Darker colours skew more formal, so smartening up can be as simple as turning down the lights. For example, take an olive green bomber jacket, white T-shirt, stonewashed jeans and white trainers.
Now swap the olive bomber for a navy one, and the stonewashed jeans for indigo. Suddenly it feels dressier. Even more so if you swap the white T-shirt for, say, mid-grey or charcoal, and the trainers for navy or black.
The constituent styles are exactly the same, but the overall effect is very different. And the reverse is true: Another major factor that affects the relative smartness or casualness of a piece is texture. Swap the worsted wool for a matte flannel or tweed, however, and you both literally and metaphorically change the feel of the piece. This will also often make the garment seem larger in size, which only adds to the more casual vibe, given that smarter looks are usually sleek and streamlined.
This is a handy rule of thumb and forefinger that you can apply to casualise much any piece: As previously mentioned, throwing a blazer over T-shirt, jeans and trainers is as easy a move as any to nail smart casual. But not all blazers are created equal: As also previously mentioned, a blazer with some texture will rub up the right way with jeans. As will one cut a little shorter, perhaps also with slightly slimmer, more contemporary lapels.
Finally, ripping out the padded shoulders and canvassed chest found in smart blazers will also make them feel more casual, not to mention comfortable. But upgrading to a polo shirt will instantly smarten a casual rig.
It also commonly comes in fabrics such as Oxford cloth or chambray, which are less smooth and shiny. But substituting a fine-gauge knit in merino, cashmere or even cotton for these thick, casual and sporty pieces can lend a soupcon of sophistication. A knitted blazer is somewhere between the two. A word or 23 on roll necks: Legwear is usually a smart casual sticking point. Your pins are an oft-missed opportunity to not formalise an outfit, but also flex.
Going back to the bomber jacket, T-shirt, jeans and trainers example, swapping the jeans for tailored trousers can not only look smart, but also fashionable. Which is why most guys stick to jeans or chinos.
What makes a smart shoe more casual? For those reasons, wingtips , Derbies , loafers , Chelsea boots and chukkas are better bets than office-y Oxfords. But some examples can be very smart, some very casual. But a more formal dark colour is smarter in more ways than one: In terms of fabrics, shiny, smooth leather is smarter than matte, coarse canvas, and suede is somewhere in the middle. A blazer will make you practically bulletproof. Outside of work, smart casual almost never calls for wearing a tie.
A grandad shirt, polo, or roll neck will remove any ambiguity, or the impression that you forgot your neckwear. For formal smart casual events, you might want to keep your blazer on, so wearing a removable overcoat over the top might be better than a knit underneath. With the exception of corporate pinstripes, patterns make pieces such as blazers and shirts look more casual, and you less like you came from the office. T-shirts are already casual, so avoid patterns, logos, slogans or shudder jokes.
As outlined above, silhouette also determines formality. So ensuring that casual pieces fit correctly is one way to convey smartness. A blazer in the same material? A plain sweatshirt can also substitute for a knit under a casual tailored jacket. Trousers or chinos with sporty drawstrings or cuffs are one thing, but jersey sweatpants are just barely permissible as casualwear.
Smart casual is also about how you wear it. Take the formal edge off by rolling up your sleeves and the hems of your chinos to expose a touch of mankle. Switch your leather dress watch for a sports one with metal bracelet or Nato strap, and your leather belt for a woven one, maybe in a colour other than brown. How many times can we advocate a blazer?
At least one more. So get you a blazer that can do both, ideally. What we can do is provide a more intensive breakdown of smart casual norms so that you stay within a given framework. When it comes to the game of smart casual attire, men consistently and wisely put a quality blazer in their starting line up.
In other words, seek out a stylish blazer that blends with the outfit and exhibits a little—but not too much—personality on its own. After all, you want your blazer to be a piece of the whole, not the whole unto itself.
Accordingly, you should pair the blazer with a nice pair of chinos or jeans. You might also layer a collared shirt under a wool sweater, though make sure both are really sharp to avoid steering too close to the casual arena. Not so fast, gents.
Yes, you can rock a nice t-shirt underneath your blazer or jacket, but bear in mind that the t-shirt should still operate as a piece to the broader, stylish whole. Naturally, you should avoid bright colours and loud patterns. Instead, opt for a sophisticated print, classic pattern, or monochromatic colour scheme. And while a slim fit or tailored fit seems like a smart casual no-brainer, you actually have some room to play depending on material, permitted you tuck a longer shirt in to your waistline.
In that regard, you can go with trousers, jeans or chinos and not lose your stylish stride. Again, you want to make sure your pants match the rest of your outfit. And remember, fit is key. You might even consider getting those chinos tailored. At the very least, make sure the hem line stops just above your shoes. Should you choose the latter, you want to avoid overly athletic sneakers.
Smart Casual Tops for Jeans. If you want to wear jeans, still look smart but don’t want to go for the blazer look then you can still get the smart casual look with the use of the right T-shirt. Smart Casual Shirts. Unique detailing, statement prints and vibrant colors add a new dimension to these special London editions. Our signature Smart Casual dress shirts are designed for men searching for more than your average wardrobe staple. RELATED: The Best Blazers For Men Right Now. Smart Casual Shirts. Keep it crisp or add some colour. A single-colour shirt in a traditional hue is a safe option, but it certainly isn’t your only.