The Ultimate Guide To Smart Casual Dressing for Men
"Smart casual", by default, is an oxymoron. It's two words, that mean opposite things, thrust together to create a new blended style for men that can cause confusion. Should you lean more towards one or the other when defining what items of clothing to put together to create your smart casual outfit? Are jeans allowed? Are trainers allowed? So many questions that need answering, so let us try bust some of the myths.
If you take ONE thing from this blog post it should be the err on the side of caution. In most occasions, it is better to be a little too smart than a little too casual...you don't want to be turned away!
What is the smart casual dress code?
Don't take this dress code name too seriously and show up with a bow tie and trainers on. Be socially aware. What is smart for one occasion or venue could be deemed casual for another, so be sure to check specifics of the event you're attending.
Generally, though, it means to avoid things trainers and joggers, but also be mindful not showing up in black dress shoes and a shirt and bowtie, or possibly even tie. There's ambiguity here, and there is certainly an element of playing in the grey, but we like to think of a general rule of a nice blazer and collared shirt of some kind (we'll talk about options), which leaves a little more flex for the lower half of the style!
Are jeans smart casual?
Yes, jeans can be smart casual, but you should be mindful which style of jeans you are thinking of going with.
Anything with rips in them or really deliberate fades would almost definitely lean towards being too casual for most occasions. However, darker hues, such as a deeper navy or a more modern black jean can definitely work for smart casual occasions. Sometimes, black jeans look like smarter trousers or chinos anyway.
Also, think about fit. Generally, we like to go with a skinnier fit jean, and as mentioned above, getting these in black makes them smarter. Black skinny jeans, we think, as well give you many more options when it comes to what to style them with. The skinnier fit on the jeans as well means they are great to turn up and expose, what we hope, are some excellent smart casual socks.
Can I wear sneakers as smart casual?
Traditionally, you would rarely be able to wear sneakers to any sort of smart casual occasion, but the options are so much wider now and there are many more options when it comes to sneakers, some of which can look smart. However, if you are not keen on an oxford or monk leather shoe, you can always turn to a slightly more casual Chelsea boot, which is a favourite of ours with turned up jeans or chinos.
Are hoodies smart casual?
In a word, no. Although there are a lot of grey areas when it comes to smart casual dress, we think this is a pretty clear one; hoodies are not smart enough. You will find very few venues and occasions that will allow hoodies as part of a smart casual dress code.
However, fear not as there are number of other jumper options that can work as part of a smart casual dress code. A roll neck under a blazer is a safe but stylish choice, for example, or you can try a shirt under a v-neck jumper with or without a tie for a slightly smarter look. Either way, the blazer is your best friend here!
Can I wear a t-shirt as smart casual?
Yes, there are options to wear t-shirts and still adhere to a smart casual dress code, but, like the jeans we talked about, you need to be mindful about which type of t-shirt to wear and we would always recommend to go with a polo.
A collared polo tee is immediately a smarter option than other t shirts, but depending on what else you wear with it you can sometimes get away with a plain white tee under a blazer. Again, know your event and if in doubt, always go with a collared option.
Let us summarise with what we believe to be the key takeaways from this post.
1. As outlined at the start, err on the side of caution. Generally, it is always better to be a little too smart than a little too casual.
2. Know your occasion. The term smart casual can mean different things depending on where you are going and what you are doing, and if you're going to a specific venue, you should always check specifics of their dress code as it is not uncommon for places to list a specific type of clothing that is not allowed.
3. Always have a nice, versatile blazer in your wardrobe that you can wear with a variety of shirts.
Happy dressing, and if you need help with the socks part of the outfit, you know we're here for you.