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How to Dress Fresh For the Workplace

Your office wardrobe says what you cannot ... think before you speak.

FreshChrisLaw: There’s a common mistake that a lot of men (read: black men) make when it comes to getting dressed for work. For some reason, its either a suit or sad shirt pant combo, most likely a few years old and outdated. It may be time to put away those 1mx shirts from your first 21+-club experience, upgrade your wardrobe and start dressing fresh for the workplace.


Step your shirt game up ...

Button downs are not only the main staple in a man’s wardrobe but are a big part of the look. Options are necessary. You should have at least 2 or 3 of the same colored shirt. Invest in high quality white dress shirts as well as blue and pink. High quality doesn’t always have to mean high price. Visit your local TJ MAXX, Macys and Burlington Coat Factory for high quality shirts at an affordable price. If price isn’t an issue, check out Thomas Pink, Brooks Brothers and Charles Tywitt. I’m also a fan of adding in striped, plaids and pattern shirts. Mixing those in with the standard plain-woven shirts is a good way to switch up your work style.


Tie Collection Must Be Exquisite

Ties are important part of a men’s workplace attire. Ties are great because they can change the look out of an outfit. For example, if you wear a white button down and khakis to work, a plaid tie adds a bit of style to a uniform like style. Ties should be in all varieties. Right now, I’m really into plaid ties, slightly slimmer ties and any print (polka dot, paisley, etc.). If it’s going to be one
color, go for power colors like red, blue and yellow. Watch the size of your tie knots. I’ve seen way too many fellas with knots the size of bowties on their ties. Go with a half Windsor or a four in one.


Cardigans Never Go Out of Style

A sweater is a great staple for the workplace. It’s also a great way to add color and style to your wardrobe. Lightweights sweaters for the summer are only necessary but a great alternative to a suit jacket or blazer. Whether it’s a  cardigan or a V-neck, couple these sweaters with your button downs for a look that is not only appropriate for your office but for afterword drinks as well. The other great thing about the sweater is their versatility. Having a good collection of sweaters affords you the opportunity to change up your style, color pallet and general look as often as you see fit. They’re an easy addition to your wardrobe that can have a major impact on your overall appearance.

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Sometimes it can be monotonous wearing the same few suits all the time. However, push yourself and break the suit up a bit. Rock a grey blazer with the blue dress pants and vice versa. If you have a more relaxed office,  pair a great cuffed pair of denim with that blazer.


There’s been an ever-increasing popularity of cool socks.  Whether it’s a bright neon color, a print, or a cool pattern, socks are no longer just hidden in shoes. GO AS CRAZY AS YOU WANT HERE. Its just enough a pop to warrant attention.

As always, feel free to email me your sartorial inquiries and suggestions. Also, let’s do something different today … fellas, after you finish reading the post, I want y’all to tell us all what you’re rocking in the office today. Keep it real, if you’re having a swagless day, say so. And if you’re feeling extra fresh, let us know too.





  1. Men's fashion. Don't even get me started, lol. Bachelors are just so awesome to talk to about this kinda stuff it's like sit! SIT! I wanna play dress up!! I swear I would be the best personal stylist EVER; men's clothing is so much fun to play around with. *daydreams about hordes of well-dressed black men*

    I am all about accessories though. Time pieces and belts in particular. Mmmm.

  2. In terms of dress shirts, if you can buy your exact shirt size, make the investment. I have made the shift, particularly as a bigger guy. I find that the neck and sleeve are compromised when going for the 34-35 vs. a 35in sleeve. Another trick is if you go to a TJ Maxx, go to the ones in high incomes areas. The stores seems to stock a higher quality of shirts in these locations.

  3. Lowkey my favorite perk to my newest job is having to dress for work. I’m not a suit and tie guy really so i like to switch it up sweaters, vests, ties and about 40 lbs lighter i’m finally coming into my own fit jeans style. I’m still theninja that will throw on regular socks (in my defense i usually go to the gym after) so that something i need to step it up on. Like Alakaii said belts and watches also play a role, seen this one dude around my shade and build had on a white belt with blue slacks and it changed everything might have to try it.

  4. Good post. I am definitely all about stepping up my style game in 2012. Today, I work in a business casual environment, so a suit and tie is not necessary. Despite that, to stand out, I still step it up. I am rocking an all white button down shirt, some blue slacks, and a blue sports coat. No tie.
    Also, for anyone in the DMV, Nordstorm Racks is my favorite spot to get dress clothes and shoes. Decent prices and top of the line selections.

