Summer Business Casual feat. Marwan Helal

June 22nd, 2011

After receiving mucho positive feedback for February’s “Business Casual with Style featuring Marwan Helal”, we decided to make it a seasonal feature.

As I explained last time, Marwan and I share the opinion that 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.

“These looks are acceptable in my office, which leans slightly toward the more laid-back side of “business casual”. However, with some minor tweaks I think each of these looks could also be appropriate in an environment with a more strict  business dress code – by adding socks or changing to a more formal shoe, for example. As Dan always says, you shouldn’t be copying the looks, but using them for inspiration for how you can make it work for you.”

Here, we followed Marwan for a week in my hometown of Windsor Ontario to see how he handles his business in style during the Spring/Summer season. This time accompanied by a fellow stylish business casual regular, as well as a fellow reader, the beautiful Pearl White.



“I like to wear a tie on Mondays, it helps me get into work mode after a nice Spring weekend”

Bonus Tip: “The secret here is that this is a short sleeve shirt. It’s cooler, more comfortable and perfect for an early morning commute.”

Bonus Tip II: “I go sockless for most of the Spring and Summer. It’s just my preference. I find it more comfortable, and I have no problem getting away with it at my office.”

Bonus Tip III: “This is probably my most versatile shirt. Get a white and blue simple mini check shirt – there won’t be too many pieces in your closet that won’t work with it”



“I love wearing lightweight unstructured blazers to work in the Spring and Suummer. They give you the look and sophistication of a jacket, but without the bulk or restriction.  This unlined cotton number hardly feels like a jacket.”

Bonus Tip: “If you don’t already own one, I strongly recommend investing in a navy or khaki cotton jacket for the warmer months. You won’t regret it. This navy one is another piece that goes with just about anything in my closet… On a side note, I’m convinced that with a properly curated closet, you could essentially get changed in the dark.”

Bonus Tip II: “I typically leave at least one of those two blazers in the office in case something comes up where I need to look more presentable. No matter what I’m wearing one of them usually works.

Bonus Tip III: I try to have my lighter-weight pants hemmed a little shorter, as I find it more appropriate and comfortable for the warmer months. My trousers may seem short to some, but hey, they’re my trousers, not yours.”

Bonus Tip IV: Here’s an example of how to quickly tweak this look for a more strict office dress code: change pocket square to white cotton, add light brown socks, change shoes to dark brown captoes or wingtips.

Bonus Tip V: “This gingham cotton pocket square is ‘made’ (folded) from the sleeve fabric of an old shirt that I cut into a short-sleeve. The shirt was too short in the sleeves anyway. Win/Win.”



This is one of my more straight-forward, straight-to-business looks. Sometimes you want to slide under the radar a little”.

Bonus Tip: Light shirt, dark tie, black lace ups, not much room for error.  Personally I like brown shoes more, and  wear them more often, but wanted to show that black is cool from time to time too.”

Bonus Tip II: Beltless. More in the warmer months. Thought I had enough horizontal lines already.”

Bonus Tip III: “With a horizontally striped tie, I put the tie bar directly on one of the stripes. Again, I like my outfits to read clean, sharp and minimal.”


“From time to time I wear a suit – mostly because I want to. I usually dress it down a little, like here with an open shirt and driving mocs.”

Bonus Tip: “As I mentioned, I love the versatility of my khaki cotton jacket – which is part of this suit. I can get plenty of use out of it, whether it’s the full suit, just the blazer, or just the pants.”

Bonus Tip II: A dark navy belt is a great example of a subtle way to “stand out” while “fitting in”.



“On casual Fridays I usually wear jeans. In the warmer months they’re usually a light wash, subtle pale color or white.”

Bonus Tip: Denim can work with jackets, dress shirts, even ties. Just make sure they fit properly at the waist and their cut and silhouette is cohesive with the jacket – in Marwan’s case that means low rise and tailored slim & straight.

Bonus Tip II: “It’s all about fit. As Dan has said in the past, you’re better off having a well-fitting $200 jacket than an ill-fitting $2,000 jacket.”

