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5 Ways Guys Can Dress For Work Without Looking Lame

We gave five BuzzFeed guys business casual makeovers. Here’s what happened.

Dressing for work can be tricky — a sleepy afterthought most of the time, or an exercise in boredom and frustration. But it doesn’t have to be. Especially if you know what works for you.

That’s particularly true for young guys who are just out of college and still learning how to transition their college wardrobes into professional looks. That’s why we asked stylist Gary Russell Freeman to give business casual makeovers to five BuzzFeed employees. Take a look and tell us what you think.

2. Austin, 23

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

Get the Look: Greywire Becker Shirt in Dip, $128, Bloomingdales; Sunspel fine merino wool cardigan in Light Navy, $240, Sunspel.com; Levi’s leather belt, $38, Levis.com; Freeman’s Sporting Club Winchester trouser, $199, Freeman’s Sporting Club; Gola Vicinity mesh high tops, $102, Gola.co.uk; Maroon gym bag, $150, available for pre-order at SteveMadden.com; Scuderia stainless steel watch with leather strap, $1,495, CTScuderia.com.

What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to men’s fashion?
Matching colors … I’m incompetent when it comes to matching spring and summer colors. Also: Shoes, I don’t know what looks good with shorts. (Sneakers look lame to me.)

What’s one thing you’d love to try that you haven’t?
Colors other than black, white, blue, red, and gray.

What do you think of your “after” look?
Big fan. Especially the shoes.

Is it something you think you’d wear in real life?
I would, yes. But I would never think to go in a store and buy things like these without someone telling me, “Hey, all of that would look good together.”

4. Alejandro, 22

Macey J. Foronda/BuzzFeed.com

Get the look: Dockers Alpha Khaki in New British, $50, Dockers.com; Marc Eckō Cut & Sew Pierce SS in Woven White, $44.50, Zappos.com; Steve Madden Hitter chukkas, $69.99, SteveMadden.com; Levi’s leather belt, $59.90, Levis.com; Model’s own watch.

What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to men’s fashion?
I come from a city that wasn’t that male fashion-oriented and it was hard to find stylish clothing, and especially not in my size. Another challenge is being judged for trying to be stylish or clean cut. Most times men are stereotyped because they wear either skinny jeans, or wear a certain patterned shirt. I think none of that matters, though.

What’s one thing you’d love to try that you haven’t?
I definitely want to include more street-style fashion in my wardrobe. I had to wear a suit and tie most days at my old job so I didn’t have much variety of casual clothing. Maybe some sneakers? I’m not a fan, though. I really like wearing boots — Chelsea, desert, biker, and even cowboy — and dress shoes. Another thing I’d like to add into my wardrobe for the summer are shorts. I only own one pair of shorts, but I think I need to buy more stylish shorts for the season and show some leg.

What do you think of your “after” look? Is it something you think you’d wear in real life?
I liked my after look, but that was after all the pinning. The shirt was my favorite. I really like the two-tone print and the short sleeve, which is also something I need to include in my wardrobe for the summer. I’m a fan of long sleeve shirts, regardless of the weather. It can be 90 degrees out and I’m still wearing long sleeves.

I felt comfortable in the pants since I own similarly styled pants. I think mine are just more of a slim or skinny fit. The shoes were the only piece I wasn’t fully comfortable with, but that’s because I’m always either wearing boots or dress shoes. I just feel weird wearing sneakers if they aren’t my running shoes.

Overall, I was inspired to go shopping. Especially for tops.

6. Spencer, 23

Macey J. Foronda/BuzzFeed.com

Get the Look: Alexander Olch multicolor fine grid cotton shirt, $320, Olch.com; Levi’s Commuter Trousers, $88, Levis.com; Levi’s leather belt, $59.50, Levis.com; model’s own sneakers.

Describe your usual style.
I’m trying to master the business casual look, with some variation of dress pants and a T-shirt. I’ll occasionally wear an actual dress shirt or something, but I’m also a fan of shorts, and I know those don’t mix well, so I’m basically a lost cause.

What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to men’s fashion?
I want to escape that whole “Oh, he just got out of college and is probably interning somewhere” look. Like, I try to dress nicely (for the most part), but summers in New York are brutal, and I want to know how to dress more maturely without having to sweat my body weight off. Also, what the hell are cardigans? Should I wear them? I just don’t know.

What’s one thing you’d love to try that you haven’t?
My sock game is horrendous. I normally wear those tall black Adidas socks, and I know I shouldn’t, but…? Teach me your ways.

What do you think of your “after” look?
Part of me is terrified of this outfit, but that’s probably just because it’s so far out of my comfort zone. I would never normally wear maroon pants or bright green socks — especially mixed together. I sort of feel like a hipster.

Is it something you think you’d wear in real life?
Eh. I might try it out for a day and see what happens, but that’d only be the result of some strong convincing from my friends. I’m sure I’ll get more comfortable in this sort of thing the more I wear it, but the socks-pants combo just doesn’t sit well with me. Who knows?

8. Ray, 32

Macey J. Foronda/BuzzFeed.com

Get the Look: Dockers Poplin Shorts in Navy, $58, Dockers.com; Marc Eckō Cut & Sew Sorrel Shirt, $39.99, Zappos.com; Levi’s leather belt, $59.50, Levis.com; Steve Madden M-Gameon boat shoes, $59.95, SteveMadden.com

What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to men’s fashion?
The biggest challenge is definitely overcoming inertia in terms of just going with what works; I’m infinitely more likely to just keep buying the same style/fit of T-shirt and jeans than to ever try anything new. It’s just so much easier to leave the house when you’re reasonably sure that what you’re wearing looks good on you than when you aren’t. I guess this can all be summed up as self-consciousness.

What’s one thing you’d love to try that you haven’t?
Pants that are not just blue jeans. I know for a fact that they make pants in other colors now.

What do you think of your “after” look?
I like it! It’s really fun. Very summery, very nautical, very…non-Jewish (I’m Jewish). I could see doing some lovely day drinking in this look. Cape Codders for all my friends!

Is it something you think you’d wear in real life?
Nah, I don’t think I would. I love the shirt and would totally wear it, but together with the shorts and shoes, it’s a bit too Vampire Weekend for me. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

10. Tiger, 28

Macey J. Foronda/BuzzFeed.com

Get the Look: Levi’s button-down shirt, $68, Levis.com; H.E. by Mango Washed Cotton Blazer, $100, Mango.com and Mango stores; Dockers red print alpha pant, $68, Dockers.com; GRAB loafters, $89.95, SteveMadden.com.

Describe your usual style:
I like minimal, simple, basics with a touch of patterns. Dark colors: black, navy, gray, olive green, etc…

What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to men’s fashion?
Wearing the same colors without looking like you wore the same thing from yesterday.

What’s one thing you’d love to try that you haven’t?
I would love to try ties and bow ties but couldn’t tie a tie if my life depended on it.

What do you think of your “after” look?
I like it. I feel very happy?

Is it something you think you’d wear in real life?
Maybe if I had more storage in my closet.

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