The phrase “smart casuals” sounds ambiguous, and yet it has a strong grip on the fashion world. The simplest way to explain it is that it’s more dressed up than casuals, but less formal than business formals. The typical smart casual look will usually have two of the following – chinos, dark-coloured jeans, shirt, or blazer. Comfortable, yet not slouchy, this is the ideal casual dress-code for grownups.
Basics of a smart casual wardrobe:
Before you splash out on a new wardrobe and spend all your savings there, it’s good to remember that you can begin to create a smart casual wardrobe with a just few foundational pieces. Plus, these pieces can easily be accommodated in your business casual wardrobe too. Here are the four core pieces of a smart casual wardrobe:
Chinos form the base of most smart casual looks. They’re not as casual as jeans and they’re not formal like formal pleated trousers. Custom made Washed Chinos from Tailorman are as comfortable as lived-in jeans and can be customized to suit your personal taste. Classic colors like khaki, navy and beige go with almost everything. Plus, washed chinos with a bit of stretch are as comfortable as worn in jeans, if not more so. Chinos are perfect for any occasion where the dress code is vague and the only thing you know is that your sweats and faded jeans won’t do.
Long sleeve shirts
Well-fitted long-sleeve button-down shirts are next on the list. Start with the classic white shirt. Then add solid colors, stripes, checks and patterns. One way to really stretch your wardrobe is to choose colors that can be matched with the rest of your wardrobe. So if your bottoms are neutrals, then your shirts can be complementary colors. Alternatively, go for accent colors. Don’t forget denim shirts either!
A blazer is what sets apart your smart casual look from everyday casual looks. A classic navy unstructured blazer like the Tailorman knit flex blazer be easily matched with a shirt or T-shirt and chinos for an effortless look that always wins. Similar to the classic navy blue blazer, a light blue or beige blazer in linen, cotton or lightweight wool is also a versatile piece you can add to your wardrobe. If unstructured blazers are not your thing, then go for one that is less structured (with less padding on the shoulders) than a formal suit jacket.
A pair of dark wash jeans in black and navy blue in straight-leg styles are a must in the smart casual wardrobe. Want to mix it up a bit? Just stay away from anything with a strong fade or ripping since that falls in the casual wardrobe.
Once you have the basics covered, you can add a few more pieces to bring out your signature style. These are:
Light wool, linen, and cotton trousers are all welcome to the smart casual party. The only rule is that it should not be too baggy or covered in pockets (cargo pants, we’re looking at you). Instead choose slimmer cuts, and if you do go for patterns, choose classic patterns like plaids and stripes instead of anything flashy like florals. Leave that for the shirts.
The smart casual wardrobe was made to accept and accommodate the jogger trouser – those hybrid tailored trousers with jogger waistbands. Pair them with shirts or T-shirts and a blazer, and you are good to go.
T-shirts and roll-necks
Don’t forget knits! Leave the loud graphic casual tees behind and instead wear more luxe versions in solid neutral, earthy or pastel shades. Roll neck T-shirts too are a sophisticated option that’ll look good under a blazer.
The accessories give the final finishing touches to your looks. You can’t go wrong with classic white sneakers, leather loafers, Chelsea boots, and chukkas. Add a stole or two in neutral shades with small repeat pattern to add visual interest to your look when you’re wearing solids. Keep your accessories sleek and minimalist – sleek messenger bags, backpacks, smart watches etc. to really bring this look alive.
And there you have it, the smart casual wardrobe starter kit! To keep the look sleek, go for well-tailored pieces that can be layered effortlessly without adding bulk.
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