The algorithm for office wear for men is a simple one, so it is surprising how many people do not get it quite right. As a fresh-faced graduate I was, thankfully, told what to wear:

  1. Suit

    Can be patterned or plain. Usually dark e.g. black, grey, navy. Navy is, I would say, in England, the default.

    If patterned the pattern should be subtle unless you are going for Churchill-esque chalk-stripes. Unless you have an excellent tailor this would be a high beta strategy anyway.

  2. Shirt

    White or a light colour. Light pink on a Friday is a tradition in some parts of the City.

    Shirts can be patterned but I do not see many of the seniors in the office wearing patterned shirts, unless they have reached the bottom of the shirt drawer.

    For shirt buttoning I defer to the US-based Magnificant Bastard weblog.

  3. Tie

    A patterned tie can be worn with a plain shirt, or vice versa.

    There are two divergent behaviours regarding ties in my office:

    1. Come in without a tie on and then put one on when required for meetings or
    2. Come in with a tie and leave it on all day.

    The latter is probably better in winter when it is cold, because a tie stops draughts going down your front quite nicely. Seniors and sales types are more likely to wear ties all day because of the liklihood of frequent meetings.

  4. Shoes

    Always black. Style does not particularly matter, but if you are unsure go for brogues or monk shoes.

    If you get leather soled shoes – which are most comfortable in indoor environments because leather is breathable – it is well worth getting some trainers or cheap shoes with synthetic soles to walk to/from work in. Leather soles will degrade quite quickly if subjected to water or salt.