For some, the idea of looking "comfortable" and "professional" may seem at odds. On one end, you have the sort of cozy clothing you'd never wear to the office: men's flannel pajamas, ribbed henley shirts and men's terry cloth robes. On the other side of the spectrum, you'll find crisp button up shirts, starchy trousers and tailored jackets.
But these distinctions don't have to be so black-and-white. There is a way to merge the comfortable and the professional in a style that syncs with today's more casual dress codes, and that way is to wear a button up shirt and a pair of men's jeans.
We've been trending towards wearing denim in professional settings for a long time now. Ever since the "casual Friday" trend emerged in the '90s, denim has had a place in all but the most formal and traditional of workplaces. Today, it has become just as frequent a sight in work settings as a pair of men's chinos.
It's easy to see why so many professionals were eager to incorporate denim into their workweek rotation: not only is denim rugged and hardwearing, but it's also comfortable and naturally molds to the body of its wearer. A good pair of jeans can become an article of clothing that knows your body better than any other, and can be a constant companion from weekends to work days and back again.
However, not every pair of jeans is fit for office wear. Among the types of denim that should be avoided when considering professional wear include distressed jeans, jeans in a lighter wash or bright color, and jeans with extra details like embroidery, zippers or paint dribbles, and jeans that are too tight-fitting. In short, you want to seek out a pair of jeans that is as neutral and classic as possible: a classic dark wash in a straight fit will work perfectly for professional wear.
Consideration should also go into whichever button up you choose to wear with your jeans. You'll have wider options when it comes to selecting a button up, but we like the idea of pairing an oxford cloth button up to denim. Because oxford cloth is a heavier fabric with less of a sheen, it matches the more casual appeal of denim while still remaining polished enough for professional wear.
Of course, you won't just be wearing a button up with a pair of jeans to work in perpetuity. When temperatures start to fall, you'll want to reach for a men's sweater. Either a crewneck or v-neck sweater is a great match for this look. The more casual, athletic-inspired aesthetic of the crewneck sweater pairs well with denim, and the more elevated v-neck sweater can help dress up the look. Ultimately, your ideal choice of sweater may be determined by how casual or formal your office is.
But layering isn't always done for the purpose of staying warm. You may also want to reach for a men's sport coat or blazer when an occasion like a presentation or annual review requires a bit more dressing up.
When thinking of which sport coat or blazer to pair with your jeans, you should consider the sheen and texture. Sport coats or blazers that are made from finer, tighter weaves will appear more formal, and may not pair as naturally with denim.
Instead, seek out sport coats and blazers that are made from a flatter or more texture-rich fabric, such as cotton, corduroy or flannel. The more casual hand and appearance of these jackets won't make them look out of place when worn above a pair of jeans.