You are currently viewing Returning to Work: Part 1 – Formal Business Wear.

Returning to Work: Part 1 – Formal Business Wear.

​​As we begin to return to our offices and dust off our pre-COVID wardrobes, it is as good a time as any to reflect on its contents. 

Most men have always found clothing choices difficult. And right now, things just got more complicated. 

After 18 months of working from home we’re rapidly approaching the era of hybrid working. Most of us will be in our offices less than we were before, so making the most of your time in the office by dressing with intent has never been more important.  

This September, at McCann Bespoke, with the help of our Sales Director, Alex Katseph, we will comprehensively guide you through every working dress code. With input from his 10 years of tailoring experience, you’ll be better equipped to make an impact on your return to the office. 

This week, we will guide you through the familiar old friend, formal business wear.

Formal Business Wear

While many workplaces are becoming more casual, there is still a need for a business suit in most working wardrobes. We recently completed a survey of our clients. From the survey, 43% of respondents characterised their dress code as ‘Semi Formal’, meaning that they need to wear suits at least some of the time. 

While formal business wear is the easiest to get right, there are options you can choose and steps you can take to stand out further. Equally, there are pitfalls that must be avoided at all costs. 

The Suit

For the suit portion of your wardrobe, you cannot go wrong with a blue suit, white shirt and blue tie. However, with a plethora of choices available to you in colours, patterns, and fabrics, it’s important that you have some variation so that you’re equipped for different occasions and times of the year. 

McCann Bespoke Sales Director Alex Katseph said “The most important thing to get right with a business suit is the fit. It doesn’t matter what fabric you have on, if it doesn’t fit you properly it won’t look good”. 

“We obviously still have our bespoke range of clothing available, which is our gold standard product that is handmade just for you. If you want to spend a little less, we have our made to measure range, which is still made to your measurements, however it is machine, rather than hand made”.

“With made to measure suits starting at £600, they’re only slightly more expensive than many would pay for off the peg suits, except these are made specifically for you, it’s a no brainer!”

The Shirt

Any business suit must be accompanied by a smart and appropriate shirt. Alex continued “First of all, the most important thing is that the shirt fits correctly. No matter what suit you have on, if your shirt is too big or small, it will ruin the overall look”. 

There are several other rules of thumb I advise my clients with. The first is to ensure you have the right size and shape of collar in relation to your lapel. On top of this, I always advise against having similar textures in both the suit and shirt. Finally, if the shirt material has a natural gloss, I would recommend you wear a matt suit, and vice versa”. 

The Shoes

“Shoes for formal business attire are relatively easy to get right. I always advise my clients that nine times out of ten you should be wearing black, and not brown shoes unless you’re at a slightly less formal setting. Beyond that, generally speaking, buckles and laces are acceptable with formal business wear, but tassels are not. If you adhere to these general rules, and obviously ensure that your shoes are well polished, you can’t go far wrong.”

The Pit-Falls

Despite formal business-wear being one of the easiest to crack. It is not without its pitfalls that people fall into time and time again. Alex said, “Most of the Pitfalls revolve around the fit. It’s crucial your sleeves are the right length to show just a small amount of your shirt cuff under your jacket. Similarly, if your trousers are too short, it’s very easy to spot. Beyond that, for business, I’d always advise against skinny ties and a suit that’s too skinny a fit. Finally, be careful with grey suits. Some work nicely but certain shades may wash out the complexion of the wearer. Your tailor will be able to advise on which shades of grey will and will not work for you”.