SMARTNESS IS MORE A MATTER OF THE APPREARANCE OF YOUR CLOTHES RATHER THAN THEIR STYLE.
CURATED BY TEAM STYLEBYNIKS
GUIDEBOOK ON CASUAL/OFFICIAL WEAR
Men’s Business Casual Fashion
“Business casual” is a term that’s thrown around in offices and department stores around the world, but its meaning is less clear. In one widely accepted definition, business casual dress for men calls for slacks and a collared shirt. The shirt must be tucked in, with a belt, and dress shoes to match. However, as many offices and industries relax their interpretation of business casual–it’s become an opportunity for men to express their own smart casual wear and blend classiness with style.
One of the best ways for men to take a casual outfit to the next level is to accessorize it. A classy messenger bag or a leather briefcase gives off a casual vibe without sacrificing a sophisticated look.
A nice leather or canvas-strapped watch is a nice complement to a classy casual outfit for guys.
But be sure you don’t overdo it–too many accessories is a rookie mistake that can ruin an otherwise well-assembled business casual outfit.
Another great way men can step up their smart casual wear is to get creative with colours.
There’s nothing wrong with khaki, but adding some shades of green or red to your chino rotation is eye-catching and shows attention to detail.
Chinos and slacks are a staple of the business casual look, but most men don’t know how to wear them or how they should fit.
How To Be The Best Dressed At casual outings /parties or be it an official affair
Parties/outings can be great once you're there, but getting ready for them—dressing for them, specifically—mean reading deeply into the vibe of the location, host, and attendees. To say parties/outings can be all over the map when it comes to dress code is putting it lightly. But we've got you covered, no matter the party. Whether it's an upscale event or something low key, here are some ways to get through the festivities looking right on theme.
You can absolutely wear your normal go-to suit for a more formal party. Make it feel more holiday-esque with a festive patterned shirt instead of your standard shirt and tie.
If you really want to wear a suit, but don't want to blend into the crowd, ditch your traditional navy suit and try one with a bold (but not too crazy) pattern.
Go ahead and splurge for the full look. It'll grab just the right amount of attention, without making you look like a cartoon.
Turtleneck Sweater: The turtleneck is the best not-too-dressy, not-too-casual alternative to a collared shirt at your disposal. This one goes perfectly with that checked suit.
Easy Drawstring Chinos: Trousers with a comfortable waistband and a looser fit are right on trend. Plus, they'll keep you feeling comfy all night long
Standard Issue Polo: A basic (and well-fitted) polo is always a good idea for holiday dressing. Wear it alone or under a blazer.
Ah, the rebel's dress shoe: You can wear this easily with a suit, trousers, or black denim. Don't forget the button-front shirt.
Hutton Track Pants: Track pants at parties: Why the hell not? Go dark to keep it more formal, and balance it out with a turtleneck and jacket.
Capri Perla Sneakers: Clean sneakers make any outfit feel fresh and put-together.
Simeon Suede Chelsea Boots: For getting a little more dressed up—but not full-blown dress-shoe level—a suede Chelsea boot is the perfect middle ground.
Navy Corduroy Suit: Navy corduroy is a no-brainer for making something feel holiday-party appropriate. Wear it with a tee or turtleneck.
Commando Sole Malton Brogue Derby Boots: A tasteful amount of brogue is always welcome at a holiday party. It feels less old-school on a boot—especially if you pair that boot with denim.
Casual Party Outfits for Guys
One of the most important aspects of men’s casual fashion is the “night on the town” look. As important as it is to look smart and fashionable in the office, it’s maybe even more crucial to convey your style and fashion sense on a night out. Of course, the best casual party outfits for guys depend on the season and the occasion.
In the summer, you’ll want to look for light fabrics and bright colours. The colder months bring the opportunity for fashion statements via layering, which is impractical when it’s hot outside.
Partying it all Together
Smart casual wear for men isn’t all that complicated, once you master a few basic ideas and start to build a quality wardrobe.
Just make sure your clothes fit properly, look for timeless patterns and quality materials, and don’t be afraid to show your personality. You’ll know how to dress men well in no time and turn heads with your men’s casual style and fashion sense.
To help you nail your smart casual outfit game, we've curated some of the coolest smart casual style tips for you which are listed as below:
Change Your Attitude
“Smartness is more a matter of the appearance of your clothes rather than their style,” “Shoes polished, trousers pressed, and tie properly tied are necessary factors in a smart appearance.”
The operative words here aren’t ‘shoes’, ‘trousers’ or ‘tie’ (we’re talking about smart casual, after all), but ‘polished’, ‘pressed’ and ‘properly’. A pristine T-shirt, indigo jeans and box-fresh trainers can look dressier than a wrinkled shirt, stained trousers and scuffed shoes.
A T-shirt, jeans and trainers won’t always be appropriate, mind. But smart casual is arguably more a mood or attitude than it is a set formula or combination of pieces
Toe the Line
As with jeans, there are few casual settings nowadays where you can’t get away with trainers. But if you’re in any doubt, then play it safe. There is a saying “The right shoes can rescue even the worst fashion disaster – the reverse is hardly ever true.”
What makes a smart shoe more casual? Colour: black is smartest, brown is more casual and tan more casual still. Silhouette: a round or almond toe is more casual than a pointy one, as is a chunky sole. And texture: nubby, matte suede is more casual than smooth, shiny leather.
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. So tread carefully.
Put On Your Finery
A jersey sweatshirt or hoodie wasn’t an element of our example outfit. 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. Pull a plain jumper or cardigan over your T-shirt (and maybe swap the trainers for shoes) and you’re getting weaving.