Bonus Tip III: “A lot of guys seem shy about pocket squares at the office. Of course, white cotton folded flat is your safest bet, but silk in a pale color is a subtle touch to an otherwise neutral outfit. Especially in the summer when everyone is a little more open to color.”

Thanks for reading, and special thanks to Marwan & Pearl for participating!

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Photography by Alex Crawford.

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  • visalus

    I love Pearl’s outfits here,Love these looks especially Pearl’s outfits.

  • Anonymous

    Like the post.I just wish there wear details about her clothes and accompanying style tips too.Amazing clothes and everythng look very cool together!

  • anilon

    Wow! Love these looks especially Pearl’s outfits. Not only does she have great style, but this lady is absolutely STUNNING!!

    I want to see more of her!!!

  • NaturallyStyledLeah

    I love Pearl’s outfits here, I just wish there wear details about her clothes and accompanying style tips too. I especially liked her tan, vintage map themed bag in Thursday’s look. Who designed it?

    • Pearl

      The bag is from a small vendor in Italy. It is esentially a “no name” haha. If you’d like any other brand infor let me know. Everything else is fairly local:)

      • NaturallyStyledLeah

        Thanks Pearl! Your clothes remind me of J Crew, by the way. J Crew is one of my favorites. :-)

  • anon

    loving the post. but one thing thats bugging me is the structute of the photos.
    the models look a bit dead, you need more life,
    also they look very catalog-y.
    dont have anyone looking down in a picture lest you don’t mean them to be the center of attention, where in the first picture i believe the guy should’ve been more alive.
    just some opinions from a fellow photographer and SB reader.

  • Anne

    Pearl! Where did you get your Monday shoes? I love them! Love this post.

    • Pearl

      Monday shoes are from Aldo:)

  • TO

    Congrats to MAB for being featured in last month’s GQ!

  • chris

    im from windsor also and have had a tough time finding a reliable tailor to do certain alterations such as with blazers. where does your friend get his tailoring done? or can you recommend any good tailors in the city?

    • Marwan

      Sam The Tailor, its located in the plaza behind the Windsor Crossings Outlet.

  • Anonymous

    LOVE IT!!!!!! ONE OF THE BEST POSTS I’VE SEEN IN A WHILE!!! Hats off to you SB.

  • Anonymous

    JC Penney needs its clothes back.

    • SB

      None of the clothes featured in this piece are from JC Penney, per the captions.

      Thanks for reading.


    • Arron

      Pretty lame that people occasionally come on here and leave negative comments.

  • Luis Alcaraz

    Amazing pictures,amazing clothes and everythng look very cool toguether!


  • Kurisutiina

    Love love love all of these looks!
    Pearl, would you be so kind to share where you got your Wednesday/Friday shoes? They are so cute!

    I am definitely showing this post to my husband for some great business casual ideas. I adore the detail of the pocket squares; this is a classy style that is sadly underdone these days.

    • Pearl

      Thank you! They are by Jessica Simpson, and the style is called “Amona”. I purchased them at Nordstrom last season, but I’ve seen them online on a few sites.

  • VB

    On this whole short trouser\flood look, one which I endorse, it seems I am always battling the seamstress when I go get pants hemmed. I honestly want to tell them to STFU and just hem the length I ask, I just got a pair back I swear she added half an inch. errrr!

  • dish

    SB, in more formal situations, would you say that it’s acceptable to wear a tie with your top button undone, like what Marwan is doing on Monday and Wednesday? I ask because most of the shirts that I buy off-the-rack that fit me well in the chest, shoulders, and body happen to be somewhat tight in the neck.

    And as always, great looks. I love the navy shoes and belt from Thursday’s look.

  • Maurice

    phenomenal set. I especially like the blue blazer, white shirt and pink pocket square combo.

  • VB

    On this whole short trouser\flood look, one which I endorse, it seems I am always battling the seamstress when I go get pants hemmed. I honestly want to tell them to STFU and just hem the length I ask, ijust got a pair back I swear she adde a jalf an inch erRrrr!a

    • SB

      Hahaha. This is CERTAINLY not the first time I’ve heard this. If you’ve already tried being VERY specific an straight-forward, try to find a younger/more fashion-forward alterations place.

