Here's the dilemma: You spent major bucks buying "interview" garb. You've landed a job and the boss tells you the order of dress is "casual". Take your cues from your boss and 86 the shirt and tie but you don't give up on personal style. It's a matter of balance and sartorial intelligence - chinos with frayed hems are not for work; on the other hand, a starchy blazer and Weejuns could get you pigeon-holed as a geek. Brand yourself as smart, confident and fabulous to work with by wearing the clothes that send those messages - loud and clear.
Tip #1: Pull together pieces that are unexpected - a zip-up, merino sweater is a stylish alternative to the blazer; a thick woolly scarf can take the place of a turtleneck and looks knockout with a classic corduroy blazer or Fair Isle sweater.
Tip #2: Establish your wardrobe with timeless, well-made pieces and then use accessories to demonstrate your style prowess. Every guy needs a terrific leather belt, a sneaker that has the guts of a shoe, a pair of vintage inspired chinos and a navy or black high-v-neck sweater.
Tip #3: Don't treat yourself or your clothes too seriously. Scuff up your boots; keep your loafers polished. Don't fret about a tiny stain on your cuff but ask your dry cleaner to sew on a missing shirt button.
Tip #4: Learn how to do it or get someone else to press your pants! It's amazing what a pressed pant can do for the self-esteem.
Tip #5: Roll up a shirt sleeve twice so that it's nice and tight around your forearm. Forget about rolling up your sweater sleeves. Your mother did it because she knew you would grow. If the sleeves are that long, the sweater is the wrong size.
Tip #6: Think twice before purchasing one of the season's "must-haves". This year, it's a tattersall jacket, next year it might be a shrunken argyle vest. If you want to buy a "hit", make sure it works with the clothes you have.
Tip #7: Be aware of the proportion or balance to your look. If you're tall and slim, the new skinny tie is terrific. If you're average height and round, you're better off sticking to regulation-width.
Tip #8: Dressing for the business occasion is important to your self-confidence so give it more than a minute's thought. "Business casual" has to connote power yet seem off-hand about it. Right pant, right shirt, right shoe. Never wear shorts unless you're going to a luau.
Tip #9: Don't have a clue about pulling together a great look? Leave your money/credit cards at home and take a trip to an uber-stylish store. Study the mannequins, the sales help and the other shoppers. Only go back and purchase something when you're sure you know what to buy.
Tip #10: A funky hat, a whimsical scarf, a military overcoat from a thrift shop is sometimes all you need to shake yourself out of feeling blue. Get yourself into something that looks like a million bucks and hang out with people that make you shine. They don't call it "retail therapy" for nothing.