“Business Casual” with Style – Featuring Marwan Helal

February 12th, 2011

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After strong reviews for “Corporate Style” featuring Gabe Schulman, we decided to do a similar feature for all of our “business casual” readers out there.

As I’ve written in the past, because I work as a stylist, I am not bound by traditional dress codes. Therefore, to take an authentic look at “business casual” with style, I decided to feature one of my best friends Marwan Helal for the second time (to see his first feature, click here). From nine to five, Marwan, who is employed by a pharmaceutical distributor, keeps a great balance between professional and stylish.

In our shared opinion, business casual is all about treading the line between looking presentably conservative and expressively stylish. It’s a term that is thrown around often, and has a number of different meanings from one office to the next. Therefore, it’s very important to understand the expectations of your superiors, the strictness of appearance in your office and the overall culture of your place of business.

We shot Marwan going about his business in our hometown Windsor Ontario Canada, from Monday to Friday.

 NEXT LOOK >>

Monday

Windsor is in southern Ontario. It’s one of the most southern cities in Canada, directly across the Ambassador bridge from Detroit Michigan. Although we do get a good amount of snow and cold weather – it’s not a tundra (as some ignorant people often suspect).

“There are beautiful, sunny days in the winter here. The kind of days where a midweight wool cardigan is all I need as outerwear – especially since I’m not outside much, usually just to walk to and from my car. This is my ‘flying under the radar’ look. The concept (washed plaid shirt + cardigan + chinos) is simple and appropriate for just about any occasion, although the pants are an olive green (a neutral, versatile and underrated color that Dan often recommends) and the socks have a little pop (and a little King of Pop).”

Bonus Tip: if you’re going to try a statement sock at the office, make sure the shoe means business, like these sleek lace-ups.

Bonus Tip II: “I like the symmetry of a cuffed sleeve + cuffed pant”. (Yes, this is how much thought our crew puts into this sh-t, hah)

Bonus Tip III: Buttoning a three-button jacket: top sometimes, middle always, bottom never. Buttoning a cardigan sweater: top sometimes, bottom never.

  • Wool cardigan by Club Monaco
  • Olive chinos by Club Monaco
  • Plaid shirt by Club Monaco
  • Heather grey socks by American Apparel
  • Leather belt by DKNY
  • Canvas tote bag by Filson
  • Brown lace-ups by Hugo Boss
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  • Anonymous

    All of your pants are too short

  • http://www.dresslily.com Dresslily

    These are all perfect for my workplace!

  • Haha

    Nice white socks….really? Totally lost all credentials seeing those.

    • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

      light grey

  • http://www.fitcustomshirts.com Custom Dress Shirts

    Certainly its an authentic look.

  • http://www.modusman.com/ Outfit For Men

    Great ideas here…That’s true. Although you wish to be expressive of your own style, you must still consider the nature of your work and the culture in your company. Wearing classic outfits with modern twist could be the best option for your daily wear to office.

  • Anonymous

    Nice concept of business casuals! I found it very different and appealing.

    • http://thestyleblogger.com Dan Trepanier

      Thanks. Marwan has awesome smart style.

  • Rajan Ryan

    Well, at least I can be a little casual on Friday and just ensure that my clothes aren’t sloppy and it must be tailored.

  • Gazman

    Love the first look and the second one…but not enamoured of the rest. He’s got a great figure so can pull off these looks but for men with less flattering physiques it’d be a challenge to wear same style outfits. The no-break pants style I see a lot these days but only in photos; yet to see on the street, but then again I live in Australia and fashion and men are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. Terrific blog; keep up the great work!

  • Chad M.

    1&2 are impeccable and the rest are solid looks too. Keep up the good work. -CM

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. Your views truly open my mind.

  • Ryan Yozamp

    Love the look fellas, looking good.

  • rothcomilitary

    Hi…I honestly believe there is a skill to writing articles that only very few posses and yes you got it. This is really informative and I will for sure refer my friends the same. Thanks……

  • Mr.Rogers

    Seriously, no matter how hip or trendy, its not 007 to be showing your socks in highwaters.