      Or, you could learn to hem them yourself – it’s a good skill to to learn. Takes 15 minutes, saves you $15 a pair.


    • Kip

      This is why I would never take anything to “my guy”. Make the tailor at the store do the work. Unless it’s a clearance sale, there is usually no charge and if they screw it up they will fix it/replace it/give you your money back. If your a good customer, they will never charge you, if it’s important they will rush the work and they will never screw up.

  • Keaton

    Great post! I feel like maybe some of the negative comments may be readers trying to “knock it because they can’t rock it.” It can be a hard look to pull off and these guys are pros. I love the looks and am slowly trying to perfect the highly tailored pants look!

  • Stan Darsh

    Another fantastic post SB! Who knew Windsor could look so good! Marwan rocks tight pants like no other, the price you pay to look fabulous. I must be sleeping because I usually only see girls as attractive as Pearl in my dreams! Wish I had a few gals like that in my business environment.

    I gotta go purchase some tie bars!
    Thanks for the great tips

  • dre

    By the way, hopefully not stating the obvious, Pearl you look beautiful. I love the looks.

    • Pearl

      Thank you!

  • dre

    This site is getting better and better. I like your creative approaches Dan! AWESOME idea bringing others to portray their unique styles. Big ups!

  • vali

    wow, he is too good at this game!SB I hope you will feature Marwan more often from now on. The pant length doesn’t work for me but everything else…speechless

  • Watchaholic

    Love that blue H&M blazer. Why can I never find things such as those when I go to H&M!

    Great looks, serious blazer envy here!

  • Aydika James

    Excellent tips, excellent examples. I also recommend a lightweight, unstructured cotton blazer for all of my clients come summer (I’m a men’s personal style expert with Hendricks Park). Lifesaver for men who want to look great *and* be comfortable. Many thumbs-ups in this piece, but favorite line that says it all? “My trousers may seem short to some, but hey, they’re my trousers, not yours.”

    Exactly. Thanks for the excellent content!

  • Emmanuel

    Love the looks Marwan! I need a pair of Tod’s in my life, as well!

  • Meghan

    Pearl you look incredible!

  • Emanuel Iuhas

    I just adore the outfits!The colours , the lenght og the pants , the shoes , everything!
    I wanna have a boss so stylish like Marwan Helal!

    Your reader ,

    Emanuel Iuhas
    Visual Merchandiser/Fashion blogger

  • Arron

    What rl jeans is he wearing? I’ve looked everywhere for them.

    • Marwan

      They’re the Ralph Lauren Slim-Fit Foley Wash Jeans.

      • Arron

        Thanks man

  • windsorite

    weird too- last time Marwan was in a post, the first pic was taken at my best friends house in walkverille..i thought of that, checked out where these pics were taken and I noticed my neighbour’s law office.

    keep up the good work SB!

  • windsorite

    I just bought that suit from the gap for less than 100 bucks (in Canada). didn’t even need to be altered, fit like a charm off the rack.

  • Zach

    look on the dudes face is like he just stepped in shit, or saw someone kissing his girlfriend or something.

  • Sartoria Panama

    Dan it’s comical how you pick Thom Browne as an example for influential and respected designers in current menswear!
    But in the real world who goes to work in crop pants? especially in corporate America, I know I’ll be the laugh in the office..

    • SB

      TB’s influence and respect is a fact.

      We have to push at the extremes in order to affect change in the middle.

      You may not want to wear “highwaters” like Browne, but without a doubt he’s helped influence the shape & silhouette of current menswear, specifically pant length, across the board.


    • Kip

      I work for a global investment bank and for the last three years I only wear TB. I don’t care what others think; including Thom. Therefore I have my pants cut at the ankle and not the shin. As Marwan points out, its a seasonal look.

      He doesn’t mention it, but with any shoe if your going sockless wear peds (including vented drivers). Bare feet will destroy good shoes and cheap shoes will give you jungle rot.

      • Connor

        Probably a dumb question, but what are peds?

  • Sartoria Panama

    Marwan’s on Tuesday:
    Apparently the pants are 2,3..sizes too small. It shows on the length and in the thigh, ruins everything!