  5. Not that I’ve spent months at a time googling men’s fashion or anything, I was just wondering: do wholesale namebrands come cheaper? Cuz I was gonna reccomend this site I came across because it had a conglomerate of brands like Gucci, Hermes, Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren etc. etc. at really fair prices but I wasn’t sure if it was legitimate. I thought maybe designer brands have designer stuff and then retail stuff which they buy in bulk and then out of that they have wholesale? Like a 3k Ralph Lauren jacket and then 500 of those in the retail version = 45 of them on this website for $400. Is that how it works? I thought it’d be an affordable place to shop for big meetings and stuff.

    1. Not sure what site you are referring to, but discounted clothing can happen with most brands with the exception of course of Louis Vuitton. They almost NEVER go on sale.

      Of course designers sometimes over produce clothing and after a season or so, they get discounted, they go to stores like Marshalls and at the end of the "2nd try", the clothes are sometimes bought for discount sites.

      So likely the site is legit but not necessarily. WHy dont u recommend it?

      1. Geez. So they're out of season AND reject clothes? Um. I think I'm gonna sulk while I hunt it down (I came across it doing random google searches) cuz I definitely was about to recommend a lackluster website thinking I found a really cool tip for up and commers.

        1. lol. *changes my name to Alakaii Cutiepie with a kissy face for good measure*

          ….at least I know my future son's name exudes masculinity.

  6. Best way to dress in the work place is to go to work and observe your coworkers. Look at your leadership and where you want to be and mirror those folks. Don't be that black dude at work who is dressing like it's a fashion show or like it's Easter Sunday. I know brothers love to talk about how they hold themselves to a higher expectation, but seriously, you just stand out. Whenever you stand out as a Black man in the workplace the first thing that happens is people start calling you a n*gga behind your back. You'll be the best dressed, not-going-anywhere Black dude at your job if people feel that way about you.

    This advice goes for women too.

    The workplace is the easiest place to dress for because you can just use the status quo for a guide to dressing.

      1. That's a good point. I've found the higher up you get the more conservative your dress should be BUT. the higher quality you should invest in. Fashion becomes about quality and where you got it from: the cuts, how it was made and crafted, the brand but more so it's reputation. I have visible tattoos and since I'm already known for being a "workaholic brownnoser" I can get away with bursts of color and especially my affinity for gloves. It *looks* like a fashion statement and I can have what little style I've developed but I'm not gonna wear emerald green slacks with a polka dot top in a meeting. I wear just enough to catch the eye and be complimentary. Work is for work. I can show off my "style" in more casual venues.

  7. I see what J is saying. My workplace is fairly conservative so I have (had) to tone down my at work attire versus my after work attire. It was a transition. I've noticed a good, acceptable compromise is to wear basic colored button downs with flashier ties. It's def preferred (here) that people stay in the pastel colors. I've noticed purple has been winning a lot lately but that isn't for every dude to pull off.

    I'm lazy. I usually only shop about twice a year – summer/winter. I probably won't hit the department store for any significant purchases aside from basic shoes/pants until September. I'm thinking of stepping up my wardrobe game for the 30s. I usually do this every few years. First it was 21 when I got rid of all the baggy jeans and big tees. Then it was 25 when I transitioned into Polos and slim T's. Not sure what the 30's will look like, yet.

    My recent post Pacquaio vs Bradley Saving Grace: Boxing has always been corrupt

  8. Great post! I LOVE ties! I've been digging the plaid and gingham ones right now myself. I ran into a periwinkle one too that I just could not take my eyes off of. It's not a power color but it sure caught my attention.

  9. sometimes i wish i could dress up more at my job (i work in a laboratory) so its frowned upon to dress up unless i'm giving a talk or i'm at a conference. that said i make sure when i do get the opportunity to dress up i pull out all the stops. you're right cardigans never go out of style. i have an affinity for cardigans, v neck sweaters and bow ties.
    My recent post Take Me Back to 1953

  10. A message for the big but not sloppy dudes, it takes more effort to shop for us. For instance, I am 6ft 290lbs with little belly, broad shoulders, barrel chested, and the arms of someone 6'3. I also have wide arms. I wear a 19.5/20 neck. There is not a department store in America who has a jacket or shirt that fits me. If it fits me in the chest, its too big in the neck. If it fits the neck its too short. If it fits in the arms its too long. etc etc etc.

    I recommend a couple of things though: go to stores and try things on, try on the biggest stuff they have. This will allow you to gauge what size you need. Then go online and order that item (online usually has bigger sizes). Also, any of Ralph Lauren's B&T lines will make you look good b/c they're made for badly shaped folks. That means roomy in the midsection and fitted in the arms. You'll look swole. Also, Rochester Big & Tall (not the city) has an extensive selection.

    Dont buy suits off the rack. Know a tailor who makes suits. Also, know a tailor who does alterations. You dont always want the same person doing both. I use mysuitny.com for my suits.

    1. mysuitsny.com is a great resource. You should also try blacklapel.com They are great customizing.
      All suits despite your size should be tailored tho..

