7 Stylish Ways to Mix Casual & Professional Attire

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Have you ever passed someone on the street, or maybe had a friend or co-worker, who liked to mix it up stylistically by wearing any sport coat they might have in their closet, pairing it with jeans or chinos, and just calling it a day? This is not an uncommon option for many menbut there are actually multiple ways for you to add a unique spin to your outfits to make them more stylish and more functional.

Mixing Casual & Professional Attire In Stylish Outfits

1. Pay Attention To Fit

I remember a few years ago I was preparing for a trip to New York City. I spent what felt like hours scouring my closet, trying to find things to put in my suitcase that would give me the best versatility. I soon realized that I had selected some items that looked preppy and others that were quite professionalbut that these two types didnt quite mesh well together (especially in terms of fit).

Kyle's casual & professional outfit

Kyles casual & professional outfit

To fix this problem, I had to get out of my head, stop envisioning myself as some sort of menswear cover model, and think realistically. I took a moment to figure out what would make the most sense, so Id look stylish, be prepared for all of my meetings, and still have the flexibility to be able to explore the great city of New York without having to continue to run back to my hotel for an outfit change. Having the correct proportions in terms of fit will help show you in your best light.

2. Always Choose Quality Garments

Its also important to make sure youre choosing the best quality garments as much as possible, but what do we mean by quality? Quality isnt always defined by what the price tag says, its also about the durability and longevity of the garment. Quality pieces are often significant investments, but their longevity will be such that the overall cost-per-wear of the garment over its lifetime will be low.

Vitale Barberis Canonico

A description of fine worsted wools from Vitale Barberis Canonico

3. Look for Seasonless Pieces

I always like to look for seasonless pieces. These are versatile options that work well into your capsule wardrobemeaning that, speaking generally, they can be worn at any time of year, and also that almost any piece in said wardrobe will pair reasonably well with any other when assembling an outfit.


A capsule wardrobe made up of maximally versatile pieces makes assembling outfits much easier

4. Know Which Items Are Key

Its always helpful to know which items are key in your wardrobe for maximum versatility. Examples of staple pieces would include medium- or dark-wash denim, cotton chino pants in neutral colors, solid or gently patterned suits in navy or dark gray, a year-round navy blazer in wool, leather dress shoes in black or dark brown, and accessories like a watch, a ring, sunglasses, or even a pocket square.

A colorful selection of Fort Belvedere accessories

A colorful selection of Fort Belvedere accessories

5. Pay Attention to The Season

Its important to pay attention to the season in which youre preparing your outfit, as this will help you determine which colors and materials you should be utilizing. Now, using the list of key garments mentioned above, and also the color and pattern suggestions that are going to follow, youll be able to add more uniqueness and pizzazz to your outfits going forward.

When it comes to the season of spring, you want to look for colors that are light and have a pastel tone. In summer, try something brighter and much more vibrant. In autumn, earth tones always look fantastic, and in the winter season, think of something dark and more subdued.

White and lavender puppytooth dress shirt

A white and lavender puppytooth dress shirt worn under a cardigan would be perfectly appropriate for fall.

Other than seasonality, consider that some colors are more advantageous for certain men than others, depending on skin tone, hair color, eye color, and so on. Popular pattern options would include stripes, windowpane, buffalo check, paisley, and Glen plaid. Keep in mind, there are also numerous other patterns to consider, but patterns also have a different effect on different people depending on their build.

6. Matching Seasonality and Formality

A correct example would be wearing a year-round blazer, a sweater, some dark wash jeans, and perhaps a pair of boots. Here we see the formality and seasonality of everything harmonizing together wonderfully. It shows somebody who is aware of the season in which they are dressing.

Colors formality scale

A general scale of formality for colors in menswear

Theyre keeping the majority of their outfit fairly neutralperhaps it has one to two pops of colorand the best part is that its versatile. Remember, sticking with neutral tones for a majority of your outfit, and then having one to two accent colors, will help you to look distinguished and cohesive.

7. Pattern Matching

As we said previously, there are a great many patterns out there; stripes, dots, paisleywhat do we do? Perhaps youve heard to never mix certain patterns together, but now that you better understand color, lets go over some ways on how you can leave this simplistic advice behind. When there are too many things going on with your outfit, it will be visually confusing to your viewer. A safe example would be wearing a solid tie with a pinstriped shirt. Introducing a pattern to the tie as well as the shirt will make things more complex.

Striped green and white dress shirt with micropattern tie from Fort Belvedere

Striped green and white dress shirt with micropattern tie from Fort Belvedere; multiple patterns of different scales will work well together

On the conservative side, its always best to keep it simple and opt for maybe one to two patterns in an outfit. You can always wear multiple patterns, but the important thing is to make sure that the scale is different from pattern to pattern, so that they are not fighting for attention. Its great to see confidence in an outfit by not being afraid to try a paisley tie with a checked shirt, or pairing your wingtip shoes with your dark-wash denim, or perhaps a casual button-down shirt with a unique pattern under a suit jacket.

How Should You Personalize Your Outfits?

Although its good to know what rules to adhere to when creating your new professional and casual outfit, we want to make sure that you dont feel like its a uniform.Clothing is a form of expression, and its important to know when and where its appropriate to be expressive. For example, you wouldnt want to show up to a dinner date wearing a t-shirt and long tube socks; not only is it a decidedly unstylish look, but at this dinner date, it wouldnt be the best time to express yourself in that way. Save these bolder items for a different time.

Business Casual Outfit by Hogtownrake - Single Breasted Blazer with popover shirt, cotton pocket square, khakis and brown tassel loafers

Business Casual Outfit by the Hogtown Rake Single Breasted Blazer with popover shirt, cotton pocket square, khakis and brown tassel loafers

One thing Ive never tired of in all the years Ive worked in retail is being able to meet all these wonderful people from all over the world. I remember seeing many different kinds of people who had frequented my place of work who really enjoyed pushing the boundaries of fashionwhether through hair color, the amount of fragrance they wore, or their overall outfit choices. One person would always arrive at the store in a cloud of fragrance, and another would only allow themselves to wear one single color, literally from head to toe.


Its important to be prepared for anything when you step outside in your outfit, which means that versatility is a primary concern. However, its also great to see an outfit embellished with a unique ring, your favorite leather-strapped watch, or a great Fort Belvedere pocket square to add some personality. The goal here is to add a few key pieces to help show you in your outfit without going overboard. Dressing for multiple occasions is something that initially might require a bit more planning, but once youve found a rhythm in your wardrobe, itll feel like second nature.

How do you assemble an outfit thats both casual and professional? Share with us in the comments!

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