Snow has fallen at the GuyStyleGuide offices, and with it a rather nasty case of the flu has descended upon me. Thankfully, we have a guest post to save the day; take a read on how you can integrate jeans into your workplace getup without facing the wrath of the ‘style police’.

Regardless of personal feelings on the subject of denim in the workplace, walk into any office from LA to London and you are likely to see that jeans have been almost universally integrated into the vocabulary of business casual. However, this does not mean that it is now acceptable to walk into work in any old pair. So while rules vary from office to office, the following are some things to keep in mind for wearing jeans in the workplace.

The Jeans:

Jeans are the most ubiquitous trouser options out there, and as such have diversified into a staggering number of slightly different manifestations. For office purpose however try to keep your jeans as normal as possible. This means jeans with more than five pockets, extra stitching, embellishment, or artificial distressing are out.

Go with a straight or regular fit to avoid jeans that are too baggy or too tight. If you are lanky you might be able to pull off a slim fit. But stay away from skinny fit. I often hear that boot cut is appropriate for the office, but the extra room around the ankle tends to give a more casual impression. Finally note that the darker the color, the ‘dressier’ the jeans; so stick with indigo or black.

Cardigans tend to act like ersatz sport coats with the knit aspect anchors it sufficiently in casual wear. Also note the tan desert boot and Levi’s combo.

Cardigans tend to act like ersatz sport coats with the knit aspect anchors it sufficiently in casual wear. Also note the tan desert boot and Levi’s combo.

The Shoes:

Whether your office wear includes a suit and a tie, or jeans and a polo, wearing sneakers to the office is not acceptable. Though, while wearing suits and sneakers can make you look really important (like you don’t have time for sore feet) — you’re wearing jeans, your job’s not that stressful. Basically, anything brown and leather or suede will do. Some solid choices are desert boots, Chelsea boots, brogues, loafers, or even boat shoes. Try to stay away from heavy work type boots that would be too indicative of manual labor: you work in an office, remember?

Tweed jackets and denim

Tweed jackets are an effortless way to dress up denim. English heritage was just taking off this autumn and should be in full by fall 2012

Everything else:

A shirt with a collar is the basis for dressing up denim. Polo shirts are okay, but dress shirts are even better. Though try to stay away from chambray — while not denim, the manufacturing technique makes chambray similar in appearance to denim, and denim on denim is a definite sartorial no-no.
Complete the shirt with a textured tie — for example knit or wool ties work well. Cardigans tend to look a bit more dressed up than their crew-necked counterparts. The easiest way to dress up denim is by simply wearing a sport coat or blazer. Tweeds tend to set off denim nicely, though are typically relegated to fall and winter. There are lighter tweeds coming out, but for warmer months you might be better off with a waist coat.
Jeans in the workplace is dictated by dress code and so will vary between offices. If you are starting at a new job, stick with chinos or slacks until you can properly look over the dress code policy. Equally make sure to pay close attention to what your bosses (and their bosses) are and aren’t wearing. Just because jeans in the workplace is becoming common place doesn’t mean that you’re lucky enough to be working in such an office. So beware, since people will inevitably judge you on your appearance.

About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.

2 Responses

  1. Lorenz

    I think the important aspect is to use nice, dark jeans. Tweed jackets can indeed look really good with jeans, the pic posted is actually really nice…