes. Whether you’re asked to dress smart casual, business casual, business professional, or formal, you now know what to do.
If you’re ever confused, feel free to pop into one of our locations, and a staff member will assist you in making a decision. Unlike decisions in the business world, we promise picking a suit will be stress-free.
By wearing a Samuelsohn suit to your next business meeting, presentation, or event, you’ll be dressed for utmost success.