Men’s smart casual & how to style it

words Al Woods

It’s likely that you’ve been invited to an event where ‘smart casual’ was the dress code. But the line can sometimes become blurred between too formal and too casual, so what should you be wearing? Retailers of CT Shirts, tells us more:

 

Smart casual — the safe option

If a dress code hasn’t been provided, it can be difficult to decide what to wear. Some offices and workplaces have ‘dress down Fridays’ or a casual dress code every day. However, it’s still nice to make an effort and look reasonably smart — even if this doesn’t involve a three-piece suit and tie.

What is smart casual dress code for restaurants? Events such as a dinner party often ask for guests to dress ‘smart casual’. This is where a formal tuxedo is not expected, but jeans and a T-shirt would be frowned upon. Or, for a first interview — it may specify casual in the email, but first impressions count, and your outfit should still be carefully considered.

To put it simply, smart casual is good for a safe option. It avoids the error of looking like you don’t take pride in your appearance and prevents you feeling out of place by dressing too formally.

Buying a few staple items

Don’t think that you have to spend a lot of money when deciding to dress smart casual. Simply invest in a few staple items to achieve the look.

Consider buying a blazer. It depends on your fashion preferences as to what sort of blazer you opt for — just choose one that you feel confident in and it will show. An unstructured blazer is perfect for men who prefer a relaxed look and who want to avoid a rigid and overly tailored shape. Some believe that these are more comfortable too, as they are without inner folds and allow you to move more freely. A structured blazer, on the other hand, emphasises the shape of the body. It gives more of a snug fit to the wearer and is generally more expensive, as it takes great skill to create an impressive jacket of this style. Navy is a good choice for a blazer as it is very versatile and not as formal as the traditional black jacket.

Some nice footwear won’t go unnoticed, either. Depending on your preferences, choose a pair of brogues or loafers to complete a smart casual look. Brogues are uber stylish and recognisable by their detailed leather uppers and thin laces. Loafers, on the other hand, are lower shoes, so the ankle is exposed. They do not have laces and often have a low heel, and can be seen as less formal than the brogue because more of the foot is on show. In terms of colour, brown is a good shade to go for as it can be paired with denim or smart trousers, whereas black may be too dark to complement some colours.

A good idea would be to buy trousers that match with your outfit. A light pair of chinos are a good option for warmer weather, as they can brighten up your outfit whilst keeping you looking smart. If you feel more comfortable in jeans, try a darker denim as this gives off a more formal vibe — just avoid distressed or ripped denim at all costs.

Bringing it together

What should you wear on top? A jumper or shirt can be appropriate.

Roll-neck jumper

For colder months, a roll-neck jumper can be really effective. This garment is perfect for layering and looking smart. Pair a black wool roll-neck with a grey slim-fit jacket and coloured pocket square to become the master of business casual. Match your socks with your pocket square for co-ordination and wear your favourite pair of swanky trousers.

Keep your collar open

One way to dress down your outfit is with an open collar. A buttoned-down shirt paired with a double-breasted jacket can create an ideal look for the fashion-conscious gentleman. Choose complementing colours for the shirt and blazer, such as different hues of blue or grey, to really make your outfit come together. Slip into tailored trousers, chinos or jeans and pair with brogues to complete the look.

So, now you know how to rock smart casual, what are you waiting for? Of course, keeping your outfit neat and tidy is important too, so don’t let smaller details drop you into the ‘casual’ bracket. Have a lint roller on hand before leaving the house and make sure you always look your best.

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