KOMPAS.com – Smart casual is often the dress code for men to attend various events, whether going to the office or on a date.

This style of dress can make us look classy and sophisticated, but still relaxed and comfortable.

But if it is not implemented well, style smart casual can look boring and less attractive to look at.

What is smart casual?

Smart casual is basically a combination of two opposite words. Smart describes a neat appearance, while casual is a relaxed style.

It’s not surprising that people are often confused about the rules of this style. Hence, style smart casual often considered like blank paper that we can scribble on as we please.

We can combine a neat top with more casual bottoms, or vice versa. For example, wearing a blazer and jeans, or a t-shirt top with trousers.

Generally, this style of dress is used by men to go to events that are relatively relaxed but still formal, such as wedding receptions, dates or dinner parties.

Showing smart casual attributes is not as easy as combining a blazer with jeans. We need pieces of clothing that match so that they look complementary and don’t make us stand out.

Depending on the type of event you want to attend, smart casual can be interpreted differently.

The smart casual style at a party with colleagues is certainly not the same as smart casual when on a date.

When we decide to try this dress code, make sure we know the type of event and who we are going to the event with.

For example, graduation or graduation events tend to be stiff and formal, so it’s fine to wear neat clothes such as a blazer or jacket.

But on a date, a blazer top might be a little excessive.

Try wearing smart bottoms such as trousers and boots, then combine them with a more casual Oxford shirt and bomber jacket.

Also read: Smart Casual Style Appearance Ideas

Smart casual is not the same as casual

It’s easy to differentiate smart casual from casual.

Casual style has no rules. We are free to wear whatever casual clothes we want, such as t-shirts and jeans or sports pants, sneakers and hoodies.

Meanwhile, smart casual is not like that. We need clothes that are relaxed but still neat to enhance our appearance, whether trousers with pleated details on the front, button-down shirts, or even cashmere sweaters.

Casual style is something that we wear easily, while smart casual is a dress code that requires more effort.

Smart casual style rules

Smart casual style Smart casual style

When it comes to smart casual style, consider which parts you want to highlight. Those are the rules for smart casual style.

Here are the rules that we can apply:

1. Simple display

If we are hesitant to start, don’t overdo it. Wear dark jeans or chinos, an Oxford shirt, a navy blazer, or knitwear.

2. Add complementary colors

The smart casual style allows us to wear mismatched outfits.

If we want to combine a blazer and trousers, choose complementary colors that tend to be calm, such as a dark blue blazer, white shirt and classic gray wool trousers.

For a less striking look, consider green or brown.

3. Pay attention to details

Paying attention to details is also part of implementing a chic smart casual style.

Make sure the hem of the trousers is not too long, the shoes you wear are clean or polished (if the shoes are made of leather), align the leather material on the belt and shoes so they don’t clash, and much more.

4. Start with casual items first

An easy way to create a smart casual style is to start with casual items first.

Wear what you normally wear in casual situations, then swap out some pieces of clothing for something more formal.

Start with a combination of a t-shirt, jeans, hoodie, and sneakers. Then swap the hoodie for a blazer or bomber jacket, and the Derby shoes for sneakers.

Also read: 9 Clothing Pieces with Unique Stories that You Maybe Don’t Know

Smart casual clothing cuts

Smart casual style Smart casual style

1. Oxford button-down shirt

The button-down Oxford shirt is a shirt that can be worn for any occasion.

Many celebrities such as Miles Davis Jr, Paul Newman, or James Dean like to wear this shirt.

Initially, button-down Oxford shirts were seen worn by athletes in the sport of polo (a sport of dribbling a ball using a long club like a golf club, with players riding horses).

Polo players in the 19th century were bothered by their shirt collars flapping while playing.

Then, the button-down Oxford shirt was born with additional buttons to keep the collar “locked” and not moving around.

This shirt allows polo players to look smart and does not distract them while playing.

In the 80s and 90s, button-down Oxford shirts became one of the superior items produced by the Ralph Lauren fashion company.

Oxford button-down shirts are less formal than conventional collared shirts, so they are suitable to wear as part of a smart casual style.

Also read: Chambray Shirt, What is it and How to Wear It?

2. Unstructured blazer

Unstructured blazers are different from regular suits. These blazers are sometimes not accompanied by padding on the chest and shoulders, the pleats are not stiff, resulting in a more voluminous appearance loose.

Meanwhile, traditional blazers usually accentuate the shoulders, create clean lines, and are synonymous with business attire.

Unstructured blazers look more relaxed and natural, so they are easy to combine with casual clothes such as chinos, t-shirts, polo shirts and knitwear.

3. Drawstring pants

Until a few years ago, drawstring trousers were not very popular. However, along with people’s desire to dress casually, especially during the pandemic, these trousers are increasingly popular.

Drawstring trousers offer a different comfort than regular trousers.

On average, drawstring trousers are made from cotton and wool. This material makes drawstring pants comfortable to wear like sports pants, but has a neat appearance like material pants.

We can combine drawstring trousers with knitwear, coats and loafers.

4. Minimalist sneakers

Minimalist sneakers are one of the best choices for smart casual footwear.

Many brands on the market provide sneakers like this. Look for ones made from leather, with minimal and neat designs.

5. Jeans

Jeans are a smart casual item that can enhance or detract from our appearance, depending on the type.

In order not to spoil the look, choose dark jeans in black or unwashed indigo.

Dark colors will be easy to combine with Oxford shirts, Derby shoes, sneakers, or other classic men’s clothing.

Regarding trouser size, look for ones that are not too tight and not too wide. Finally, roll up the hem of the trousers just above the shoes.

6. Brown Derby shoes

Derby shoes are similar to Oxford shoes, but more relaxed. The difference between the two shoes is in the laces.

Oxford shoes have a closed lacing system, where the eyelets are sewn under the front of the shoe for a slimmer look.

On the other hand, Derby shoes have an open lacing construction, where eyelets are sewn over the vamp. This construction makes Derby shoes more comfortable and easier to wear.

In short, Derby shoes fall somewhere in the middle, neither too formal nor too casual. We can combine these shoes with jeans or neat trousers.

Look for Derby shoes with a slightly thicker rubber sole to provide a contemporary look while offering easy grip on the ground when you’re caught in inclement weather.

Also read: There are many types of shoes, do you know the difference?

7. Chinos

Chino pants have long been popular with people looking for something that doesn’t look stiff.

Technically, chinos are special trousers designed by tailors with zippers and slanted pockets on the sides.

Chino actually refers to a cotton twill fabric that was first developed in the 19th century for the British and French military.

This fabric is designed to be durable and comfortable when soldiers wear sports.

Traditional chino trousers are usually khaki, but nowadays there are many other color choices.

This type of trousers is no longer associated with military trousers, but has become a popular item for men besides jeans.

Choose chino trousers with a regular fit that looks wide at the thighs but tapers at the toes.

Also read: What is Smart Casual Style and How to Mix and Match It?


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