Smart-casual has become a fashion buzzword, and it is a dresscode that is notoriously hard to get right. As its name implies, smart-casual is the careful balancing act between sophisticated garments and comfort pieces, and this strategic pairing is what can make achieving this look an uphill battle. Too smart and you appear overdressed, too casual and you risk looking sloppy. This well-dressed gentleman’s ensemble, however, illustrates this look’s full potential when worn correctly.
As far as fabrics go, not too many can rival denim in terms of importance and prevalence. A material that has transcended time, location and social class, denim is an unequivocal menswear staple that continues to stamp its mark on the fashion industry each and every season. However, due to the fabric’s workerwear roots, denim items are naturally considered to be casual pieces. But restricting the fabric in this way means that you will never unlock the full potential of your wardrobe. Denim continues to emerge as a more appropriate choice for smart-casual looks, and despite common belief, denim can be dressed up. Take cues from this Fashionisto and keep your jeans dark, clean and well fitted when looking to achieve the perfect look of casual sophistication with your outfit.
When creating smart-casual pairings, a sweater will be your best friend. This cozy knit can be coupled with a suit in place of the traditional blazer, worn solo teamed with a tie, used as a layering piece with winter wear – the possibilities are endless! The featured fellow turns smart-casual on its head by letting the casual pieces take the lead. His light, knit sweater matched with a checked button-up give this look an edge of refinement while still emphasizing the soft, laid-back side of smart-casual.
For footwear, this Fashionisto opts for a pair of suede, brogue boots. If you are wearing skinny jeans like this well dressed gentleman and would prefer cleaner lines in your outfit, use brogue boots to avoid the break at the hem of the jean and top of the shoe. The boot styles also tend to be a bit slimmer in design, perfect for the slimmer cut jean. If you wish to create a more utility or preppy look, standard shoes are your best bet, as they offer a much more rugged and complex shape. Whether boot or dress shoe, full, semi, quarter or closed, the brogue is undoubtedly a fashion icon, one that is the ideal choice for smart-casual looks due to its versatility.
The smart-casual dress code is one full of complexities. Dictating everything from office dress to dinner dates, smart-casual is a code of wardrobe conduct that allows men self-expression in their ensemble while still remaining refined and on trend.
Hint: In warmer months try a chino or tailored short. Fitted shorts have successfully made the transition from stylistically questionable to a wardrobe essential – the perfect summer piece that, if you get it right, can effortlessly pair with go-to smart-casual options.