Men’s ‘smart casual’ dress code is the combination between formal and relaxed clothing, balancing both styles. It is about being comfortable and stylish, combining sneakers with suits, t-shirts with pants… The point is to create comfortable outfits that make you look like a sophisticated and successful man.
The style is relaxed yet elevated. ‘Smart casual’ outfits have a modern and versatile style, ideal for the day-to-day life of most men. You can wear a smart casual look to attend more formal events or a meeting with friends.
There is a wide range of possible looks between a refined and a laid-back look. It helps create elegant and chic looks that men can wear to the office, a date, or a meeting. You can look like a gentleman without always having to wear a suit. The ‘smart casual’ dress code includes formal and informal pieces, such as chinos, t-shirts, or sneakers.
Image from MH
THE PRINCIPLES OF THE SMART CASUAL STYLE
‘Smart casual’ style for men allows you to truly express yourself through many combinations of clothing. Specifically, you should make sure that the clothes you choose help convey who you are and what you want to achieve.
You should not limit the use of a smart casual outfit to special occasions. This style can easily become your daily style. It is sophisticated, comfortable, and versatile, so it can be adapted to different occasions.
This style is a great choice to not give up style for comfort, adding elegance and practicality to the wardrobe. Some popular men with a ‘smart casual’ style are David Beckham, Ryan Reynolds, or Jamie Dornan.
Exploring the elegant side of casual wear
This dress code gives men an opportunity to play with fashion and create fun and unique combinations. Wear a suit with a t-shirt. Dark jeans with a blazer and shirt. The outfit should have both casual and formal clothes combined to create harmony between them.
The quality of your clothes makes a bigger difference than the style per se. A quality white shirt with suit pants can look good. Footwear is another relevant point. Simple white leather sneakers have become practically a smart casual staple of any modern office.
Place and occasion
The golden rule is to always keep in mind the place and the occasion. For example, if you are going to a party after work, a smart casual outfit can be as simple as a pair of dark blue jeans and a blue plaid shirt or a polo shirt. On the other hand, if you are attending a wedding, go for gray chinos with a navy blazer and a denim shirt.
WHAT IS THE KEY TO MASTERING THE SMART CASUAL STYLE?
The best way to build a ‘smart casual’ outfit is to abide by the most formal variety within the casual. You should include a blazer, a collared shirt, dress pants or chinos, and quality leather shoes and sneakers. A better fit and personal style, custom-tailored casual wear is recommended.
- Wear shirts without a tie.
- Wear a t-shirt with suits.
- Wear a cardigan instead of vests for a casual look.
- Wear comfortable yet elegant shoes like leather sneakers.
- Wear denim matching with blazers.
- No holes or tears in your clothes.
- No huge logos or neon colors.
- No sweats and flip flops.
- No baggy or tight clothes.
- No see-thru.
THE 5 BASIC GARMENTS FOR SMART CASUAL MEN
Accessories: Accessories are perfect for adding a personal touch to your outfit and enhancing your overall look. You can maintain consistency by using accessories that complement your look, from belts to bracelets.
Buy this bracelet from Salvatore Ferragamo. Image from Bergdorf Goodman.
Jeans: Well-fitted jeans can easily be worn in more or less dressy outfits, which is why they have been the backbone of casual style since the 50s. If you want to project a more dressed-up image, opt for a quality pair of dark jeans with a straight cut.
Buy these jeans from Tom Ford
Chinos: They have it all: comfortable, easy to combine and find in any price range and perfect for every season of the year. Their versatility makes them essential for a ‘smart casual’ look.
Buy these chinos from Loro Piana
Shirts: A few well-fitting long-sleeved shirts are essentials in your wardrobe. If you want a more relaxed image, you can roll up the cuffs. Start by getting colored shirts that are easy to combine. A good starting point is a classic white shirt.
Buy this shirt from Brunello Cucinelli
Blazer: A jacket is what will distinguish your smart casual look from any other casual outfit. Start with a classic unconstructed blazer in navy blue that can be easily combined with everything in your wardrobe.
Buy this navy blazer from Boglioli Milano
In addition, it can also serve as an additional layer of a style for men in winter. Blazers go well with chinos or jeans; the important thing is that it fits you well.