Clearly a chunky knit isn’t going to have quite the same effect, although a shawl-collar cardigan instead of a jacket can look smart if it doesn’t have toggles or a massive moose on it. A knitted blazer is somewhere between the two.
A word or 23 on roll necks: too thick and they’re not smart, too fine and they’re about as casual as Hemingway’s drinking.
Throw a Shade
You don’t even have to change pieces to adjust the casualness of an outfit. 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: lightening up is a dimmer switch for smartness.
Play A One-Two
As we’ve established, smart casual is nigh-on impossible to define. So a more helpful and practical approach is to start with a casual outfit and then change one – or better, two – pieces for smarter alternatives.
For example, take a bomber jacket, T-shirt, jeans and trainers. All very casual, right?
Now swap in any one of blazer, shirt, trousers or chinos and shoes. You should be verging on smart casual territory. Swap in two and you should be bang on target. Swap in three and, depending on the circumstances, you might even be too smart. It’s a fine line.
A T-shirt can qualify as smart casual, provided that it’s plain, good quality, well-fitting and not washed to death.
But upgrading to a polo shirt will instantly smarten a casual rig. The buttons and collar put it further along the spectrum towards a shirt, but it’s still sporty. Indeed, as the name suggests, it was originally worn for playing polo, as was the button-down collar so that it didn’t flap around.
Which brings us neatly to the button-down shirt, which isn’t as stiff as one with a rigid collar and cuffs? It also commonly comes in fabrics such as Oxford cloth or chambray, which are less smooth and shiny.
Then there’s the granddad shirt. Collarless equals more casual. Capiche?
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. Patch pockets – which look like they’re stitched on – are similarly ‘cazh’.
Finally, ripping out the padded shoulders and canvassed chest found in smart blazers will also make them feel more casual, not to mention comfortable. N.B. Don’t actually rip your blazer, just look for the word ‘unstructured’.
Take The Rough With The Smooth
Another (major) factor that affects the relative smartness or casualness of a piece is texture. If you think about the most formal items in menswear – worsted wool business suits, say, or barathea dinner jackets – they’re almost invariably smooth and shiny.
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: shirts, knits, trousers, even shoes.
Pocket The Difference
Legwear is usually a smart casual sticking point. For the most part, jeans are perfectly acceptable – even in a business context – as long as they’re dark and undistressed. But there’s always a risk. Then there’s failsafe chino – emphasis on ‘safe’.
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.
A textured, not-too-shiny fabric like flannel or linen can help you pull the casual trouser off, but it’s not an entry-level swerve. Which is why most guys stick to jeans or chinos?
Get your Kicks
Many smart casual guides rule trainers out completely, but that’s a little old-fashioned.
Where trainers are permitted, the recommendation is typically a classic style such as Converse Jack Purcell’s, Adidas Stan Smiths or Common Projects in white, and that’s not wrong. But a more formal dark colour is smarter in more ways than one: they’ll be less likely to draw the eye, and therefore disapproving glances, or show dirt.
In terms of fabrics, shiny, smooth leather is smarter than matte, coarse canvas, and suede is somewhere in the middle. Knitted trainers can also look smart if they’re dark, but they’re maybe a tad too modern for some circumstances – and a step too far from proper shoes.
Leather sandals? Sometimes. Flip flops? Never.
#5 Key Smart Casual Pieces:
How many times can we advocate a blazer? At least one more. There’s no way around the fact that the quickest way to nail smart casual is by throwing on a tailored jacket, which is also a workhorse of business casual. So get you a blazer that can do both, ideally.
For it to fly as smart casual, the blazer should be made from a more textured fabric than an average suit jacket, cut slightly shorter and constructed less rigidly. This also makes the process of throwing it on a whole lot easier.
Yes, a blazer is the alpha and omega of both business and formal smart casual. But what about the occasions when a tailored jacket, however unstructured, is too smart? Enter the ‘blazer bomber’.
The style comes from the uniform-wearing armed forces, so packs a certain formality payload. But for it to pass inspection as smart casual, the bomber jacket should be slimmer than a military-issue MA-1, in a dark colour (such as navy or black) and made of a more luxurious and less lustrous fabric than the standard shiny nylon (preferably wool or cotton). For informal smart casual missions, this is your wingman.
Oxford button-down shirts are equally at home in business casual as they are smart. Except that they’d be at the office, of course – unless you work from home, in which case you probably won’t get dressed at all. So, in the interests of variety, our smart casual endorsement is the chambray shirt.
Even though it’s not the same as denim (which is woven in a twill rather than alternating warp and weft), chambray looks similar and can come in a variety of weights and finishes. Generally, though, it’ll casualise a smart outfit or smarten a casual one – but not too much either way.
Like the polo shirt, chinos or ‘khakis’ (technically a colour, not a style) are one of the building blocks of business casual, and can be extended into smart casual.
Given that the latter is more casual than the former, and we don’t want to repeat ourselves any more than is strictly necessary, we’ll plump here for plain, dark selvedge jeans with minimal bells, whistles and western pocket detail.
You don’t have to go indigo, though: black jeans can look just as smart, if not smarter.
You don’t need us to nominate trainers, and you probably own a viable pair. A more useful addition to your smart casual arsenal is a pair of shoes that don’t make you feel like you’re going on a night out to a bad club.
Brogues are a smart casual standby, if a trifle fogeyish; Chelsea boots can strike a more rock ‘n’ roll note. But we’re making a case for Derbies.
They’re slightly more fashionable than wingtips, as evinced by hip brands like A.P.C. and Ami, which have started producing them, while the chunky soles imbue them with a hint of parade ground or even punk kick-assery.