The Dead-Simple Work Outfit That GQ Editors Can’t Stop Wearing

If your job is like ours, you’ve entered the corporate psy-op hellscape known as the hybrid work week. Which days should you go in? Which conference room is available? Is Madison still holed up in the phone booth? And what do you wear to work in a part-time, partly-filled office?

We can’t answer every one of those questions (though we see you texting, Madison), but a few GQ staffers have, almost in unison, arrived at the platonic workday fit for our court-mandated get-togethers at GQ HQ: a gray knit top and a pair of black trousers. Like when John Nash suddenly sees the solution to a cloud of Latin letters in A Beautiful Mind, this easy-wearing duo has floated up from the noise, presenting itself as the obvious remedy to one of modern life’s most brain-aching conundrums.

The pairing of a gray knit top with black trousers has everything you want in a work fit right now: Gravitas. Comfort. Simplicity. That last one shouldn’t be discounted; every GQ staffer you see here waxed poetic about the easy math behind the duo. “I love how simple and inconspicuous it is,” says Anthony O’Baner, Jr., executive assistant to the global editorial director. Or, as fashion writer Samuel Hine confessed: “Honestly, this is a fit I go for when I’m too busy to think about what I want to wear, because it looks good with basically any footwear or outerwear, and it’s dressy-ish but still comfortable.”

Alex Wedel in a Woods & Gray cashmere polo, COS trousers, and an absolute smolder

Samuel Hine in a Dior polo and Maryam Nassir Zadeh pants

Then commerce writer Gerald Ortiz set off a firecracker in our brains, explaining the allure of the gray knit polo and black pants outfit thusly: “I like to think of my work outfits as ‘casual business’ and not ‘business casual,’ if that makes sense.” (It kinda does!) “Wearing a gray knit with black trousers might not be formal enough for office situations that require a suit, but for everyone else, it’s a respectable look that’s super approachable and professional.”

That the unimpeachable gray-and-black pairing feels almost too obvious is both the point and the brilliance. Instead of worrying about color theory, you can put your partially caffeinated morning brain waves toward the rest of the fit. “The neutrality puts more of an emphasis on playing with silhouette and shape,” says GQ’s senior manager of audience development Alex Wedel. “I prefer to keep the pants and polo oversized and pair them with a big honkin’ loafer to spice the fit up.”

Here’s some more styling advice for the gray-knit-black-pants look, courtesy of the world’s most stylish menswear team: “Mix textures.” “Loafers, boots, sneakers are all within bounds.” “Pay more attention to the overall fit—once you have that locked in, everything else falls into place.” “Sometimes you have to wear a brown belt instead of a black one. “Don’t overthink it.”

Anthony O’Baner, Jr. in The Row shirt and trousers

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