As a dress code that’s used in such a wide spectrum of scenarios, smart casual dressing offers such a large variety of options that it can quickly become daunting to the average man. Read on for our guide on how you should approach this tricky sartorial purgatory.
How to Style Smart Casual for Men
The Shirt & Jogger Combination
A tricky ensemble to nail, when styled correctly a pair of joggers can form a solid base for a smart casual outfit. Opt for slim fit cuffed joggers for a cleaner look, then team them with a crisp white oxford shirt, minimal trainers and a fitted bomber. The monochromatic outfit gives off an air of sophistication while preventing it from looking overly laid-back.
The T-Shirt & Suit Combination
A timeless, go-to smart casual look; swap your suit shirt for a simple tee and you’ve immediately brought down the formality of the outfit, you can also scrap the suit jacket in warmer months and still appear made up. This look is great for smart casual events as if your feeling underdressed, just button up your jacket and you’ll be looking solely smart again.
The T-Shirt and Trousers Combination
While dependant on the fit and colour scheme, pairing a simple t-shirt with some casual trousers can work perfectly in a smart-casual setting. Keep your colour choices relatively subdued and aim for slim fit cuts to avoid looking bulky. As below, mixing in a muted jacket or coat, like a Harrington, can finish the look with a stylish, yet understated, flourish.
The Roll-Neck and Overcoat
Another classic, go-to smart-casual look; mixing a roll neck jumper with a smart overcoat is one of the easiest outfits on this list that’ll work for almost any man’s personal style. You can afford to be a little more liberal with your colour choice here as the structured nature of the overcoat will compensate for any bolder shades you decide on. Add in some fitted trousers or slim cut jeans and you’re all set!
The Jumper and Shirt Combination
While throwing a smart jumper on top of a collared shirt isn’t exactly a new concept; it, arguably, could be seen as the pinnacle of smart-casual dressing. We’ve up-styled the look by adding a trendy shearling jacket over the jumper and some slim cut jeans to keep the outfit clean and relatively smart.
The Best Smart Casual Outfit Combinations
Smart Casual for Work
While, arguably, not suited to those working in a more traditional office setting, men’s smart casual attire is a great alternative to a suit in most workplaces. The main factor to consider here is the typical dress code of those around you. If all you’re colleagues are suited and booted every day, it’s probably best to stick to that end of the sartorial spectrum. If things are a little more relaxed, the smart casual outfits below are a great place to start.
Smart Casual for a Party
This is typically the dress code for formal parties such as wedding receptions, birthday or anniversary parties. The best look to stick to is a formal one. Opt for a blazer teamed with fitted trousers, either suit trousers or a pair of quality jeans. Finish off with a crisp white shirt, and throw on either a pair of loafers or some other relatively formal footwear.
Inspiration: Smart Casual Men
Still a little stumped about what is smart casual for men? We’ve included a few more killer looks below that’ll have you nailing this notoriously tricky dress code in no time!
Smart Casual Workwear
The first option below is a simple, smart-casual look that any man could recreate from his wardrobe, simply swap out your shirt for a white t-shirt and you’re all set!
Smart Casual Party Wear
Both outfits below are great examples of smart casual dressing. While they’re incredibly simple in design, the looks maintain their smart feeling with a superior fit and clever choice of contrasting complimentary colours.
Smart Casual Summer Wear
Finally, the time-honoured t-shirt and suit trousers combination is one of the easiest ways to showcase your superior dressing skills, particularly for those looking to nail men’s smart casual summer wear. A quality belt is your best friend here, invest in a decent leather number and you’re all set!
How To Dress Smart Casual
If you’re looking to nail the smart casual dress code for men, the secret lies in the effortless pairing of formal and laid-back pieces. While most casual clothing will work, to avoid looking overly casual it’s best to keep things well fitted and relatively muted in colour, avoiding bold prints or patterns.
On That Note
The smart casual dress code is a difficult one to master, but one that is well suited to a diverse range of events or scenarios. With so many outfit combinations to achieve the look, there’s an option for everyone’s wardrobe, giving it the ideal opportunity to work its hardest. It’s really all about basing the look on the event or place you’re heading to, while not overthinking the do’s and dont’s.
Just remember to add in a minimum of one key element, keep to a neutral colour palette, stick to the smarter end of the style spectrum, and wear everything with confidence. The smart casual attire invite will no longer have you questioning your sartorial prowess and, thanks to this guide, you’ll have mastered the art of mixing the formal with the not-so-formal in no time!
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