If you are going to a restaurant or some other kind of event where you get the memo that the dress code is "smart casual", you might be a little confused because what does that actually mean? The following aims to answer that question for you, in addition, to giving you some smart casual outfit ideas that will make you look and feel incredible.
What is Male Smart Casual Dress Code?
There are different interpretations of the smart casual dress code but in short, it basically means not too casual but not too smart! If an outfit looks like it has been well put together and it fits you well, it could definitely fit into the category of smart casual. It really is a matter of opinion though so as a rule of thumb, put an outfit on and look into the mirror.
How does it make you feel and do you think it fits what the dress code is telling you? If you are wearing an outfit that you would only be comfortable lounging around in the house in, then it is not smart casual! Ask the opinion of your partner, family, and friends if you are not sure.
What is the Difference Between Casual and Smart Casual?
If you are here, you might be wondering about the difference between casual and smart casual, and it is quite simple really. In terms of the event that you are going to, casual would be worn for informal events whereas smart casual could be worn for formal and informal events.
You might add a nicer pair of shoes to make an outfit more formal, or perhaps a shirt jacket. The opportunities are endless and hopefully, you will get more of insight into this later when we look at outfit ideas for smart casual that you can wear whenever you want.
Can I Wear a Leather Jacket for Smart Casual?
There is absolutely no reason why you cannot wear a leather jacket as part of a smart casual outfit. It's all about how you match the jacket with the rest of the outfit, how it fits, and so on. You can definitely get away with a leather jacket for example if you are pairing it with a well-fitted long sleeve shirt, some chinos, and a nice pair of shoes.
Can I Wear Sneakers for Smart Casual Attire?
With more and more offices going back to conventional on-site working arrangements, the smart casual attire has started to catch on. It presents a more casual version of the formal office look, with less restrictions on wearing suits or blazers on top of collared shirts.
A regular shirt and a blazer with formal pants (not jeans) are often the go-to combination for smart casual attires for men. For women, the traditional formal skirt or pants with a decent top would be the go-to. Leather shoes of any color would be highly recommended by some. The question is, could sneakers be worn with smart casual wear?
Smart Casual Attire with Sneakers
Sneakers have been initially designed for sports and other related activities. Their rubberized soles make the feet move more comfortably when engaged in extreme activity. In recent years, wearing sneakers have started to form part of the smart casual wear.
A contrast of dark colors for the top and pants would go well with a light colored pair of sneakers to highlight the look. Some prefer a monotone-look, where a dark-colored top is paired with a white inner shirt and gray pants would be paired with dark colored shoes.
These are all very doable with sneakers. Companies like Nike have started making sneakers which are specifically made for casual wear. In these sneakers, they would opt out of the usual high-cut shoes and would present their designs in a similar yet more subtle way than formal shoes.
These would often have straight soles and a sleeker design than most of their usual sneakers. This would help their buyers adjust their wardrobe more easily. Unified colors often make it easier to find a better fit than multi-colored sneakers.
While sneakers are generally accepted in some workplaces, you still have to be careful about your selections. Shoes like the Nike Hyperdunk or Nike Renew series may not be good choices to pair with smart casual wear. Apart from non-solid color designs, these are usually cut at higher lengths relative to the ankle, which may ruin a good flow of the pants to the ankles.
The appeal of the smart casual look is that it highlights the length of the legs and that it feels more comfortable than the usual formal look. Choosing an excessively high-cut shoe would make the pants feel less comfortable and may end up ruining the look. It's not necessarily prohibited, but the low-cut shoes would work the best in pairing with the smart casual attire.
10 Basic Smart Casual Outfit Ideas for Men
Now that we have covered the basics about smart casual and how you can dress this way while still feeling like yourself, it's time to look at some different outfit ideas that you might find appealing and want to recreate yourself at home.
1 - Smart Casual Chic
This outfit screams smart casual because it looks good without being too formal. The guy in question is wearing a t-shirt with a blazer on over the top to dress it up a little bit. He is also is a super casual pair of blue jeans with a nice pair of grey dress shoes.
It fit really well and oozes confidence. There are a ton of different occasions where you could wear this type of outfit including out to dinner with that special someone in your life or even to a business meeting.
