What to wear to your next zoom meeting

What to wear to your next zoom meeting

Q. In today’s super casual dressing, suits just don’t seem logical. Still, I can’t wear a T-shirt and chinos all the time either, particularly with a lot of my business conducted via Zoom. Do you have any suggestions for what to wear?

A. Unfortunately, you are right that there seem to be fewer and fewer opportunities/reasons for men to dress in a suit and tie. That standard of the well-dressed man has almost disappeared. Even so, another way to go, for a step down in formality from a suit (with or without a tie), is the same as years gone by, namely, a blazer or a sport coat. 

Many men do not realize that there is a difference between a blazer and a sport jacket. Still others, like yourself, who are used to wearing suits, tend to be thrown off by the trousers (let alone the shirt and tie) that should accompany them. A blazer is the middle ground between a matched suit and a sport coat, but it tends to come a bit closer to the formality of a suit than the more casual air of a sport jacket. It can be dressed up or down for an extremely wide range of looks. I think both of these occupy that middle ground you are looking for and I will provide further explanations to help you make the best choices. 

Various Blazer Looks: 
The dressiest and most formal combination matches up a double-breasted navy blazer (with navy suit buttons), a white spread-collar shirt with French cuffs and cufflinks; dark gray, well-cut wool dress trousers; a silk pindot necktie, and a pocket handkerchief.

A not-quite-so-dressy blazer combination mixes a single-breasted navy blazer with dark buttons, a white, light blue, or blue-striped pinpoint Oxford shirt with barrel (button) cuffs and a straight-point collar; medium-dark wool trousers, and a striped or small-patterned silk tie. Another, less expected look in this category is a navy blazer with subtly-patterned wool trousers in a small houndstooth check or perhaps a dark black-watch plaid. In warm weather, you might substitute seasonal white mother-of-pearl buttons.

A more casual blazer look combines a single-breasted navy blazer (with nautical brass buttons); an Oxford cloth, button-down collar shirt in a stripe or a small pattern such as a check, a tattersall, or plaid; a pair of cotton chinos in a light tan or khaki color (or in warm weather, white jeans), and worn with a knit tie.

The most casual blazer is worn with an open-at-the-neck shirt (no tie) and perhaps with faded jeans.

Obviously, this range is versatile enough to suit many different occasions. You can vary and blend the different elements to give you even more flexibility.     

Sport Jacket Looks:

The well-dressed man enjoys wearing the next step down from a blazer in formality, namely, well-cut, quality wool sport jackets. They are casual, but not necessarily dressed down. They can range from inexpensive cotton corduroy to astronomically priced luxury wool or cashmere.

The finest sport jackets can cost as much as a few thousand dollars. They come in subtle tweeds and bold patterns such as checks and windowpane plaids. Top quality styles are tailored as perfectly as the best suits you can buy. Pair them with fine dark wool trousers for a sophisticated casual look.

Another example might be a brown-and-blue tweed sport coat, khaki pants, and blue shirt for a “nice casual” combination. Or you might wear olive pants and a beige sport coat — as casual as you can get and still be “dressed.” Matching dark brown shoes and brown belt would complete the look.

More Casual Looks:

If a meeting is on your schedule or you are invited to an event that suggests “casual” in any of its forms, there are options other than a suit or sport coat. A good-looking  sweater and shirt, no tie, and well-tailored dress pants make a smart combination. If you choose blue jeans, they should be a dark wash and very well cut.

Any of these could also work for a business meeting on Zoom. Go with the blazer or jacket if your office is a bit on the dressy side. Keep in mind that no one sees your pants!

Please send your men’s dress and grooming questions to MALE CALL: Lois.Fenton@prodigy.net

Categories: Male Call