business formal and business professional guide

The Ultimate Guide To Business Professional Attire

What is business professional dress code for men 

Business professional is the epitome of classic menswear style. It used to just be called “business” dress code - but as times have changed, and people generally have started to dress more casually, it’s no surprise that trends have also changed. Italian Designer Luxury Brands are often the best way to do this.

Business professional is the classic menswear outfit, including a full neutral-colored suit, a neck tie, dress shoes, and a dress shirt, as well as other accessories. 

Here is an example of a business professional outfit:

business formal professional wear for lawyers bankers

Here is a quick summary of this article, and a quick summary of what business professional means:

Business professional summarized

  • Business-professional attire is formal, polished, and conservative.
  • A stylish suit brand is the central piece of business-professional attire, with a shirt, tie, and good shoes filling in the details. 
  • Business-professional dress shirts are usually white or light blue and have either barrel cuffs or French cuffs.
  • Vests are optional but lend an exquisite look to your ensemble. If you choose to wear one, make sure the rest of your suit is low-key. 
  • Ties should be solid colors and made of silk fabric. 
  • Shoes should be dress shoes that match your suit color (black or brown). Derby shoes are less formal than Oxfords due to their construction; loafers are the least formal footwear for business professional settings.

When to wear business professional

Only certain professions require business professional. A lawyer, a banker, and some other similar jobs will require you to always be dressed to the nines. This means everything, for example if you appear in court without a tie, you have already committed a faux pas. 

Another great time to consider wearing business professional is during a job interview. If you want to make a splash, and leave a lasting impression, you can wear a full business professional suit to a job interview. 

The other times it’s often necessary to wear a business professional outfit are weddings (although you can stretch to business casual attire if the event is not overly formal) and also funerals (depending on the family/wishes of the deceased) Find out more on our Elements of Business Professional & Formal. Check out our full guide to wedding outfits.

The main elements of a business professional outfit are:

  • An Italian cut suit (matching jacket and pants)
  • A neck tie
  • A White Work Dress Shirt (can be other colors, if you do the outfit correctly)
  • Smart Dress Shoes 
  • A belt 
  • A pocket square (optional, not really needed)
  • A wallet (optional)

You can tell by this particular look that it should only be worn in certain situations, as you could also up being overly formal which is a faux pas. Check out our full guide to funeral attire here.

When you get a new job, you should ask what the dress code is. If the dress code is business formal, then make sure that you have at least the 4 main parts of a business professional outfit - a suit, a tie, a dress shirt, and dress shoes. Cocktail Attire Dress Code is very similar.

The Fundamental rules of Business Professional

We’ve talked about a lot of Faux pas and pitfalls in this article, but we want to make sure that all of our readers and clients are informed, so here’s a quick summary of the rules of business professional:

  • Pick a suit with neutral colors 
  • Don’t wear any crazy clashing colors 
  • If you do want vivid color, show the color in a pocket square or tie
  • Match colors and shades across your outfit - so browns and blues, blacks and blues, etc
  • You need to wear a tie and a shirt
  • You need to wear formal dress shoes
  • The shirt should be a button-down shirt, all the way down.
  • You should keep good hygiene and have a clean haircut and facial hair.
  • You can choose to add a watch if you want.

Business casual vs business professional dress code 

The truth is, while both of these styles are for work, they are not all for the same thing. That means that you have to be careful not to mix and match. Business casual rules are more bendable, but business formal or business professional do not bend. Business casual is a great thing to wear as a man to a beach wedding

Business casual takes the elements of business formal, and removes some of the outfit that may be considered by some employers to be too formal. The main elements of a business casual outfit are:

This is the bedrock of modern men’s fashion - and takes the staples of classic menswear, and flips them on their head - this creates a breath of fresh air. This kind of outfit is not only ridiculously comfortable, but is also becoming increasingly more popular in the business world. 

Another great example of a business casual outfit that has been increasing in popularity, especially since the Pandemic - is a tracksuit. A designer Italian sweatsuit can make a great alternative to a suit. 

Business casual tracksuit and sweatsuit look

As you can see from this example, it’s an incredibly comfortable outfit. Kiton Tracksuits are increasingly popular, and being made by one of the best tailoring houses in the world - you know that the quality is very high.

Which Menswear brands make the best Business Professional clothing?

There are a few brands that still make some of the the vital elements of business professional wear. We are going to talk about the following brands:

These are three companies that make Italian-cut suits, which are perfect for work. If you’re looking to pick up yourself a new business suit, or a shirt, or really anything you need to make a complete outfit, then you don’t really have to look much further than one of these brands.

Kiton Suits

Kiton suits are incredibly famous - and they have the classic Neapolitan cut, with the Mappina shoulder. This is a stamp of quality, so if you’re struggling to choose an Italian suit - then this is a great place to start. 

Kiton is one of the more expensive brands - but the quality is unbeatable. You will always look professional in a Kiton suit, provided you follow the rules we’ve talked about in this article.

Cesare Attolini Suits

Cesare Attolini suits are another exemplary example of Neapolitan tailoring - with some of the finest suits in the world, and some of the greatest tailors in the world working under them. With fabrics that exude style and class - and the classic Mappina shoulder - you can buy with confidence at 2Men.

Cesare Attolini is another very high-ticket luxury sartorial company, and again the quality is incredible.

Boss Suits

Boss Suits (Formally known as Hugo Boss) are another great example of suits which are perfect for business professional or business casual looks. They are made with high-quality virgin wool, whicih allows you to have one suit which you can wear all year round, as virgin wool is an amazing Four Season suit fabric.

A common question is are Hugo Boss Suits good? We took a look at this in more detail. 

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About the Author

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This article was originally written by Piergiuseppe Castiello in Italian - it was then translated by an expert translator to bring it into the English speaking world. Piergiuseppe is the owner of Porcamo SRL - and is also the founder of IsuiT.