If you are reading this blog, chances are you are unsure about the smart casual dress code and looking for inspiration about this popular style of dressing. You’ll be pleased to know that you are not the first person to be confused by this ambiguous fashion choice and you won’t be the last.
When it comes to smart casual dress code, there are plenty of questions that pop into our minds:
- When should I wear smart casual?
- Are jeans a suitable piece of clothing for smart-casual dressing?
- Is smart casual clothing a good choice for men?
Well, we are here to help answer all these questions and help you get the best smart casual look that suits your personality!
What is Smart Casual Attire?
If you want the literal meaning of smart casual dressing let’s look at the Oxford dictionary. The term smart casual means, “neat, conventional, yet relatively informal style of dressing”. However, the Urban dictionary offers a more apt description of smart casual stating, “nonsensical dress code slapped on to various parties, events, and gatherings that causes mass confusion and spectacular results”.
The confusion is caused by the words smart and casual being used to describe the dress code. While casual means putting on anything that’s comfortable and relatively presentable, adding the term smart takes it toward a more formal way of dressing.
To put it simply, the smart casual dress code lands somewhere between casual wear and business casual and should clean, semi-professional, put-together, without being over the top and too stiff and formal.
Let’s further break down the smart casual dressing according to different pieces of clothing:
Smart Casual Blazers
The outerwear is the most important part of any outfit. Whatever you put on at the end should tie your whole look together and should define your dress code for the day. When going for the smart casual look, blazers are a popular choice for outerwear.
Not as formal as dinner jackets or as informal as a jeans jacket, blazers can be paired with different articles of clothing and provide a seamless polished look without looking too stiff.
A wool blazer in neutral tones such as brown, black, blue, and khaki goes well with the rest of your smart-casual get-up and makes you look sharp without being too casual.
Smart Casual Shirts
A lot of men make the mistake of thinking they can get away with wearing their favorite t-shirt when they hear the smart casual dress code. On the contrary, smart casual does not mean you can wear some ratty old tee with the print of your favorite band or some other hideous colorful print. If you want to wear a t-shirt under your blazer, make sure it is in a monochromatic shade like grey or white, is clean, and has a distinguished pattern that isn’t too loud or bright.
Fashion experts recommend a long-sleeved shirt or a collared button-down shirt as the best option for a smart casual look. You should also choose a tailored fit or a slim fit shirt to go under your blazer to give a more streamlined appearance instead of a baggy shirt that might give a rumpled overall look. You can even rock a nice sweater made from wool or luxury cashmere, depending on the occasion, for a smart-casual winter look!
Smart Casual Bottoms
Great fitting jeans are a great choice for the smart casual look, but you should make sure they are not too casual and look a little dressy. However, the beauty of smart casual dressing is that there is a lot of wiggle room and plenty of options to choose from when it comes to bottoms. You can choose some classic chinos or fitted trousers that match the rest of the outfit. Just make sure the colors are versatile like khaki, beige, navy, or even black so that they complement your smart and casual look.
Smart Casual Shoes
The benefit of a smart casual dress code is that it gives you greater freedom when it comes to choosing shoes for your outfit. If you are going for a clean and minimalist look, you can’t go wrong with a great pair of sneakers or classic converse or high tops. However, if you want a more mature and polished look, then we suggest choosing loafers, boots, or oxfords to round out your smart-casual attire.
Smart Casual Accessories
To complete any smart-casual outfit, you need to add some finishing touches with chic accessories. Things like a smart belt, sleek sunglasses, a quality watch, and a scarf for winter outfits enhance the smart casual dress code and elevate your look. However, make sure you don’t choose anything too flashy and lean toward sophisticated yet relaxed accessories.
Smart Casual Dress Code Do’s and Don’ts
With every dress code, there are some dos and don’ts to prevent you from making a fashion faux pas. Here are some things you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to smart casual dress code for men:
- Make sure all your clothes are clean and wrinkle-free.
- Try to avoid any piece of clothing with eye-catching brand names or logos.
- Go for the layered look based on the type of weather.
- Choose the right and good-quality fabrics.
- Do understand the difference between different types of shirt styles, lengths, and fabric cuts and how they can change your entire look.
- Don’t wear pants or shorts with too many pockets.
- Avoid loose-fitting or outwardly athletic shorts such as swim trunks, board shorts, or cargo shorts.
- Skip too baggy or too restricting clothes. Moderation is your friend with smart-casual dressing.
- Avoid choosing any piece of clothing in bright and loud colors, patterns, or graphics.
- Don’t swap your blazer for a suit jacket.
- Don’t wear trainers, flip flops, or athletic sneakers.
- Do make sure everything matches and choose neutral colors and stylish and sophisticated patterns.
The great thing about the smart casual dress code for men is that it gives you more options for self-expression but within the boundaries of sophistication and cohesive pairings. So, go out there and flaunt your personality with smart-casual dressing!