  • E. Honda

    God, ignorant is tossed around so much these days. Just because someone is UNINFORMED does not mean their “ignorant”.

  • Disappointed

    All I can say is, “Crap!” All those outfits look ridiculous. The first one is some kind of “Mr. Rogers crossed with a pedophile” look…and the colors…can we try coordinating the colors maybe?

    • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

      We all have our opinions. I would love to see a picture of how you dress.

      Thanks for reading,
      Dan

  • Men Suit Tailor

    Awesome, entertaining and full of informative good stuff!!

  • steve pham

    The pair of long wing brogues in the 3rd look are not Florsheim by Duckie Brown. They are the Veblen in the rust color, from Florsheim’s limited Fall ’11 collection. I know this because like Marwan, I own pairs in the rust & gray colors (I know he has a gray pair too because I’ve seen some other posts with him. Yes i am a fan haha). I don’t know if Mr. Helal does, but I also have the black, brown, & wine colors. Strong looks, good stuff

  • Pakistani Lawn Collection

    This collection is perfect for business man nice and descent colors.

  • Gavin

    Marwan’s down puffer vest from Gap looks great! Can’t find one online – any info on how long ago it was purchased? Much appreciated. Keep up the good work.

  • Paul Butler

    Very nice! More men should spend time reading blogs like yours. Keep it up!

    Thanks- paul

    http://www.butlerway.com/

  • Erica

    Honestly, I was feeling Monday’s outfit until I saw the white socks. That, to me, is a no-no unless he’s on his way to the gym.

  • Pusat Tas Branded Impor

    nice!

  • afteam

    Beautiful Collection !!! -Revathi

  • afteam

    Beautiful Collection !!!

  • afteam

    Beautiful !!!

  • Maurice

    Great style

  • Arron

    Really good style. Wears a lot Of affordable clothing and makes it look expensive, Great post!

  • book fotografico

    I’m extremely impressed your blog is very much good. Truly amazing it’s a wonderful. So taleted!! In our shared opinion, business casual is all about treading the line between looking presentably conservative and expressively stylish. The latest range has been developed to meet the needs of the contemporary man who is after both style and added functionality. I appreciate your work and hopping for some more informative posts. Again thanks

  • William from Maxwell Scott Briefcases

    Love this post. The ‘business casual’ look is great, effortless yet with a touch of sophistication! Love the Hugo Boss shoes too! http://www.maxwellscottbags.com

  • max

    What model is the loafers from Bass?

    • Marwan H.

      The Bass Dover model.

      • Jourdan

        How tall are you Marwan if you dont mind me asking?

  • Kenny

    Dan and/or Marwan,

    The grey cotton chinos from J. Crew in the Tuesday look, are they the urban slim fit or the classic fit broken in chino? Thanks

    • Marwan H.

      Kenny, they are the urban slim-fit, broken in chino.

  • Mills @ simplebutelegant.tk

    Your Style is uniquely impressive. I and a group of my high school friends have started a blog, simplebutelegant.tk please check it out and contact me if you could. You’re part of our inspiration. Twitter= @mills_sbelegant facebook: Mills SoWavy

  • Chante

    Lookin good boys ;)

  • PP @ jadorepp.blogspot.com

    Love! Marwan’s business casual look has this kind of style that while not appearing to be way over the top, would definitely let people think that he has a great personality and his fashion sense exudes it consistenly, notwithstanding the different pieces that he wears and the kind of layering that he does. It’s like variation meets familiarity!