2 - Chino Casual
I'm sure you knew that chinos would make this list at some point so it might have cropped up sooner than you expected. This outfit definitely fits the criteria so let's have a deeper look at it. A sweater is casual but a shirt is smart so to team these two garments together is a winner when it comes to creating a smart casual outfit.
Next is a pair of navy blue chinos which fit the rest of the outfit well both in terms of color scheme and vibe. Some white sneaks tie the outfit together which might seem like an interesting choice but the whole look is very modern and could be worn for a whole bunch of different situations.
3 - Light and Eye-catching
If you wear an outfit like this, you are guaranteed to have all eyes on you for all the right reasons. This is perfect for wearing in the summer to a load of different occasions. It starts with a crisp white Ralph Lauren t-shirt, which is paired with some cream chinos and white sneakers.
A light-colored belt is added to give the outfit an extra layer. This definitely fits into the smart casual theme because the outfit is very well put together and you can tell that the man wearing it has a lot of fashion sense.
4 - Complete Smart Casual
This is a cool outfit that is modeled by the one and only Ryan Reynolds. It starts off with a buttoned-up shirt that is topped with a bomber jacket and a pair of grey jeans. The brown suede shoes give a touch more character and inject some life into what might be considered quite a boring outfit otherwise.
No matter what you think of it, there is no doubt that it fits the brief of smart casual. You could wear it shopping, on a date, or when you are hitting some nice bars with your friends.
5 - Simple and Suave
If you are into darker outfits, throwing together something like this could definitely be the right choice for you because you are still staying true to your own style. The base of this look is simply a black t-shirt and black jeans.
This is quite casual of course but it is the rest of the outfit that makes it smart casual Thrown over the top is a tweed-style blazer and in terms of shoes, the guy is wearing dress-style brown boots. If you want to keep things as simple as possible while still fitting the brief, this could definitely be the right look for you.
6 - Crisp and Modern
This is an absolutely gorgeous smart casual look, especially when it is worn with maximum confidence. It is a well-fitted short sleeve white shirt that is tucked into some chinos. A belt is added and white sneakers are on the feet but there are other types of shoes that would go with this outfit too.
One thing is for sure, it can be worn for so many different occasions including on a date, to work, or even just running some errands throughout the day; This is definitely the type of outfit to wear if you are trying to impress.
7 - Smart and Stripey
When you see a stripey t-shirt, you might think of a pirate but this look proves that you can wear stripes and still look good. The monochrome striped t-shirt is paired under a blazer, complete with a triangle handkerchief in the pocket to really take the entire vibe up a notch.
The look is finished off with some black chinos and some white sneakers, which look cool and stylish. This does show a little bit more personality than some of the outfits on the list.
8 - Layered Smart Casual
This layered look will keep you warm in the cooler months and it looks good too. Start with a t-shirt of any color and top it with a brown knitted sweater. Along with some black trousers and white sneakers, the outfit is cool but what finishes it off perfectly is a long, brown blazer-style coat because it really ties it all together and makes it look more expensive. No matter what you have planned for your day, this smart casual look will ensure that you do it with style.
9 - Co-ordinated Suit
You might be thinking that a suit is just smart but the way that this particular outfit is styled is what makes it smart casual rather than way too formal. It is a blue suit, with a jacket over a simple t-shirt, and also unbuttoned.
The outfit is finished off with a casual pair of white sneakers which definitely takes the smartness of the suit down a level but still looks abs0lutely incredible. If you are looking for a first date outfit, this could definitely be the one.
10 - Guy-next-door Smart Casual
This is a trendy look that you can wear with confidence whenever you need to be smart casual. It is simple but still fits the brief! A grey marl jumper is paired with some casual black trousers and boot-style smart brown shoes. The colors on this particular outfit go perfectly together and you are guaranteed to stand out from the crowd in this get up!
All of the outfits that have been on this list are smart casual so whether you want to replicate them or come up with your own similar ones, that's completely up to you. When you are shopping for an outfit, really envision how it would look with the different components. Once you get it right, you are going to feel much more confident in yourself and your own style.