Smart casual is a style category that is simple to wear but also versatile. Men can wear much of the same clothing day-to-day in the summer and winter alike.
Smart casual outfits can include a button-down shirt, blazer, and white sneakers, as well as dark chinos with a t-shirt, bomber jacket, and boots. Simply put, smart casual outfits combine formal and casual outfits to create a unique blended appearance that will leave you looking stylishly well-dressed.
What Is Smart Casual?
Smart casual is the ability to enhance your casual appearance by including some refined details. It can work well as casual, business casual, and dressy attire when dressed correctly. For example, casual wear is the casual clothing you would wear to do laundry or grocery store shopping, such as jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers.
Smart casual is a men's fashion trend that avoids formalities and strict dress codes. It encourages playfulness and experimentation within a mature and sophisticated style.
If you prefer a more casual look, you'll want to invest in essential quality items. Denim jeans, chinos, button-down dresses, polo shirts, blazers, boots, sweaters, jackets, and coats can look very similar to smart casual in New York during the summer.
Business Casual vs Smart Casual
Smart casual is meant to be expressive and unique. Business casual is broader and more limited. Try out some items you normally would not wear in the office. Take your favorite gingham shirt out of the office and pair it with a cardigan and jeans for your next outing.
Casual Smart Outfits
Blazers are ideal for smart casual outfits because they can be worn in a variety of ways. They can be layered with sweaters or coats for more visually complex outfits. Look for lightweight, relaxed fabrics, like a chino, tweed, or linen. This will keep the smartness of a blazer from slipping out of place with the rest of your outfit.
When it comes to fashioning smart casual, you have a lot of flexibility in your footwear choice. Brogues, boots, and Derbys may be worn down, but substituted for suede shoes for formal outfits. In recent years, minimalist sneakers have become more commonplace.
A button-down shirt will always work, although you may want to experiment with less traditional colors. Try out these olive shirts or salmon short-sleeve button-down tops for a more polished look.
If you go with button-downs, you may incorporate some stylish casual clothing. T-shirts should not only drape nicely on your jeans, but they should also include subtle touches. For example, a long-necked sweater might work better with khakis and boots.
A black moto jacket pairs well with white shirts and Chelsea boots for a more casual appearance. Eisenhower jackets, mechanic jackets, Harrington jackets, and more. Choose a style that works for you and your wardrobe.
Sweaters are a staple of autumn and winter layering. Wear a lightweight fishermans sweater over a button-down blouse or skirt for a casual look that will still retain a bookish charm. Cardigan sweaters include ribbed sweaters, quarter-zip sweaters, and buttoned sweaters.
Jeans work wonderfully with smart-casual outfits. A well-fitted jeans in a traditional dark wash are a very versatile item. Lighter washes are great for the summer, but you sacrifice some flexibility with your outfits. Stick to darker, simpler washes for more formal outfits, and lighter washes for more casual occasions.
Chino pants are the perfect foundation for a smart-casual outfit and come in a variety of colors and cuts. Whether you prefer a casual look or a semi-formal look, get them as starter pieces. Use soft pink to create a chic look that can still be dressed up.
Shorts should be worn with caution when dressing smart casual. They should be made of chino or linen, with simple construction and timeless shapes. For outdoor gatherings, wear some stone shorts with a powder blue cotton button down, sunglasses, and no-show socks.
Ties tend to be too formal, so choose styles that are fun or less formal. Sunglasses are a great way to brighten up your smart casual wardrobe.
Men's Smart Casual
- Dress your more formal pieces down but be careful not to make them appear out of place
- Find the fit that looks best on you
- Button-down shirts are versatile and fit in well with smart-casual
- Use the versatility of chinos to your advantage
- Mix up your layering pieces with blazers, jackets, and sweaters
- Finish your look with pieces that impart your personal style