Picture a Monday morning, right before you need to leave for the office—when you open up your closet and realize you’re drawing a blank. It’s not necessarily that you don’t know what to wear to work, more that you don’t have anything you actually want to wear. Well, we’re here to pull you out of your rut with a month’s worth of employment-friendly looks.
1. A Bright Blue Suit and a White T-shirt
Lazio blue suit ($499) by Suitsupply, suitsupply.com; T-shirt ($90) by Sunspel, sunspel.com; and leather Achilles sneakers ($400) by Common Projects, ssense.com.
Call it the dressed-down alternative to your standard suit-and-tie getup. A brighter blue sets the suit apart from the rank and file. Plus, the color plays perfectly against a crisp white tee and minimal sneakers.
2. An Unlined Khaki Sport Coat and Navy Chinos
2. An Unlined Khaki Sport Coat and Navy Chinos
Unlined blazer ($175) by Banana Republic, bananarepublic.com; chinos ($39.90) by Uniqlo, uniqlo.com; polo shirt ($89.50) by Lacoste, lacoste.com; and suede bluchers ($508) by Alden, needsupply.com.
Flip the script on the whole “navy blazer and chinos” thing by, well, actually flipping it—color-wise, at least. Start with a soft-shouldered khaki sport coat, toss on a blue polo underneath, and finish with a pair of slim, navy chinos.
3. A Chambray Shirt and Khakis
Chambray Oxford ($156) by Gitman Vintage, eastdane.com; chinos ($230) by Unis, shopneighbour.com; mechanic’s belt ($99) by Billykirk, hickorees.com; and loafers ($495) by Ralph Lauren, ralphlauren.com.
Chambray may have been designed for work that’s just a touch more physically strenuous than replying to emails, but it’s become a modern office staple. With dark khaki chinos and a pair of loafers, you can’t go wrong.
4. A Navy Suit and a White Shirt
Navy blue Ludlow suit ($650) by J.Crew, jcrew.com; 120S slim white shirt ($128) by Club Monaco, clubmonaco.com; knitted silk tie ($170) by Lanvin, mrporter.com; and 1880 Rothschild cap toe Oxfords ($385) by Loake, eastdane.com.
Sure, it’s simple. But that’s why it’s so effective. The white shirt sets off the dark suit, the tie adds a bit of texture, and the shoes keep things grounded (and free from unnecessary bells and whistles).
5. A Patterned Shirt and Dark Jeans
Summer weight shirt ($85) by Bononbos, bonobos.com; jeans ($185) by A.P.C., eastdane.com; and Jack Purcell canvas sneakers ($95) by Converse, zappos.com.
Something for casual Friday (or any day of the week, depending on what kind of office you have). Raw jeans and a pair of white canvas sneakers are easygoing and uncomplicated, while the subtle pattern on the shirt offers a little extra visual interest.
6. A Linen Sweater and Wool Trousers
White pinpoint cotton shirt ($95) by Proper Cloth, propercloth.com; trousers ($225) by Club Monaco, clubmonaco.com; silk-linen blend sweater ($115) by COS, cosstores.com; and sneakers ($545) by Lanvin, mrporter.com.
Knitwear isn’t just for the depths of winter. A silk-and-linen sweater won’t stifle you on the way to work, but provides a bit of relief from the (always overpowered) office AC. Pair it with clean wool trousers and equally clean sneakers.
7. A Patterned Sport Coat and Gray Chinos
Unstructured sport coat ($1,145) by Boglioli, mrporter.com; chinos ($98) by Bonobos, bonobos.com; Oxford shirt ($124) by Apolis, apolisglobal.com; and desert boots ($130) by Clarks, clarksusa.com.
We’re all for understatement, but sometimes you’ve got to throw a little pattern into the mix. Just make sure to ground it with basics like a blue Oxford and tailored gray chinos.
8. A White Oxford and Black Chinos
Black chinos ($235) by A.P.C., eastdane.com; Oxford shirt ($29.90) by Uniqlo, uniqlo.com; and canvas sneakers ($45) by Vans, vans.com.
It’s about as bare-bones an outfit as you can construct, clocking in with just three items total. But thanks to the high-contrast interplay between black and white, it’s as striking as it is simple.
9. A Navy Cardigan and Khakis
Chinos ($50) by Topman, topman.com; Merino wool cardigan ($375) by Paul Smith London; slim-fit floral shirt ($89.50) by Club Monaco, clubmonaco.com; and 1883 shoes ($175) by Wolverine, eastdane.com.
The pattern on the shirt brings a little levity, but the cardigan keeps things from getting overly casual. So it’ll look like you’re having fun, but not too much fun. Unless you work at a gulag or Google, that’s probably the right balance to strike.
10. A Light Gray Jacket and Black Jeans
Black jeans ($285) by 3×1, 3×1.us; linen knit blazer ($1,375) by Lardini, clubmonaco.com; Oxford shirt ($165) by Gitman Vintage, gitmanvintage.com; and black sneakers ($150) by TCG, thorocraft.com.
If the navy-blazer-and-khaki-chinos combo is what you’d wear to the yacht club to eat canapés, this is what you’d wear to a jazz club for a date. But first, to work, where it’ll also fit right in. Plus, how else will you pay for the date?
11. A Khaki Suit and a Chambray Shirt
Khaki suit ($465) by J.Crew, jcrew.com; chambray shirt ($150) by Our Legacy, eastedane.com; pocket square ($94) by Drake’s, drakes.com; and loafers ($385) by Allen Edmonds, allenedmonds.com.
The khaki suit is a wardrobe essential, especially when temperatures are high. Feel free to wear it on summer weekends, but be absolutely sure to employ it during the workweek as well. No need to get too fancy; a chambray shirt and a pocket square will liven things up just fine.
12. A Navy Blazer and Raw Denim
Raw denim jeans ($220) by Baldwin, baldwindenim.com; navy blue blazer ($398) by Bonobos, bonobos.com; denim shirt ($55) by Everlane, everlane.com; and longwing bluchers ($555) by Alden for J.Crew, jcrew.com.
For the indigo aficionados out there, a riff on all things blue. Start with raw jeans and a denim shirt, but keep things suitably refined with a navy jacket and brown hardbottoms.