  • Craig

    Favorite Blog post of All-Time!!! Finally Get some style tips for my work days

  • Anonymous

    YUP!!!!! this guy looks to freshy

  • MrThOmAs313

    I ABSOLUTLEY am diggin this site and this post. Dan,as I am from Michigan(Detroit), it is refreshing to see a kat from here with great style. It seems to be a dying breed here in Michigan, especially Detroit. I always come to this site to get my style inspiration. I also got that Olive toggle coat from Club Monaco like two weeks ago right before “snowmeagdon”….lol Keep up the great work bro. Nice Post Marwan I’ll look out for u in Canada

  • Marko

    Great looks. I have a similar frame as the model but I can’t seem to pull off pants with such a high hem. I always feel like I’m wearing floods. Still get my pants hemmed with the back meeting the ground.

    Keep up the great work

  • MK

    Making life in Canada look even better! We may not quite believe Marwan will survive the photo shoot without a heavy parka, but that is not the point–his clothing choices show that the “busines casual” concept does not mean forgetting about the role that color, texture, fit and function play in convincing clients that a man means business.

  • Titus

    Not sure about the white socks :S Think its a bit off balance. Plus isn”t it a bit of a taboo anyways?

    Otherwise great posts!

    http://shoesdepierre.blogspot.com/

    • Anonymous

      Wool cardigan, plaid shirt and olive chinos all by Club Monaco. Belt by DKNY. HEATHER GREY SOCKS by American Apparel. Brown plain toe lace-up shoes by Hugo Boss. Zipper tote by Filson.

      • Titus

        My bad,
        though they do look pretty white

  • Terry

    Awesome post SB!!! I always come here for great style advice. keep it up.

  • Rei Fernandez

    Dan,

    Another great post. Love the GAP down vest featured in the last 2 photos. That color is great. I’m still bummed about passing on the same jacket for $14.97 a few weeks ago. A size too big unfortunately.

    Great job Dan. Great job as well, Mr. Helal.

    -Rei Fernandez.
    http://www.thecommongrounds.blogspot.com

  • NastyNate

    used to live in walkerville this is dope.
    thanks for the post.

  • Anonymous

    Dan,

    Really good post. Quick question, did your friend have those pants taken in down the leg? I’ve never seen a pair of jcrew or club monaco pants that slim.

    • Marwan H.

      Yes, they have been tapered from the knee down.

      Thanks,

      Marwan

  • http://MensStylePro.com Sabir P.

    Hey Dan,

    I am a big fan of the RL Khaki chinos. Ive found my self drawn more to the no break look because I am 5’9 and it definitely gives the look of more height for me.

    Bests,

    Sabir

  • Britt

    Nice post – would love to see a bus cas post for women….

  • Stephanie

    Thanks so much for the great post. I really enjoyed reading it. I’m so glad for more information on Casual clothing.

    http://www.clothingobsession.com/

  • Jared W.

    Really appreciate this post! Business casual is the dress style required at my office, and on top of that, Marwan’s personal style is very similar to mine. He’s made a lot of the same choices in his look/wardrobe that I’ve made in mine…it’s always affirming to see that a lot of the details/choices of your personal sense of style are mirrored by someone else out there.

  • Felix

    Nothing looks so slack and simply lazy as putting on what appears to be white athletic songs. Other things about this guy got me going: if it’s cold enough to wear leather gloves, why is your top few buttons undone on your shirt (see tuesday). Thursday? The look was striking at first, and made me withdraw a bit but I think I quite like it. The bold colours work together well, and while first seeming a tad overdone, the whole outfit works. I’d probably do up the tie though. As for down vests? Blurgh.

  • Jizzy

    Great post as usual. I like that the last time Marwan was on the site is was during warmer months of year, and we saw drivers, polos, light colored chinos, etc. With this post we see how Marwan gets down (no pun-vest) during the colder months with appropriate fabrics and layering.

    The tip regarding the 3 piece suit is such a fundamental, and I like that in the first look you point out that the approach applies to cardigans. I was actually wearing a cardigan the other day in a similar way, and friend said, “Your bottom button is undone.” Right away I buttoned up the bottom button and asked which looked better, to which I heard, “Point made.”

