The smart casual look is one of those styles that really lets you show off your personality. It allows you to look sophisticated whilst also letting some of your own unique style show through. You can pick your own colors, fabrics and designs, providing they help you to look casual and sophisticated.
Smart casual was a look that used to be reserved for things like a visit to a restaurant or a job interview, but now it has started to migrate into other areas of our life, including our working environment. This was already the case prior to the pandemic; as shown in this 2018 article by the Independent, only 1 in 10 people were wearing a suit to work at that time. Now, according to research by the BBC, this change has been accelerated.
When dressing in a suit for work, there are some hard and fast rules that need to be followed. These help us make sure we get the look right. However, as life becomes more relaxed and more fluid, so too do the rules of how we dress.
The first thing to remember when choosing smart casual is that you want to aim for elegance and maturity. It should also look comfortable—like you haven’t even tried to look this stylish, it’s just happened. The joy of smart casual is that it’s highly adaptable and comes across as effortless. Here are some easy ways to help you achieve this look.
Try combining chinos with a linen shirt
Chinos are comfortable and stylish, and will suit the office environment well. Wear them in subtle colors like khaki, navy or beige to look professional but relaxed. A linen shirt is an effortlessly stylish item, its natural creases adding to its carefree air. Smart enough to be worn in the office yet cool enough to be worn to the beach, its versatility is immense. Choose a darker shade here, to offset the lighter chinos.
Jeans are definitely allowed
In the smart casual office, a nice pair of fitted jeans can go down well. Opt for skinny fit or slim fit if you can, and darker colors will normally suit you best here. Combine them with any of the wide range of shirts for men available, and you can’t go far wrong. Just try to opt for pastel colors and remember that you don’t have to tuck it in.
Blazers can work wonders
Blazers work well in the casual office environment. They aren’t formal enough to look like a suit but they do carry a level of smartness that is akin to a suit jacket. When it comes to blazers, matching their color to the rest of your outfit is key. A smart shirt can easily sit underneath it, tucked in but with the top button undone. Blazers can go with jeans, chinos or smart trousers, making them very universal.
Fitted clothing will always look best, so try to avoid baggy jeans or tops that swamp you. Also, avoid trainers if you can, as they don’t tend to fit well into the smart casual look.