      But appreciate this info.

      1. Black lapel is real cool but I dont trust myself to measure myself. I usually end up having to have someone else do it.

        Obviously, all suits should be tailored. But for some people, no amount of tailoring will fix a suit bought off the rack especially when most places dont carry the closest size to you. Sidenote: if you know of a store who carries a 56 athletic, please forward that info.

        1. You should have your measurements on deck.. They also give an allowance to have it tailored if it doesnt fit.

          But I will find a store that carries a 56 athletic.. give me some time.

  11. I'm all for men dressing in something else besides torn jeans and tees. For some of the coolest socks check out ashidashi.com I buy all of my dads socks there.

      1. (Jesus Christ I'm naive)

        Mr. Imfreshtodeath COULD'VE answered my question about wholesale designer brands but I'm just gonna LOL @ Star's Z snap and follow suit because I like the burst of pink on her shoe.

        I decided to take the summer off so I'm kinda wearing a plush blanket I keep putting in the dryer cuz it feels AWESOME but if I do decide to get dressed, I picked out these white women's suit bottoms I wore to my high school homecoming dance and this random pink, striped blouse I picked up and turned into a vest with a deep V and these low wedges to complete a look I've dubbed 'retired wife in San Dro pe'. Not too sure about accessories except the gold rimmed sunglasses and cheapy cheap freshwater pearls but I think the pearls are a little too Nancy Reagan.

        1. "I decided to take the summer off … "
          *seething with jealousy*

          Naked under a warm blanket …
          Ok, it's official. I hate you.


        2. lol. Don't be too jealous the time off comes out of my health. Mind you…its 90 degrees outside and I have to heat my blanket — though it is nice to have 'me' time. It would probably be more enjoyable for you since you have a set schedule and that sorta thing, you can appreciate it more since it's like a spa day as oppossed to getting a vacation cuz you're too under the weather to do anything productive. Trust me when I tell you. It sucks.

    1. He asked us to and no one did – be a good example and get the ball rolling!

      Nevermind, I'll start (were women supposed to play too? Doesn't matter, I wanna hear what ya'll wearing, so I'ma go and hope you follow suit. Ha, suit! Bazinga!).

      I feel pretty cute today so glad you didn't ask yesterday, I'm wearing a summery, navy blue, Old Navy, empire waist, short dress with coral accessories (toes, hoop earrings, bracelets, and shrug) and gold, almost skin tone, strappy wedges. *snaps in Z formation*

  12. i loving this post although i am a woman!!! but im a tie chick, i love a guy who can wear the Pink and green and mach it up with a nice suite and shirt annnnnnnddddd the shoes are important!!! Take for instance Michael Smith from ESPN dude can dress his ASS off plus he's a cutie but you get what i mean!!!!

  13. I think the key w/ dressing for work is to "make statement" WITHOUT 'making a statement.' Definitely don't want to be the guy who is wearing his Sunday Best everyday!! I have a friend who had a really nice tan suit, but decided to sport a black button up & Burberry tie w/ it ..big OVERT mistake ..Subtlety & contemporary elegance (as well as fitting in w/ company culture) is key in the workplace ..and after work as well IMO.

    NEVER 4-button suits! (still see fellas sporting these for some odd reason) — 3 is the max — even that is pushing it in these modern times ..I'd go w./ a 2-button. Invest in a quality pair of Italian made shoes-simple contemporary design [expensive but you will NOT buy another pair for the next 20 years!] -Brown, Black, Burgundy–all you need.

    Also FIT is beyond importance!!! (slim fit & trim cut + forgo the Long jackets if you can and go w/ regular) PLEASE gentlemen invest in a good & trustworthy tailor ..a really good one can make a QUALITY off the rack suit (i.e J.Crew, Banana Republic) look custom!! Believe me!

    Being well dressed will make you feel you better, as well as clients & co-workers having a higher regard for you as a professional -in most cases. . . .Just don't overdo it.

    A well dressed man IS a better man!!

  14. Dope post, Chris!

    I'm kinda struggling with updating my wardrobe because at 6'5, shopping is such a chore. I have a new job that's hybrid (half corporate, half remote work w/ video conferences) plus I've put on some weight so it's time to do summer shopping. I've always had a healthy cardigan and v-neck sweater collection. Those are always versatile, especially going from day to night (if you have a HH planned after work). I live in Banana Republic, Hugo Boss, and I've found some gems on Overstock.com

    I'm not a tie kinda guy, but I never know when to do the skinny tie vs. print/pattern vs. solid.

    My recent post 5 Players in the 2012 Draft that could have a solid rookie year

  15. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your post seem
    to be running off the screen in Internet explorer.

    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to
    let you know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem resolved soon.

    Many thanks


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