You might have heard the term smart-casual being thrown about when it comes to dressing codes and in fashion magazines. But what exactly is smart casual? It’s something between completely casual dressing and formal business dressing and is quite versatile. You can wear it anywhere from beach parties to office gatherings, and even many weddings these days. However, smart casual is basically a balancing act between a laid-back style and formal dressing. You have to find the right mix of the two and make it look effortless.
Most offices these days have smart casual as their dress code. This means that you can pull off a neat polo with a decent pair of khaki pants. However, you shouldn’t be too lazy with this style. It has a lot of potential for some truly elegant and attractive outfits. You can really play around with it and stand out among the sea of plain blazers and the same brown loafers around you. Here’s a handy guide on how you can look your best in a smart casual way.
What’s the Occasion?
First of all, you need to know what occasion you’re dressing for. Is it a beach party, a day at the office, or an evening dinner? For the first, you can get away with an untucked button-up shirt with a pair of well-made cotton shorts and your smartwatch. Obviously, you can’t do the same for work. There, you’ll have to switch into a decent pair of jeans or chinos with a crisper shirt, albeit not buttoned up all the way.
When it comes to smart-casual weddings or evening events, you might want to switch to a blazer and an attractive watch along with better chinos or trousers and loafers instead of the usual sneakers.
Jeans, Shorts, Or Chinos?
All three of these options fit well with the smart-casual style. When it comes to denim, make sure you go for darker washes without any embellishments, rips, or overly distressed areas. You might also want to wear a belt on your jeans to elevate them more towards the smart side of smart casual.
As for shorts, they are a bit more tricky to pull off, but when you do wear them well, they are a great option. As long as they are not cargo shorts or are too short, you can wear them at events that are more towards the casual side of smart casual, such as beach soirees.
Do You Need A Blazer?
If you’re going to a business event or a wedding that stipulates a smart casual dress code, a blazer is a good idea. Make sure it’s a well-made blazer but isn’t too structured around the shoulders or lapels. It should fall naturally, but still, look well-fitted on you. Do not make the mistake of wearing suit jackets as blazers, as they are completely different things.
For more casual events like brunch with friends, you can do away with the blazer and wear something like a peacoat or a cotton outerwear jacket.
How Can You Add Layers?
Leading on from the last point, some occasions may call for a blazer. However, most of the time, you won’t need to add one to your outfit. Instead, you can opt for less dressy layers. A cardigan is a great option for layering in a smart-casual style.
Furthermore, you can also opt for turtlenecks for a more classic look. One of the best things about smart casual style is that you even incorporate your T-shirts. Just make sure it’s not a shirt with loud graphics or slogans, and it works well with your outer layers. For example, a Breton stripe T-shirt under a navy cardigan with dark jeans and plain white sneakers is an excellent smart-casual outfit. So, mix it up, and use your wardrobe to layer properly.
What Shoes Should You Wear?
According to the occasion, you can make a wide range of shoes work with a smart casual outfit. One of your staples can be a plain white pair of sneakers that goes with almost every outfit. Avoid running shoes and sneakers with loud logos on them.
Loafers and moccasins are other great options for more discerning gentlemen who do not feel comfortable wearing sneakers everywhere. To dress them down, wear them with no-show socks and pants which end above the ankle. A decent pair of Toms is also a great option to incorporate into your smart-casual footwear.
How Should You Accessorize?
The difference between smart casual and business casual can be as small as not wearing a tie or cufflinks. When it comes to accessorizing, you can opt for your favorite watch, neutral fitness bands, or a wrist accessory or two. Do not go overboard with your accessories and do not wear too much of them. Keep things classy and lowkey, and you’ll surely rock the smart casual style.
In conclusion, smart casual is a generic term under which you can wear a large variety of outfits. Just keep things neat and classy, and you’re good to go!