    • SB

      3 sizes too small? C’mon, we’re getting carried away now.
      As explained, the pants were hemmed to his preference. Feel free to have your tailor cut yours longer.

      Thanks for reading,

      • Mr. Andy

        Mr. Trepanier, I believe Ms. Panama is referring to the pant leg width not length. Clearly, even you can admit that the pant in question is too tight around Mr. Helal’s thighs, crotch, seat. The pulling of the cloth and the under-pressure-about-to-burst appearance are the giveaways. Otherwise, superb work all-around. Respect.

        • Birdie

          The pants may appear tight in the photo, but this is just because his hand is in his pocket, and he is leaning back, causing the pants to ride up a bit. Standing up straight, the thigh is not too tight.

    • Marwan

      Sartoria Panama,

      The pants are neither too high nor tight. It may seem that way because I am leaning on the table behind me, and in result its pinching material on the pant. Take a look at the following picture, the close up of the drivers; you can clearly see that the pants are tailored 2-3 inches longer.

      Thanks for reading.

      • Mr. Andy

        The mystery of the questionable pant fit has been solved — the p-legs rode up while at a leaning-stand (not sitting, a leaning stand of all minor things) because they’re too tight! Hahaha … Mr. Halal, the creases have smoothed out completely in your thighs while standing, albeit while gently leaning. The fit and finish can be improved here, especially on a professional style blog like this. Don’t run the risk of projecting amateurism. I maintain that you’re slightly left of the perfection line here. You are in inspiration regardless.

        • Mr. Andy

          Correction: Helal (my apologies, sir)

          • Marwan

            We’ll just have to agree to disagree my friend.

            Thanks for reading

  • anonymous

    the khakis are way too tight in the thigh, as a designer and stylist you cant post pictures of clothes that do not fit, others in the business will not respect that

    • SB

      Haha. Thanks, but I try not to take advice that involves the word “can’t”.

      Check out one of the most influential and respected designers in current menswear:

      Nevertheless, thank you for sharing your opinion.

      All the best,

      • anonymous

        many would say browne’s clothes are too tight, but thats a matter of personal taste. im just pointing out the fit of the pants in this photo is off, maybe he should be standing differently and not leaning, it just doesnt look right, its all about the details. big fan of your stuff tho Dan, keep it up and good luck, i have great respect for you because you are following your passion and putting in the hard work to create a brand that is truly yours.

  • Pierre

    I could take or leave some of Marwan’s looks, but Pearl is so beautiful I am having trouble breathing. I don’t mean that in a pervy way… she’s just gorgeous. What a pretty girl!

    • Marwan

      Yes she is!

    • Pearl

      Thanks Pierre!

  • paul fredrick

    Im speechless pure genius

  • Fabric Fox

    Top shelf Dan! I like the slow intro of the female fashion. Check out my blog We blog about fabric, survival and life. -FF

  • Connor

    Honestly, I hate tie bars, but the one with the horizontal stripes is nice. It’s one of those subtle things that tells people you know what you’re doing style-wise.

  • Connor

    It’s funny you posted this. My office just decided to allow us to dress business casual the entire summer! Thanks for the ideas!

  • Kip

    Oddly enough, yesterday I stumbled on my company’s U.S. Summer Dress Code while looking for a form on our intranet. Being a Swiss company, they can’t help themselves and naturally it was a hilarious read.

    Some observations regarding Marwan’s Posting. I’m not sure what his business is, but in my book jeans have no place in the office. I think the looks he assembled are great each and every one. Lets focus on execution: With respect to the cardigan, button the top button, unbutton the bottom one or two (your wearing it like a chick in the photo). For your next photo shoot, get some props for your hands; I love a tapered look but with your hands in your pocket on Tuesday it makes your pants look too tight. Actually, they’re too tight. We shouldn’t be able to count your change, determine your size or that you are wearing boxer briefs today!

    • Anonymous

      It all depends on the cardigan. Cardigans fit differently therefore there isn’t a one rule fit all that applies here. Plus, I think if Marwan was to take your advice and do up the top button on this particular cardigan, it would cover too much of his tie.

    • Anonymous

      –These looks are acceptable in my office, which leans slightly toward the more laid-back side of –business casual”. However, with some minor tweaks I think each of these looks could also be appropriate in an environment with a more strict business dress code.”

