Smart casual is not a term to be taken lightly; it’s a sartorial instruction that can determine the dress code for some of life’s most important occasions – from interviews, wedding receptions, family gatherings and more. But what does it really mean?
What is Smart Casual?
Truth is, it can trip up the best of us; but we like a challenge. So here it goes: as the name implies, it refers to an outfit that is not too smart but not overly casual; something dressier than a tracksuit, but less formal than a suit.
Can You Wear Jeans as Part of Smart Casual?
Jeans can be worn as part of a smart casual outfit, however only if they are suitable for the occasion. For example: jeans would not be welcome at a smart-casual wedding, but they would be an appropriate choice for after-work drinks. That being said, the denim in question should always be immaculate – so leave the ripped jeans at home.
What Should I Wear for Smart Casual?
Building an effective smart casual wardrobe can take time, but if you’re looking for somewhere to start, these key pieces will certainly prove most valuable.
One of the easiest ways to create men's smart-casual outfits is with a blazer (not a suit jacket). To ensure you’re on the right path, it should be made from a more textured fabric than your average suit jacket – with a less rigid construction and cut slightly shorter.
The versatile Oxford shirt is the very definition of smart-casual. Tucked it, it can be worn formally with chinos – but leave it untucked and it will give you the relaxed edge required for casual events.
If you’re having doubts about your denim, chinos make an excellent choice. Colour-wise, beige and navy are traditional choices, but a pair in grey will help your outfit tilt a little more to the smart side of the dress code.
Derby shoes are a classic all-rounder. They’re more casual than leather Oxfords, but much smarter than trainers or espadrilles. You can use yours to dress down a tailored suit or for elevating a pair of jeans or chinos.
Smart-Casual Men 2020 Outfits
Still confused? We’ve pulled together two fail-safe men's smart casual outfits. One is perfect for your next wedding, while the other would be great for work.
The Best Smart Casual Outfit for a Wedding
- Blue Wool-Blend Micro Pattern Jacket
- Stone Pleat Front Stretch Cotton Classic Fit Chinos
- Mid Blue Merino Wool Crew Neck Jumper
- Tan Suede Chukka Boots
The Best Smart Casual Outfit for Work
- White Blue Window Check Classic Fit Oxford Shirt
- Navy Pleat Front Stretch Cotton Classic Fit Chinos
- Brown Plaited Leather Belt
- Light Brown Suede Loafers
How to Shop Smart Casual at The Savile Row Company
Whilst we hope the above helped, we’re sure there will be times when confusion arises. With this in mind – when you’re dressing for a smart-casual event – we suggest taking your cue from the formality of this tricky oxymoron. After all, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
Try and wear a couple of items you can remove – that way, if you feel the need to tone things down, you can. Finally, whatever you wear, ensure your smart-casual outfits are balanced. If you opt for a jacket and shirt, for example, lose the tie and go for jeans or chinos rather than a pair of trousers.
Shop our men’s smart-casual collection.
If you’re looking for further reading material that will help you with smart-casual dressing, take a look at our article on how to roll your shirt sleeves.
Note: some of the items featured in this blog post may no longer be in stock.