Silence your thoughts and let the words ‘office style’ sink in. Conjuring up images of a sad suit, a wishy-washy white shirt-and-blue tie combo and boring leather brogues? Most of us fall short in the office style department, caught working in a dresscode-drab office environment, which restricts how we can style ourselves for work. Then there’s trying to tackle work jackets for men, to blazer or not?
But times are changing (sartorially and seasonally). And, with winter on its way in (or out, depending what hemisphere you live) it’s never too early (or too late) to rearrange the simple things – namely, your jacket – to heat up your office style.
Just by flicking-off the blazer for a safari jacket, or teaming a bomber jacket with a waistcoat, you’ll soon look and feel like a purveyor of workplace style. The jacket is the easiest option to add some cool to corporate look too (you can take it off indoors so noone will ever know). That said, we’re giving you 4 men’s jackets that are casual in essence, but certainly office-ready.
As long as you keep the rest of the outfit – shirt, tie, and shoes – anchored in classic tailored style, you’ll still have a job come 5 o’clock. And maybe a few workplace fans too.
#1 The Field/Safari
You’d be right if you thought the safari jacket – inspired by gamekeepers’ uniforms – was what we were about to promote. You too, if you were claiming it’s a the field jacket pictured. Both are right definitions of the jacket above, and both can go so very wrong when worn – not on the savannah plains, but in the corporate jungle.
The perfect office slayer, the field/safari jacket is recognised for its 2, 3 or 4 front pocket design (depending on the label), its belted construction (when worn like a trench) or more blazer-esque when fitted snug on the shoulder and cutting torso sharp. Quilted varieties add a sense of heritage to the old-school casual coat, and olive is a nod to the field jackets military origins. Plus, dark green goes with everything, as does navy black and charcoal.
For work, keep the details refined – minimal hardware and appendages – and make sure the length goes to where the hemline of the suit jacket would cut across the butt, if you were to sport one.
#2 The Mac/Rain Coat
The mac (heralding from the famous Mackintosh brand) has been de rigeur at the office for years now. But, it’s been poorly executed. The key to mac style is sticking to neutrals – grey, maroon, olive, navy, beige etc – and only wearing a single-breast design for a Scandinavian kick. Play around with heritage patterns, too (Prince of Wales check, dogtooth etc) and look to the latest trend in men’s coats – rain wear.
By opting for a rubberised cotton variety (as opposed to the waxy cotton material known to traditional macs) you’ll be looking even more Nordic-cool in the office. Wear open (unless its pouring and the rain requires protection), with a pair of tastefully cropped trousers, slightly chunky derbies and a crisp blue shirt.
#3 The Denim
The Americana denim jacket is much flexible than it used to be. It’s the most casual of all the jackets mentioned here, but can be played down when used as a ‘meat’ piece under a topcoat and over a crisp white shirt and silk tie. To make the most of denim, go lighter and wash for casual Fridays and a raw, selvedge indigo for a jacket that’s sturdy and dark and could – from a distance – pass as a woollen harrington or classic bomber.
Finally, keep the fit sharp and pair with navy trousers and brown shoes – Chelsea boots or brogues, making the most of tonal blue, with a natural brown base.
#4 The Bomber
Like the field jacket, the bomber’s military genesis has long been recruited by men, but in a more off-duty sense. Today, the bomber comes in much more luxurious fabrics and neutral colourways, meaning the former aviator garb is fighting fit for the office.
Layered over a crisp and clean shirt-and-tie combination, stick to dark colours (dark grey, navy or black) and in a natural, mid-weight fabric (cotton, wool or suede), so it sits securely. Avoid satiny, nylon fabrics for work and never zip-up the bomber up (unless it’s winter and you’re using the bomber as a layer under a topcoat), ensuing shirt collar and tie knot are exposed.
Finally, avoid colourful embroidery and embellishments, seen with souvenir jackets – as memorable as they are – should be kept in the pool room until the weekend.