Looking fashionable, intelligent, and unique is exactly what a smart casual look will achieve. It’s a great middle ground between traditional business-wear and casual attire. Now of course this isn’t to get confused with business casual which has a lot of similarities. Here is what you need to know about dressing smart casual.
Smart Casual Clothing
If you have the basic menswear pieces in your wardrobe, then you’re well on your way to putting a smart casual outfit together. What you also need is some casual clothing and even some simple streetwear pieces to mix in at times. These include:
Sweaters/Cardigans: These are simple, easy to wear, and are a staple in a smart casual look book. Cotton sweaters are more lightweight which makes them suitable for warmer weather. For the fall and winter consider taking advantage of a thick wool sweater. Wear them over top a t-shirt or dress shirt for an even classier appearance. Ditch the tie too, it would work with business casual, but it isn’t needed here. Pair with some classic RayBan sunglasses for a super cool look!
Dress shirts: Tucking one of these into your jeans with matching shoes and belt is a sure-fire way to look amazing. For example blue jeans, brown loafers, a brown belt, and a white dress shirt is a simple colour palette you could go after. You could always throw something over top this like a blazer, cardigan, or leather jacket. Utilize patterns, interesting colours, and designs to make the outfit more casual-balanced.
Denim jackets: An easy jacket to layer and it inherently has a casual demeanour to it. Wear a sweater under one with jeans and dress boots. This is a classic fall look that is rugged but smart at the same time.
Suit jackets: Nothing looks quite as good as a well tailored suit jacket on a man. Whether it is tweed, wool, plaid, or anything in-between, if you have a suit jacket it’s going to come in handy. To create a smart casual look with one, pair it with jeans, sneakers, and a t-shirt. The sneakers should be simple like white low tops. You could switch them out for simple oxfords, loafers, or chukka boots even.
T-shirts: For layering and wearing on their own, cotton or linen t-shirts are mandatory. You probably already have a few laying around already. Use these to create simple outfits like wearing with them jeans and boots.
Smart Casual Pants
You have a few different avenues to take for pants. The first is the holy grail of many outfits, jeans! A basic pair of blue denim jeans with a slim fit are going to be staple for many smart casual outfits. Grey and black are other colours that could come in useful at times.
The next is the classic chino that you probably already have. If not consider picking yourself up a pair in khaki, navy, or olive. Since we are going for a more casual ensemble, feel free to mix in more vivid colours to make your look stand out. Chino pants can have a bit more slack to them but still aim for a slim fit if it is to your liking.
While not necessarily a pant per-se, you will also want some shorts in your wardrobe. Cotton or linen shorts that end just above the knee are timeless. These you could wear with a dress shirt and loafers, t-shirt and blazer, and similar combinations. Both jeans and chinos look great with sweaters on top of them. For example a red sweater with blue jeans or khaki chinos creates a simple contrast and you could wear dress shoes, boots, or sneakers to finish it.
Smart Casual Shoes
To pull off the smart casual style with certainty you’ll require some staple footwear to rotate through:
Sneakers: These are the epitome of casual shoes. White low top sneakers like we mentioned before are a great place to start. Blue and black are other colours that would work with a lot of outfits too. Don’t go overboard and can get sneakers that are too flamboyant, you just need some simple low tops at the end of the day. Wear them with jeans and a dress shirt under a cardigan to create a youthful but dapper image.
Oxfords: Cap toe, wingtips, brouges, anything goes here really. A rule of thumb is that the simpler the dress shoe is(Cap toe or wholecut), the more formal it is. When you begin to add extra detailing and design, the shoe starts to lean more towards the casual side of the scale. Oxford shoes should be worn with jeans, jeans, and trousers but never with shorts.
Boots: For the fall and winter weather you want a nice pair of boots. Dress boots, chukka boots, and chelsea boots are your main considerations. Chukka and chelsea boots lean more on the casual side making them better choices for smart casual ensembles.
Loafers: Two words that describe the loafer are comfortable and classy. You’ll have no issue blending these into your smart casual outfits. You could wear any pants, shirts, and it will incredible. Brown is the most versatile colour and styles like tassel loafers are highly encouraged here.
Smart casual is all about finding that nice mix between dressing classy but relaxed. You can wear this style to any occasion as long as it isn’t overly formal. Work, running errands, meeting with clients, school, and alike are great times to sport this look. For accessories you can never go wrong with a dress watch or chronograph watch. A messenger bag should be accompanying you to keep all of your daily belongings too.