Whether you’re headed out for dinner, a movie or a party, ‘smart casual’ doesn’t need to be complicated or difficult to achieve for the average guy. For me smart casual is all about having fun. You have plenty of freedom with a smart casual look so try some new things and see how it feels.
One of my favourite smart casual go to outfits is the simple (but strong) combination of a fitted plain or patterned shirt, plain blazer and chinos or jeans. Colour wise, some combinations that work well include a brown chino, navy blazer and lighter coloured shirt. A cream blazer, navy chinos with a darker coloured shirt also works well. Alternatively, switch things up and rock a patterned blazer with plain shirt and plain coloured chinos.
Accessories are essential for those who love details. To stand out from the crowd try a contrasting square and/or lapel pin. If you wearing socks, match the colour of the square with the socks.
A tie can fit into the smart casual code, just make sure you add a fun touch with a themed tie clip or go with a quirky bow tie. For most smart casual events you can leave the tie at home and just simply buttoning up your shirt the top button for a different look.
For footwear, try loafers or classic white sneakers with no socks (use low cut non-shoe socks for comfort) or suede shoes with some quirky colourful socks.
My top six tips for smart casual are:
1. Have fun with the outfit. Playful details give a more casual feel and tell people that you are ready to relax and party.
2. Avoid full suits. These fall into the formal dress code. Break the outfit up with some chinos and a sports blazer. If you are heading to an event straight after work, lose the tie and switch your jacket for something that is a different colour to your suit pants.
3. Go tie-less. If you do want to wear something around the neck, go for a playful bow tie – more personality.
4. Go with the no sock look. Just be sure to team with your most comfortable footwear, it’s a casual occasion but you want to make sure that you look good and feel good too.
5. Personality with patterns. If you’re not doing this already – do it. Patterned shirts are a must. I like to find unique short patterns which always attract a second look.
6. Be comfortable. Ultimately, you need to rock what looks and feels right to you.