Outfitted & Equipped: The Casual Office

by Brett & Kate McKay on October 2, 2012 · 29 Comments

in Outfitted & Equipped, Visual Guides

This post is brought to you by Levi’s®. Explore the collection at Levi.com What’s this?

Welcome back to Outfitted and Equipped, a gallery series designed to give you some inspiration for what to put on and get together for different outings.

Today we offer some ideas on what to put on and get together for work in a casual office. Just because the dress code for such a workplace is laid-back, doesn’t mean you need to wear t-shirts and baggy polos every day. Take it up a notch with something both comfortable and stylish.

1. Pocket Cardigan from Lands End Canvas (Lands End is having a 30% off sale right now, if you’re thinking about picking up this sweater.)

2. Weekender Shirt from Dockers® (only $30!)

3. 508™ Regular Taper Line 8 Jeans from Levi’s®

4. Military Memorandum Books (Every man needs a pocket notebook at work (and everywhere else!) for jotting down ideas, notes, and to-do lists. There are lots of notebook options out there, but I dig these nice-looking memorandum books that are supplied to our troops. Look just like the kind my grandpa used to carry around.)

5. Waxed Canvas Lunch Bag from Artifact Bag Co.

6. Kaweco Liliput Fountain Pen (A small fountain pen you can carry in your pocket.)

7. Saddleback Leather Slim Briefcase

8. Leather Belt from Levi’s®

9. Boot Knife Sock from Ozone Socks (These look like normal socks from what others can see, but it’s fun to know I have a “knife” strapped to my leg under my pants!)

10. Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots (These boots are pricey, but worth it. Made in the USA and extremely versatile. In the fall and winter I wear them with everything from jeans and a t-shirt to khakis, a sport coat, and tie.)

11. Aluminum Water Bottle from Liberty Bottleworks (For some guys, the essential here might be a coffee thermos, but I personally spend my workday guzzling water from an aluminum bottle. Liberty bottles are the only metal water bottles that are Made in the USA. I like to keep things classic, but there are a lot of interesting designs available too.)

Levi’s is offering an exclusive offer to AoM readers. Just use Promo Code GOFORTH2012 when shopping at us.levi.com for a 20% discount on one item. Offer ends 10/31/12.

Graphic design by Ted Slampyak 

How would you outfit and equip yourself for work in a casual office? Share with us in the comments.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nathan October 2, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I just bought myself a Fisher Space Pen. They write in extreme conditions and are very compact. You can also personalize them!

2 William Lusk Coppage October 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm

These are all some great looking gear. What about a post with some nonleather items?

3 David Sharland October 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Jeans are never a.ppropriate as casual wear in the office. The properly dressed casual man still has dressy slacks (a step up from Khakis), collared shirt with buttons, shoes that cover the feet completely. A sweater or blazer would be a nice touch. The weekender shirt you are hocking up above has that name for a reason.

4 Mark Alan October 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Love this feature. I am older, but the suggestions adapt!

5 Grant Schooley October 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Agree with David above, that this wear is a bit too “casual” for the office. Although as Antonio has shown, a pair of nice, dark denim jeans can be worn with a shirt and tie for an appropriate casual Friday look.
I do love these guides, I find them interesting and inspiring for new ideas. I particularly enjoyed the “Fall cider and doughnut date” guide.

6 Ryan October 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm

David sounds like he stepped out of the 1950s and Grant makes broad assumptions about offices. I don’t think either as actually set foot in a “casual office.” Every office is different. At my office, everyone, even the boss wears t-shirts and jeans and sneakers every single day (I’m an electronic engineer). The outfit above would actually seem too formal in my office, or would at least seem a little out of place. It could still work though if the guy didn’t mind being a little more dressed up than everyone else.

Anyway, I like these guides. they’re fun, so keep ‘em coming.

7 John Y. Jones October 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm

While the clothes in the graphic may seem casual to some of you, remember two things:

1. Different offices have different definitions of “casual.”

2. This article was brought to us by Levi’s.

8 Hari October 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Yeah I agree with Ryan

Also, books? Get over yourself! In my opinion part of being manly is to be up to date with technology. Sure, there’s nothing that can replace the hand written letter to your parents or grand parents, but please, do yourself a favor, ditch the book and get a smartphone! Everything a book is capable of, a smartphone is capable of, and more (Fine fine, smartphones can run out of batteries, books do not but still… )

9 John October 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm

What people DO and what is APPROPRIATE may be two different things. Just becasue jeans and t-shirts are prevalent in certain offices, doesn’t mean it something one should aspire to. A gentleman dresses appropriately, which sometimes means dressier than everyone around you.

If all your friends jumped off a bridge…..?

10 D.T. Pennington October 2, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I work in a very casual office (startup company located in Boulder). So jeans are a given.

Since I commute by bike every day to the office, my clothing has to be pretty versatile. Able to withstand the weather, the cold, keep me warm and ventilated all at the same time.

Every office is different. The best ones allow their employees to let their personalities enhance their work and office atmosphere.

11 Gerald October 2, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Depends on the office, at construction or transportation industry this sure might be appropriate.

I burned up my last jeans more then a decade ago.
A pair auf khaki chino trousers will sure do a better job in a more conservative business. – Jeans still are often a “no go” even on Casual outfits.
But adding a tie with the chinos and maybe some lower leather shoes this will be wearable also.

