Dress code: 'Smart Casual' done right

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Your friend's having an art show, a birthday party or work drinks. Better yet the in-laws have invited you round to the annual family get together in the countryside. The dress code? Smart casual. Intentionally deceptive yet easy to master, we've got some clever tips for what to wear.


Every man needs a good selection of blazers, regardless of a smart casual dress code. A blazer is an essential piece in every wardrobe because it can add that much needed layer of sophistication to an outfit. More so, it's a necessary item to have especially if you'll be out and about. Having a good array of blazers will allow you to contextualise your outfit according to the dress code. For example, a business smart casual dress code lends itself to a light blazer. If attending a Summer party, a linen blazer will work wonders both aesthetically and practically and no matter the weather a tweed or tartan blazer is great if you'd like to peacock.


Shoes are an overlooked part of the smart casual attire but in reality they are one of the most important elements in finalising the look. The best thing about smart casual is it lends itself to flexibility when it comes to selecting the right shoes. You can opt for the preppy look by wearing some boat shoes if it's Summer. You can never go wrong with a Chelsea boot whether leather or suede, and even trainers work well depending on the outfit. Be careful with trainers because the more colourful and branded they are they more the outfit will lean towards casual rather than smart casual. We'd go for white trainers because they really complete the look!


Long sleeve button down shirts are a good place to start. They're immediately smart casual and a no brainer with the majority of outfits. In regards to shirts, a smart casual look whether business or non-business should adhere to a classic colour palette and showcase good quality craftsmanship and high quality material. White, powdery blues and pastels work exceptionally well as do gingham and herringbone shirts if you're aiming for the slightly elevated look. We'd even go as far as saying denim shirts can work well if you're leaning more on the casual side of smart casual. 


When selecting your smart casual outfit take note of the setting. Is this business smart casual or casual smart casual? Jeans are acceptable for non-business smart casual but we'd avoid it for business smart casual. Like shoes, trousers are often overlooked and guys will often choose their go to pair of jeans which is irrefutably boring. Try branching out more and select an understated yet striking pair of trousers to really stand out from the crowd whilst playfully conforming to the smart casual dress code. A good pair of linen trousers works well in Summer as well as a pair of good quality chinos. One look that we are particularly fond of is pairing patterned trousers with a simple shirt, shoes and blazer. Here you can really show your personality with herringbone or tartan trousers in a muted colour like navy, grey or oatmeal. 


Provided the weather lends itself to wearing a t-shirt, a good fitted t-shirt with little to no print or design is an excellent choice. Remember, if your outfit is simple it should highlight the quality of the product so a high cotton count is bound to win in the smart casual department. We like whites, navys, greys, and coloured t-shirts that contain a marl for that added edge. Ribbed or textured t-shirts work especially well if you're looking to peacock in a refined manner. 



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