  • Christian

    cool post, although not so sure about loafers in the snow…

    Best Wishes,

    Christian
    http://www.stylesage.co.uk

  • Carter

    SB,
    Your right-hand man is killing it! His last look has to be one of my all-time favorites. I can be found wearing some sort of rendention of this at least twice a week. A classic mix of urban prep.
    Be Well!

  • S.

    Great post! This guy needs his own blog! I love it!

  • Richard

    SB, you got me going again. Now you just make me wanna destroy my workplace with style..haha

    Great idea using a different model. Neat.

  • Economically

    Love the white socks…..you have done again it you handsome Canuck. You are a genius in your own way.

    • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

      Thanks! Although the socks are heather grey, wool blend that looks lighter because of the lighting of the photo.

      Cheers,
      Dan (and Marwan)

  • Preplee

    Dan,
    Cool stuff as always. I have a similiar blog to yours, but the additive editorials here and there. I’m always looking for constructive criticism… I know you busy, but take a look if you have a chance.

    J. Prep Lee

    http://preplee.com/

  • Robin

    Thank you for this!!!! Business casual always confuses me

  • Michael

    I’m sorry, as “high fashion” as it may be, I’m just not into the ankle showing thing. I like a slight break, slight, but not none at all! Great post though.

  • Jen Smith

    I noticed that in all of these outfits, his pants are just a little border line highwater….is this a new trend you are seeing?

    jen
    http://blankwhiteframes.blogspot.com

    • Anonymous

      If by new, you mean closing on mainstream for almost five years now, then yes, this is a new trend.

  • Francesco

    Just got the Bass “Dover” Weejuns in the mail…they are great!

  • Windsorite

    First pic = my best friend’s house…and its a beauty! Thats my old stomping grounds (went to walkerville)…this blog continues to impress!

  • KLEE

    Absolutely love this post. Quick question again.

    Does your friend tailor pretty much everything he gets? I’ve bought shirts/chinos from JCrew and they don’t fit anywhere as well as all of the clothes Marwan has on. Shirts are still a bit loose and chinos with a lot of break and big leg openings even though they say slim fit

    • Marwan H.

      Klee,
      All of the pants in these pictures have been tailored (tapered), with the exception of the Friday outfit. I have a hard time finding pants that fit to my liking straight off-the-rack.

      Best regards,

      Marwan

  • Fred

    I wouldn’t ruin my shoes in the snow!

    • Anonymous

      What, you’d go bare footed?

  • erick

    I love that you used someone else as a model. Really changing things up and keeping this site interesting as always.

    Keep it going guys

    -your fan

  • JMRouse

    Solid post all around. I am willing to bet the majority of your readers work in a business casual environment so it’s good to see this.

    Do those loafers get more comfortable when they break in? I tried some on a couple weeks ago and thought the leather felt very stiff and not that comfortable.

    • JMRouse

      The Bass loafers, I mean.

      • Kin

        I have those same bass loafers and gotta say first time trying them on they are rather stiff but after 2-3 wears it really breaks in good.

  • http://www.universityfashion.blogspot.com University Fashion

    I didn’t think this site could get much better but it just has!

    This is an awesome post and one that I can connect with. When ever I am unsure about something it only takes a quick trip here to sort out any of my style concerns.
    So glad I found your site.

    Keep up the GREAT work!

    http://universityfashion.blogspot.com/

  • shaqueeda

    hay booboo your friend’s cute a hell too

  • Norman

    Warm ankles or stylishness – pick one.

    • Anonymous

      You’re on the STYLE blogger website!

  • Harman

    Were any of these pieces tailored/altered or were they all off-the-rack?

    • Marwan H.

      Harman,
      All the pants with the exception of the navy corduroys have been tailored.

      Thanks,
      Marwan

  • cam

    perfect post here…i really like to see how he incorporates some less expensive brands and still looks great…i typically associate chinos to warm weather…your thoughts?

    • cam

      Reread post and caught your response to chinos in winter. Thanks Dan

  • James

    Dan,

    GREAT POST! This really gives me some inspiration for the work place. That’s why I love your blog lol.

    Keep it up!