Image from MH
Polished shoes: The shoes give an elegant touch to your smart casual style and complete your look. A pair of leather sneakers adds a casual touch, while a pair of leather loafers in brown will add elegance to your look. Choose the ones that balance the rest of the outfit.
Buy these brown loafers from Tod’s
5 KEY TIPS TO ELEVATE SMART CASUAL LOOKS
- Dress in layers: Nothing more interesting and with character than seeing a man capable of combining his clothes in many different ways.
- Choose the right fit: Avoid skinny fits.
- Invest in timeless elements: Get items that you will be able to use for years. For example, this could be the case of a designer jacket, quality leather shoes, or a luxury watch. So decide which items you want to keep, and invest in quality versus quantity.
- Get the essentials: When building your wardrobe, start with neutral colors like black, white, navy blue, brown, and gray. These are easy to mix and match and will never go out of style. Once you have the basics of your style, you can add your personal touch with luxurious fabrics, like silk or cashmere, and bolder colors.
- Emphasize your best features: Wear clothes that highlight the best features of your body. For instance, a blazer can provide this effect on your shoulders or a sweater with a round neck makes your chest look broader.
- Bet on high-end pieces: You can choose the most classic pieces, such as a button down style shirt or dress pants, but the fabrics make the difference. From leather and velvet to corduroy, the point is that you stand out for choices full of taste.
- Mind the details: Accessories are always essential in any look. They have the power to elevate it. Select elegant watches, leather belts, masculine bracelets and other accessories to build a stylish and elegant look. The goal is to make the smallest details in your outfit look full of sophistication and purposeful style.
SMART CASUAL OUTFIT IDEAS
Blazer with jeans: It is important that the jeans are straight and in a dark tone, of good quality and that they fit you perfectly to maintain the smart effect, and you can combine them with a pair of chelsea boots or white leather sneakers.
Image from MH
Blazers are always a good option when creating ‘smart casual’ looks because they bring the necessary elegance mixed with something much more comfortable. Put on a basic black t-shirt to give a casual touch.
Shirt and chinos: Combine a pair of khaki, navy, or beige chinos white button-down shirts. As for the shoes, a basic white or brown leather sneakers is an ideal option. For more sophistication, put on a blue blazer and a pair of loafers.
Image from Mr.Draper
Polo shirt and dress pants: A polo shirt combined with suit pants and loafers make up a perfect ‘smart casual’ outfit, which allows you to look sophisticated in all kinds of occasions.
Images from Lookastic and Pinterest
Suit with t-shirt and sneakers: A basic ‘smart casual’ look is the one that combines a suit with a t-shirt and a pair of sneakers. The key to looking good is to not wear a tie and choose a pair of sneakers that are elegant and subtle, such as white leather sneakers.
Images from Pinterest
‘SMART CASUAL’ FOR WORK ATTIRE
Business casual is a style that is neither as formal as a traditional office suit, nor as casual as the t-shirt and jeans we wear on the weekend. Office clothes don’t always have a formal etiquette. It is convenient to wear clothes that look professional but are also endowed with comfort and taste. This formula is also known as ‘business casual’.
In simple terms, business casual is a dress code that is less traditional than suits, shirts, and ties, while still looking professional. For some workplaces, that might mean wearing a loose suit with a shirt and no tie; for others, it might mean wearing a shirt with chinos and derby-style shoes.
Essentials of Business Casual Style
For those who want to master this look, take note of its basics: plain or patterned collared shirt, fine-knit sweater, polo shirt, and tailored pants. Also, get:
- A lightweight blazer, which looks great with a classic dress shirt.
- Polo shirts are appropriate in the warm months.
- Use a bag instead of a backpack or briefcase.
- As for footwear, the two general rules are: 1. If you are wearing a suit and t-shirt, go for something casual, like leather sneakers. 2, If you wear dark, fitted jeans with a jacket and shirt, the lace-up shoes will give an additional touch of elegance to the outfit.
The ‘smart casual’ style is much more than a dress code, it is a way of showing who you are and where you want to go, making a smart twist in the combination of items that range from casual to elegant custom-tailored clothes.
Some brands that offer fashionable and quality clothing for smart casual looks are:
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