Are Jeans Business Casual?

Paulina Kulczycki

When we think of business casual, our minds immediately jump to chinos. But can only chinos truly embody business casual, or under the right circumstances, can other trouser styles, such as jeans, also fit the bill? Here at SANVT, we're keen to present three looks in our style guide for men that we believe could give a definitive answer to the question: are jeans business casual?

Let's be real: business casual means something entirely different depending on who you ask. And if you ask us, it's entirely dependent on the industry and location. After all, dress codes at a law firm and at a fashion magazine are vastly different. And the dress code in an office in London is certainly quite different from that in an office of the same type in a small town in Austria. In short: what's inappropriate in one office is daily business in another. So when it comes to whether jeans can be business casual, well, that depends on the context, the industry, the location, and of course, your styling.

A straight-fit pair of jeans in classic colours like dark blue, black, or even light blue can, in our opinion, be styled as sophisticated and smart under the right circumstances. The key is to pair the jeans with high-quality premium essentials to create minimalist style compositions. This elevates the jeans from casual wear to business attire. Here are three business casual looks that we’ve curated for you, featuring jeans, that you can tailor to your own needs. 

Are Jeans Business Casual SANVT hoodie

Start-Up & Publishing

If you work in a start-up environment, the dress code is generally more relaxed – regardless of the industry. In start-ups, you can easily pair a light blue straight-fit pair of jeans, rolled up at the ankles, with a black hoodie and a white t-shirt as an undershirt. Complete the look with white sneakers and a light beige beanie hat. It's a look that's casual yet conveys competence. This look also works in other industries such as publishing, journalism, copywriting, and sales. 

Are Jeans Business Casual SANVT heavyweight t-shirt 

Marketing & Advertising Agency

If you work in an agency, whether it's marketing, advertising, or graphic design, your business casual looks can require a touch more finesse. Therefore, we recommend opting for a black straight-fit pair of jeans tucked into a black heavyweight t-shirt, paired with white sneakers, and throwing a beige sweatshirt over your shoulders for a preppy yet casual style. Complete the look with a cool canvas tote bag, and you'll make a confident impression at client meetings or strategic brainstorming sessions with colleagues, mastering your creative agency workday with style.

Are Jeans Business Casual SANVT knit

Social Media & Influencer Management

Now let's talk about the industries where your fashionable self-expression knows almost no bounds. Because if you work in fashion, content creation, social media, or influencer management, you could practically come to work wearing a feathered hat without standing out. Here, your jeans looks can be a bit more daring. For instance, pair a dark grey pair of jeans culottes with a tucked-in black whool-blend sweater and a white Oxford shirt underneath, and round off the look with trendy accessories like cowboy boots, a matching belt, fashionable sunglasses, and a men's handbag. Et voilà – a look that could easily compete with Parisian street styles at Fashion Week.

And if you find the look a tad too edgy, simply swap out the cowboy boots for Dr. Martens Oxford shoes and the jeans culottes for black oversized straight-fit jeans. This keeps the look on trend but is a bit more understated and timeless. Another look that always works in the creative industry is all black everything. Pair black boots with black jeans, tuck in a black turtleneck sweater, throw on a black beanie, and maybe add a black trench coat and sunglasses, and you've got a look that works just as well in the office as it does in the club. 

Are Jeans Business Casual: Conclusion

Although jeans are definitely more casual than business, they can indeed be styled as business casual. Even if your industry wasn't listed above and you're unsure which of the looks is most appropriate, you can always pair a dark blue straight-fit pair of jeans with a black sweatshirt. This gives you a simple, clean, and neutral look that works well in most office environments, as well as in after-work drink settings. And that's exactly what we love about business casual looks: they're smart stylings that adapt to almost any occasion!

Photos by Chris Groneng, Krum Dzhermanov & Arnald Lagji

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