Breaking the (Blue) Habit

Need to dress up for an important meeting?  Going to lunch with a big client?  Planning on working hard sending emails from your cubicle?  Before you reach for that standard office uniform, the blue button-down collared shirt, consider quietly standing out at work.  Recently Steven and I noticed 7 businessmen sitting together at dinner, and all were wearing similar blue button-down collared shirts!  Don't be like them - free yourself from bland corporate clothing and add professional, polished looks to your personal style resume.

Most guys instinctively reach for the plain blue button down because it's so prevalent in workplaces and easy to match.  Prevalence and simplicity don't make up for the fact that these shirts are boring and predictable.  If you imagined a corporate drone right now (the kind sans gears and rotors), you'll likely picture someone wearing a grey suit and blue button-down.  Assuming (hopefully) our readers aren't corporate drones, we want to help guys get ahead of the rat race and dress in ways that reflect their personal styles.  Therefore, let's explore some suggestions that add variety to the tired corporate uniform while still remaining professional.

Solid shirts go well with nearly any color pants, making them easy to wear at the office.  You definitely don't have to go with (nor do we recommend) a Dwight Schrute mustard yellow shirt, but you can add some color by wearing either pastels or light colors.  These are subdued but still get away from boring old blue shirts.  Question: Has a little color ever hurt anyone? Answer: No - not ever.  Also, beets are the most nutritious of all rooted vegetables.

This lavender shirt is simple yet perfect to swap out your tired blue shirt with (Courtesy of Hugh & Crye)

This lavender shirt is simple yet perfect to swap out your tired blue shirt with

(Courtesy of Hugh & Crye)

Windowpane patterns are simple yet classic.  It's the sartorial equivalent of Microsoft Office.  White shirts with color windowpane patterns are easy style upgrades, and the shirts pair great with solid ties, too.

Red Windowpane Spread Collar Slim Shirt (Courtesy of Ledbury)

Red Windowpane Spread Collar Slim Shirt

(Courtesy of Ledbury)

Micro tattersall (small checks) helps create the illusion of a solid print from a distance.  Move in close however, and a pattern containing two or more colors is revealed, like magic!  This is a great shirt to pair with a tie because the pattern has multiple colors to draw from.  You can choose a tie that complements one color and "POOF" -  you've got yourself a professional outfit. With so much versatility it's like your shirt is working overtime; without you having to fork over any of your extra cash.

Two colors for the price of one shirt (Courtesy of J.Crew)

Two colors for the price of one shirt

(Courtesy of J.Crew)

Striped shirts are another workplace classic.  Keep the stripes subdued though or else they might appear unprofessional - no one wants to be the office mime.  Large prints like plaid and thick gingham tend to be younger looks and are more casual patterns.  You can certainly wear them at work; just make sure that isn't too outlandish compared to your office's general attire.

For those with a pension toward the subtle this grey striped shirt is ideal (Courtesy of ASOS)

For those with a pension toward the subtle this grey striped shirt is ideal

(Courtesy of ASOS)

There you have it!  Quick suggestions for adding some variety to the solid blue shirt and dress slacks combination so prevalent in work places.  Choose a pattern or two that best fits your personal style, and watch as you transform from a corporate sheep into a leading business sheepdog!

 

Have a favorite shirt pattern you wear to work?  How about a lucky shirt you have to wear for your big sales presentations?  Share your story in the Comments section below or tweet us @TheSharpSuit.