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Style Basics

Can you wear jeans as business casual?

By on September 14th, 2016

It’s no secret that Casual Friday has taken over more days of the week. What began years ago as a way to transition into the weekend, has pretty much defined the dress code in many Denver and Boulder offices. And so the question of whether or not you can wear jeans as business casual is a very relevant one.

Years ago, I worked a 9 – 5 job in an “Office Space” office. Managers didn’t wear sportcoats, ever. Only executives wore suits. And the rest of us sported jeans or dockers with a polo shirt. I was one of the outliers because I would wear slacks and a button-up dress shirt each day. But even then, I would reach for the jeans on Friday to save myself some laundry.

So if even the best intentioned of us end up succumbing to the siren of Casual Friday, I think it’s worth discussing how your jeans should look for them to be considered appropriate in the office.

Thoughts on the style

Keep them dark in hue. A dark pair of jeans will always be more dressed up than their lighter counterparts. And make sure that they are free of any fades, rips, fraying, or spills. Dark jeans will also be very versatile. You can wear just about anything from a casual chambray shirt to a sharp black one.

Fit is still really important

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “well, of course my jeans fit.”

And I’m sure that’s true, but to wear jeans as business casual you’re going to want to go a step farther. First of all, there should be little to no break at the ankle. A relaxed fit jean is just that, relaxed, and better worn on the weekends or outside of the office. Secondly, take an honest look at the way your jeans fit and check for excess bagginess around the thighs and/or seat. There’s nothing wrong with having your jeans tailored for a closer fit.

Wrap up

It’s OK to wear your jeans as business casual, but that doesn’t mean you can reach for just any old pair of jeans. Keep them dark blue and free of any fades or tears. Strive to eliminate the break and have them tailored if need be.

I think you’ll be amazed at how little adjustments in fit can help you to stand apart from the crowd in the office.

By the way, you’ll probably find these two articles valuable:

Raw versus selvedge denim

The short sleeve button up dress shirt and how to wear one in the office.