Smart casual is one of those style terms that is ambiguous and difficult to understand. We’re here to break it down for you, from the bare basics to creating a suave outfit. The first thing you need to know is that smart casual is informal yet polished attire. You can create the look by blending casual and formal pieces of clothing together to craft a relaxed and polished appearance.
The key to nailing this style is understanding context – smart casual for a wedding reception is very different from smart casual for a job interview. To elaborate, smart casual for a job interview would entail a smart blazer, white Oxford shirt and trousers, particularly if you aspire to work in the arts, media or advertising. For a wedding reception, you have so much more liberty, especially if the event leans towards the casual side.
Luckily, suits are versatile and lend themselves well to the smart casual style. Keep reading to learn just how this pertains to your wardrobe.
Start with The Jacket
The first rule of the smart casual code is to choose a jacket that you wouldn’t wear to the office. For the most part, blazers will work better than overcoats. If you do opt for overcoats, they veer on the side of formal but dress them up with a nice cashmere or wool sweater, denim and voila – you’re good to go.
If you are feeling adventurous, sport a birdseye, or plaid/windowpane sports jacket. If you are a little conservative, sticking to solid colors for your jackets help to create a balance. Black, navy blue, light blue and light grey are all fantastic choices as they give you the freedom to play around with the rest of your outfit. Choose a jacket that you can pair effortlessly with jeans, trousers, chinos and shorts.
Haven’t you always wanted to wear jeans with your jacket? Smart casual dressing is when you absolutely should. When selecting denim to go with your blazer, always choose darker shades and mid-wash jeans – anything lighter and too textured will throw off your look.
Smart casual is the time to wear your shorts with a jacket too. If you would like to pull this off, work with a tailor to take in your measurements thoroughly, especially at the bottom of the jacket. Visit us at Raja’s Fashions and we’ll show you the perfect jacket to wear with shorts.
Pro Tip: Fit is everything for your trousers and jeans – baggy trousers are a great way to take your outfit from polished to scruffy.
Your choice of shirt is at your liberty. With your jacket in place, you can opt for just about anything, from a white Oxford shirt with your charcoal jacket to a grey Henley to complement your black blazer.
Pro Tip: Always choose a shirt that looks smart enough on its own, without a tie.
Wearing a t-shirt with your jacket? Boost your style points with a sweater in cashmere or light wool. If you’re feeling brave, go with a turtleneck. Stay clear of polo shirts for the most part.
Hold on tight to your loafers. They’ll get a whole lot of love when you go for smart casual. Your shoes are arguably the most important part of your outfit. Be liberal with your colors and just remember to create balance with the rest of the outfit. Grey jacket with jeans and sweater? Rock some brown loafers. Black blazer with tan sweater? Black Chelsea boots.
Smart casual is the time to whip out those pocket squares and lapel pins. If you’re going to sport pocket squares and no tie, just ensure that the color is balanced with your shirt and jacket – you don’t want to look too colorful. Watches are a fantastic way to put the ‘smart’ in smart casual. Tip: Stay away from digital ones!
- Buy shirts which can be worn tucked in or out.
- Invest in a pair of loafers. These can be worn with everything, from your chinos to your shorts.
- Accessorize. Hats are great as are watches (as long as they’re not digital).
- Invest in a smart blazer, sports coat or jacket which you wouldn’t wear to work.
- Wear hoodies, bomber jackets and the like if you’re going for smart casual.
- Wear torn denim.
- Pair worn-out or old t shirts with your new jacket, sweater and denim. They’ll look out of place and you’ll certainly lose style points.
- Sport baseball caps
Smart casually dressed men look refined and relaxed when they wear the right type of attire. Even when you’re dressing down for an occasion, there’s no reason to drop the style game. If you’re new to dressing smart casual, drop in to Raja’s Fashions – we’ll be delighted to share our expert tips with you!