Business casual: For having such a laid-back name, it’s actually one of the trickiest menswear styles to pull off.


Because there isn’t really a single, defined dress code for business casual; every office seems to have their own take on what the term means. But if you look back in history to where business casual came from, it helps paint a clearer picture.

It starts in 1960s Hawaii, with the introduction of “Aloha Fridays” — a celebration of the colorful Aloha shirts ushered in by the then-president of the Bank of Hawaii. This taste for a more casual end to the workweek made its way to California in the 1990s, and from there to the rest of the world.

Which means that at heart, business casual is less about changing the type of clothes you’re wearing to work, and more about enjoying a wider range of colors, patterns, and textures in your clothes.

With that bit of history in mind, let’s take a closer look at the socks you should be wearing with your business casual outfits.

The Best Men’s Business Casual Socks

No matter which definition of business casual your office favors, there’s one common thread: Nobody wants to see too much of their coworkers’ skin, including their lower legs and feet.

So when it comes to business casual socks, keeping full coverage is still a safe bet. No show socks are a great look on the weekends, but they’re probably a bit too much on the casual side for wearing to the office.

That means you should stick with over the calf or mid-calf dress socks even with business casual, and leave your ankle-length athletic socks at home.

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The fun part of choosing business casual socks is branching out from the black and navy blue of formal office wear into more colors and patterns — more on that in a moment.

Best Business Casual Socks to Wear with Jeans

Now not every office is going to be okay with wearing denim, even on casual Fridays. But if you’re in a workplace with a particularly relaxed dress code, a dressy pair of jeans might be all you need — but that doesn’t mean you should slack on the other parts of your outfit, especially your socks.

Your best bet for business casual socks to wear with jeans will always be a pair of our black over the calf dress socks. They pair great with dark wash and light wash jeans alike, and come in either merino wool or long staple cotton. Not sure which material is best for you? Check out our guide to the best materials for dress socks to clear up any confusion.

black dress socks with dark jeans and blue dress shoes

The best part? Those same socks are going to look great with your usual business attire too, so it’s a real “two birds with one stone” situation.

Best Business Casual Socks to Wear with Sneakers

When you’re getting into the territory of wearing sneakers to work, it’s moving pretty far towards the “casual” end of the spectrum. But there’s a new trend of high class leather sneakers like these ones from Allen Edmonds that are nice enough to want to dress up with slacks and a blazer.

Allen Edmonds dress sneakers

So what sort of business casual socks should you wear with a nice pair of sneakers? That’s where it gets tricky. A pair of black mid-calf dress socks is a safe bet, so long as your sneakers have a snug fit. Anything beyond that — too many colors or patterns on your socks — can risk venturing into the territory of overly casual.

Colors of Socks to Wear with Business Casual

The real fun to be had with business casual socks is choosing from a whole spectrum of colors and patterns.

Picture this: Stick with your usual outfit of slacks, a button-down shirt, maybe even a blazer or sport coat. But then pair that with a pair of purple dress socks and maybe even a purple tie, and you have a totally new and eye-catching outfit.

purple business casual socks with brown loafers, khakis and blue button down shirt

Burgundy dress socks are another great one for business casual, as they can pair just as well with khaki pants as they can with darker colors.

Patterned socks are a great way to update your business casual outfits too. Our American Flag dress socks are always a big hit, and it’s fun to dress up your everyday business outfits with dots, squares, or stripes, too.

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Next Steps

Now that you have a clearer idea of the best socks for business casual, may we recommend checking out some of our other guides to help you dress even better?

 Other Helpful Articles:
How to wear colorful dress socks.
How to match your socks, shoes and pants.
What color socks do you wear with khaki pants?

Learning how to match your dress socks, shoes, and pants should be your next stop — or if you’re still having trouble deciding on which socks to buy, our step by step guide will walk you through choosing the best dress socks for your needs.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff

Our editorial staff is comprised of menswear experts dedicated to providing you with helpful information. Sharing everything from style tips to sock care instructions, these gentlemen are a wealth of knowledge for both our customers and the Boardroom Socks team.

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