      Always helps when you read the content.

  • S.

    This post honestly made my day. As a 16 year old in high school, I find dressing in jeans and a shirt to school, a place where I aim to learn, to be disgusting…. however, dressing in a full suit and tie to be a bit over the top when some of the teachers where jeans and a polo to work. I find that this post details a great inbetween. A casual style that shows you mean business, without getting in anyone’s face. Thank you! I hope to see more like this.

  • RH

    Dude, smile – there’s an attractive lady right near you! Oh wait, are they dating in real life? That would explain why it looks like they just got through arguing. All week. Good, clean looks by him, but moreover I really enjoyed the small splashes of color on her (e.g., Wednesday’s belt & purse).

  • JJ

    Useful tips as usual.

  • anonymous

    Is her name really Pearl White? Her parents must have a great sense of humor. Nice pics!

  • John Ryan

    This guy is an incredibly sharp dresser, but always looks like he’s about to kill someone.

    Crack a smile, brochacho.

  • Gagan

    Marwan is definitely rocking an awesome bunch of spring/summer outfits. I can see myself wearing some of those things. Nice job!

  • Jan

    Where can you get this horizontal ties? I know it’s from H. Boss, are they alternatives?

    • Arron

      I think nordstroms brand 1901 has some for a bit cheaper. Plus they’re having their yearly men’s sale, a lot of nice stuff on sale.

  • Erni

    How come no mention of what pearl is wearing?
    Equal opportunity!

    • Pearl

      I’d be happy to provide any info you’d like:) Everything is very affordable – many items from the Gap, H&M, J.Crew etc.

      • Erni

        Pearl, thanks for the’s great to see a lady looking so great with affordable fashion

  • Sylvio

    When can we expect MAB by Dan Trepanier? I am hearing a lot of buzz about the collection.

  • Brian

    Is the suit from GAP a new addition to their lineup? I can’t seem to find it online. Been searching tirelessly for a good cotton khaki suit. Thanks

  • HarrisonK

    Great post! I like how he shows you can achieve some nice looks with affordable clothes.

  • Yaniel

    Lots of great looks today and also a lot of affordable options! Great post.

  • Annie

    Looks amazing. Yah Pearl!!

  • Anonymous

    All of your friends / associates are hot.


    Excuse the poor punctuation/grammar. I am getting my SB fix in on the go via IPhone.



    Marwan killin it again, all really great looks although I am partial to look #2 bc of it’s classic vibe with modern fitting garments. Really well-done! Also liking the last look. I feel like it is extremely overdone (mostly because everyone tries to pull it off with garments that fit terribly) however Marwan’s execution is perfect.

    Stay Fresh,


    • SB

      Thx F2D!

  • mk

    Pearl looks amazing. Great post

  • Mikey Mike

    Love the post. This dude has great style, he definitely understand fit like no other! And Pearl is HOT lol!

    • SB

      Agreed. x2

  • VB

    I literally wore Thursday’s look yesterday, same suit same shirt except I had black driving shoes on. Glad to see I am in good company and also glad I don’t live in Windsor anymore on the off chance I run into Marwan wearing the same thing.haha.

    Halifax, NS (Windsor escapee since 1997)

    • SB

      “Windsor escapee”, eh?

      You can run but you can’t hide!

      Haha, thanks for reading.


  • Another Dan

    The pants are cropped too high for my taste. After this cropped pants phase goes away after a couple of years, it will look silly. Better safe than sorry to go with slightly longer and make the look timeless.

    Plus, he needs to tailor the pants better. Cropped pants need to be tapered in the leg to make up for the extra flapping of the fabric.

    • SB

      To each his own. As we say all the time, pant length is a matter of Personal preference.

      I have to disagree about the leg width though. Marwan’s pants are as slim at the bottom as I would recommend for any business setting. No skinny jeans/pants at the office. I’m pretty sure he already gets them tapered to 15″ – 15.5″ leg opening.


  • Zulhilmi Rahman

    I like the idea of the horizontal stripe tie and the tie bar. That’s genius!

    • SB

      Genius in the details!

      Thx for reading,