12 joshua October 3, 2012 at 8:49 am

Its unfortunate that this won’t work for someone really poor like me. I would love to have those boots and that bag but that’s almost half a months pay for just the bag

13 Mark Ruddick October 3, 2012 at 9:08 am

Love the sock, but concealed knives in Canada can land you in serious trouble. A nice leather pouch on the belt with a pocket knife, or in the change pocket on the jeans would work.

14 Austin October 3, 2012 at 11:45 am

In 6 years in the Army I never once saw one of those memoranda books. I was issued plenty of green-books (http://goo.gl/7Ag8x) and rite in the rain notebooks – hell, I still carry a couple different sizes of rite in the rains as my go-to notebook as a contractor now. I wouldn’t be caught dead with anything else.

15 Joey Aguirre October 4, 2012 at 9:46 am

Just saying, a sock is really an unpractical place to put a knife, haha, and not to mention under your pants! “Try to use knife while getting assaulted” -> “has to duck, up the pants’ sleeve, and quickly release the knife before his attackers, well, attack him” XD

Whatever, I like the outfit, I love the boots. And Joshua, always is a way to get things like that big-brand stuff without paying the same. Put attention to the cuttype of the jeans for example, you can get some jeans of that kind who aren’t expensive Levi’s at all :-D

16 yjwilson86@gmail.com October 4, 2012 at 10:15 am

I ran across your site and immediately though a my boyfriend and a few of my guy friends. I LIKE that your site caters to a man’s style that isn’t necessarily GQ or Runway. Its a manly fashion that men have a hard time finding on their own, whereas we women have so many sources to learn and reference from. ALSO, have you ever heard of the Dollar Shave Club? I know the name sounds a little silly, but its a legit company growing in popularity really fast. You two seem to have the same vibe and would pair well together in business. My advice? Get in on that.

17 Claude October 4, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Some of you are coming off as snobby about clothes. Jeans can be appropriate in many offices. I believe being neat – no wrinkles, shirt tucked in, sensible shoes- is much more important the the material your pants are made of.
Sorry, but if I spend $85 on jeans, im not saving them for yard work.

18 Gerald October 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Not a big problem.
You will get very similar Boots as cheaper noname products and even with nonslip rubber Soles. ;)
Just polish them to bull shine and they will look marvellous also.

For example

or some kind of timberland or Dr. martens.

Same goes for the pilot-Style bag.


19 JT October 4, 2012 at 11:10 pm

I think it goes with out saying or maybe does need to be said but that isn’t a real knife, it’s either embroidered on or printed but thats just a “picture” of a knife. @ Mark Ruddick you can’t have boot knife for everyday use but a pocket knife with blade under 3” is fine.

20 Ken October 4, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Those beautiful memorandum books. I was in the US Navy for 6 years and almost always had one with me; we often referred to them as “pocket brains.” Quite a few years ago, I tried to find some, but failed. It looks like they’ve made their way out into the public since I last checked. I just picked up myself a dozen of the shorter top-bound books.


21 Ty October 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Great suggestions! Does anyone have a link to the bicycle commuting style guide that was posted on AoM a few weeks ago? I am looking for a specific watch that was included, but now can’t find the guide!

22 Hislocal October 8, 2012 at 11:02 am

I work at the home office of a national health services company (like, I can see our CEO on C-SPAN w/ President Obama and then cross paths with him in the cafeteria the next morning), and even here we wear jeans on Thursdays and Fridays, and polos and shirts like the one pictured above are perfectly acceptable. I like to feel like Don Draper just as much as the next guy, but when you’re just at your own cubicle crunching numbers for 8 hours, no meetings and not seeing any clients, it just doesn’t make sense to dress to the 9′s. I see guys in jeans and polos that look dapper as hell.

23 Alex October 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Jeezus……the Comments are big part of the experience on most niche blogs, but come one guys! Those are some of the snobbiest, whiny comments I’ve ever read.

Given it is a sponsored post, it is still just a post with some fashion/gear ideas.

“Here is the look, attached are some products that will help you achieve this look.”

That’s it…….what it means is open to interpretation

Too casual for your office? Can’t spend $300 + on boots? Great, share the alternative idea with fellow readers. Don’t just criticize and offer no input. You could have read the article disliked it and not said a thing, you would have accomplished the same thing….

*rant over


24 Eck Muse October 13, 2012 at 12:49 am

i think the pieces place together in this article are brilliant and stated earlier every office is different so mix and match as you like. My office is quite professional but yet we have our casual days.

25 AC October 13, 2012 at 7:37 am

What’s wrong with a re-used plastic bottle?

26 boondocker October 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Every office is different. In one place i worked, casual Friday meant we didnt have to wear dark suits…..

In another, everyday was casual Friday.

It is always better to be overdressed than under dressed.

27 Joseph October 16, 2012 at 9:02 pm

A knife…

28 Jaron June 27, 2013 at 4:16 am

I’m a sucker for a fountain pen, and while I feel there’s something inherently authoritative and manly about my chunky Mont Blanc Meisterstück, my go-to daily pen is a Lamy Safari in charcoal gray ABS plastic with a reservoir converter (they’re sold as cartridge fountain pens, but the manufacturer made converter is only a few dollars) with a medium nib. It’s a great compromise between manly style and affectation and affordability at ~$35-45.

29 Derrick Lehman August 12, 2013 at 10:33 pm

I’m an agronomy intern, and I use my pocket book every day. If I don’t write it down, there is a good chance I’ll forget it. I read the comment about “just getting a smart phone”, which yes I have, but I can sure write a hell of a lot faster than pulling my phone out in front of my boss to try to type notes.

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