The smart casual dress code is a conundrum that manages to stump even the finest fashionistas amongst us. In its simplest form, smart casual can be said to be a blend of both the formal and informal, yet this still manages to cause confusion. Ultimately, smart casual often comes down to interpretation. It’s important to think about the type of event, the location and the context. So, if you’ve got an invite for a party with a smart casual dress code, this is likely to mean something different to smart casual at the office.
Confused? Worry not. Read on as we attempt to give you the answer to the riddle that is men’s smart casual. And if in doubt, think about what you would usually wear in a casual setting, then add or change a couple of items to made it smarter.
What to wear on top:
Men’s Smart Casual Outerwear
A blazer or jacket is a popular choice when you need to add a bit of formality to a casual outfit. They can be paired with a range of different pieces to create an effortlessly stylish, layered look. And when it comes to colour, stick to relatively neutral tones in a lightweight fit for the summer and go for something a bit heavier, like wool, during the winter.
SCOTCH & SODA SINGLE BREASTED BLAZER – £209.95
Shirts are clearly the obvious choice when it comes to men’s smart casual but there are a few things to think about when picking the right one. A fitted white Oxford shirt is a fail safe option for most smart casual occasions but looser fit styles in traditional colours can also work well. Denim shirts are also a great way to add some dimension to your outfit. Tucked in or untucked, either are suitable, but there’s no need for a tie so keep a couple of the top buttons undone.
|TOMMY HILFIGER OXFORD SHIRT
|VIVIENNE WESTWOOD DENIM SHIRT
Smart Casual Knitwear For Men
Now, we know knitwear isn’t the first thing you think of for smart casual attire but, in the middle of winter, you’re definitely going to be reaching for it. A crew neck jumper is the perfect option when adding layers but, if you opt for a textured knit, skip the blazer to ensure a refined look. And if you’re feeling brave, a roll neck is a great option for extra warmth and will make you stand out from the crowd.
|J LINDEBERG BLACK KNIT
|TOMMY HILFIGER KNIT
|JOHN SMEDLEY TURTLE NECK
What to wear on the bottom:
Smart Casual Trousers For Men
Chinos are a smart casual staple and a safe bet when nailing an ambiguous dress code. In terms of colour, the choice is yours. A neutral will work with a number of different outfits so it’s worth investing in a couple of pairs as they will take you from summer through to winter. Jeans are also appropriate but make sure they are well fitted and the denim is dark to ensure you aren’t looking too much on the casual side.
|FARAH LIGHT SAND CHINOS
|ONLY & SONS DARK NAVY CHINOS
|LEVI’S SLIM FIT JEANS
Men’s Smart Casual Shoes
When it comes to smart casual footwear, it’s all about balance. Depending on the rest of your outfit, you can get away with a lot. The go-to for many tends to be a pair of loafers, brogues boat shoes or boots in either a suede or leather. There are some occasions, however, where you can don a pair of minimalistic trainers. But it goes without saying that they need to be looking clean, and gym trainers certainly won’t cut it.
|SPERRY TOP-SIDER BOAT SHOES
|JEFFERY WEST LEATHER BOOTS
|CONVERSE WHITE TRAINERS
Men’s Smart Casual
- For an easy, smart casual look, add a few smart items of clothing to what you would wear casually.
- Ensure what you are wearing is well-fitted and flatters your body shape.
- Chinos and a shirt are your best bet for smart casual attire.
- Most pairs of shoes are acceptable, apart from gym trainers.
- Smartness is a matter of appearance rather than style.
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