You’ve undoubtedly come across the term ‘smart-casual’ several times before. But what does it actually mean, and more importantly, how can you master the smart-casual dress code this season?
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You’ve undoubtedly come across the term ‘smart casual’ several times before. But what does it actually mean, and more importantly, how can you master the smart-casual dress code this season? Smart casual is arguably the one area where men most struggle when it comes to their outfit.
Why? It’s such a grey area and often tricky to define – everyone seems to have their own unique take on just what constitutes ‘smart casual’ — given that it’s a dress code that can be applied just as easily to a wedding or an out-of-office function as to a Sunday lunch.
On the surface, smart casual seems reasonably straightforward — not too casual yet not too smart — but in reality, it’s rarely that simple. Faced with a smart casual dress code, many men are perplexed. Does a sharp suit teamed with leather trainers make the grade? How about a blazer with an open-neck shirt and jeans? It tends to leave most men asking themselves, what is smart casual?
See, it’s not always easy to qualify. Since smart casual is such a broad dress code, with so many outfits seemingly ticking the box, it’s harder than most to really pin down.
But as smart casual becomes more and more mainstream (it’s now a commonly stated dress code on many invitations), it’s important to master the look and to have a few smart casual options ready in your wardrobe artillery. After all, when done correctly, smart casual — which, as a rule of thumb, can be interpreted as a look that is considered yet informal — can be one of the most versatile styles a man can wear.
Rather handily, given that so many styles of outfit fit neatly into the smart casual category, that means there’s a wealth of choice, whatever your personal style, body shape or budget. So, whether you’re a denim connoisseur, a sucker for sharp tailoring or someone who places priority on comfort, there’s a number of ways that you can easily dress them up or down to create a smart casual look that works for you.
SMART CASUAL OUTFIT IDEA 1 – SUIT & TRAINERS
It’s a favourite look of style hounds, but teaming a razor-sharp suit with trendy trainers is strictly for the fashion-forward man. It’s gaining momentum, though, and ticks the smart casual box perfectly.
Wearing a suit with sneakers is a tricky combination to pull off since, essentially, it involves taking one of the smartest and most traditional pieces in menswear (i.e. the suit) and pairing it with footwear that is resolutely casual (i.e. the trainer).
If styled correctly, though, suit-and-sneakers is a smart casual look that’s brilliantly contemporary and flags your interest in fashion. With the right footwear (leather trainers, ideally), it can even be office-appropriate on a Dress-Down Friday.
Key to nailing the suit and trainers look is to keep things plain and simple. Opt for an understated suit in, say, charcoal grey or a dark navy. Keep the rest of the outfit understated, holding off any bold patterns or colours. Some box-fresh white (alternatively, brown or even black) leather trainers create a sleek look, while an old-school-style pair in suede will give the outfit a trendy finishing touch.