Fall Getup Week: The Corporate But Creative Office

Fall Getup Week: The Corporate But Creative Office
Casual, but at a creative company of notable size and hierarchy. What do you wear when dueling dress codes muddy the waters? This Getup.

After two days of rugged, casual to smart casual styles, it’s time to get back to work. To the office, specifically. Much of our on-the-job style advice is geared toward creating office-appropriate Getups for guys who have to look polished without the safety net of a suit, like to dress well (but not look too dressy), and/or want an outfit that goes from board room to tap room without too much difficulty.

But that leaves some of our readers who are tied to something a little less flexible in the dust. And we’ve definitely got a “no reader left behind” mentality.

Imagine an office for a large marketing, advertising, or creative startup. Different teams, lots of clients, lots of meetings. The dress code is lax, and you're already miles ahead of the guys in their baggy button ups and black bicycle toe shoes.

But maybe there's a higher-up coming in, or there's a casual client lunch meeting in the conference room. Or you're giving a cross-team presentation.

This Getup’s for any guy who struggles to show his creative side while still looking casual-office-appropriate, or wants to show that he’s able to rub elbows with clients and then roll up his sleeves and get some real work done.

I know we’re going to get some flak for this outfit, so just getting out ahead of any criticism: No, jeans and a blazer are not as formal as a jacket and chinos or dress pants. We’re elevating an outfit for a denim-friendly office, not trying to shoehorn jeans into a super-conservative law firm. The jeans are a lighter rinse than you might be used to seeing, more on that in a moment.

corporate creative office outfit cotton navy blazer knit tie striped shirt suede chukkas the getup

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Before we go into the details of each item, look at the overall effect of this Getup. Together, the blazer, shirt, and jeans establish a monotone palette that sets off the otherwise muted tones of the tie and shoes. The silhouette is not as sharply tailored as that of a suit, but still reads as pulled-together thanks to the clean lines of the blazer, tapered denim, and the more formal accessories.

We kept the color palette neutral and work-appropriate, and the tones and textures are a nod to the season.

This Getup toes the line between smart casual and business casual, with the blazer doing a lot of the polishing. The navy is a classic color, but the slim, modern fit keeps it from feeling stuffy. The cotton material also gives it a slightly more casual, rugged feel, compared to traditional wool.

cotton blazer knit tie striped shirt pocket square

It’s a little hard to tell from the picture, but this is a striped shirt, not solid blue. The pattern and the collar are inherently less formal–button-down styles were invented for men who spent a lot of time on horseback.

The tie and pocket square bring contrasting color and texture to the outfit, adding dimension and upping the “pulled-together” quotient another notch – it complements the neutrals of the green of the tie and the brownish-olive suede of the chukkas.

Slim cut jeans in a vintage medium indigo rinse are washed out just enough to avoid looking like one half of a not-quite-matching suit. Any darker and they’d be too close in color to the navy blazer. The tapered, not-too-tight-not-too-loose fit pairs well with the tailored lines of the blazer. This avoids the dreaded “old guy wearing a suit jacket with his baggy jeans” look.

cotton blazer knit tie light jeans suede chukkas

Echoing the dark green tie is a contemporary chameleon–an olive suede boot. Somewhere in the neighborhood between green and brown, these chukkas look great with chinos and jeans, sweaters, blazers, and flannels alike. The outer sole isn’t as rugged as a work boot, but the suede upper is nowhere near as dressy as patent leather. It’s an excellent compromise on the footwear spectrum.

brown suede chukka boots men jeans

Finishing off the dressy-but-casual-but-not dance we’ve got going on is one of our Primer-favorite dive watches. By choosing a watch with a metal rather than a leather band, we’re keeping continuing functional/fashionable juxtaposition that makes this Getup work as well as it does. Read more about the best dive watches under $300.

Overall, the look is modern and approachable, but not in a “hey, did you file those TPS reports yet?” way. Whether you’re looking to step up your game in your current role or trying to define your office style at a new gig, I hope this gives you some inspiration.

Get the Look

Slim stretch twill blazer: Amazon, $88
Japanese cotton oxford: Everlane, $58
Knit silk tie: The Tie Bar, $25
Pocket square (similar): Ties.com, $12
Slim stretch denim: Gap, $45
Olive suede chukka boots: Thursday Boots, $149
Dive watch: Orient, $125

Check out the rest of Fall Getup Week

Day 1: Fall Getup Week: The Wardrobe Transition
Day 2: Fall Getup Week: Texture Weather
Day 3:The Corporate But Creative Office
Day 4: Weekend at Your Partner’s Parents’ Place

Andrew Snavely

Andrew founded Primer in 2008 and brings 15+ years of men's style expertise. Known for his practical, relatable approach to style and self-development, he has been a recognized speaker at conferences and has styled work for top brands. Off-duty, he loves photography & editing, and enjoys road trips with his dog, Leela. Raised in rural Pennsylvania, educated in DC, and living in LA for nearly 20 years, Andrew's diverse experiences shape the relatable and real-world advice that has helped millions through Primer. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.