Photography: Joseph Alexiadis
Editor: Katerina Theocharis
Smart casual. It is unintentionally informal, but casual. It is creative and oozes effortless sophistication.
Smart casual is defined as informal attire, yet neat and classic. It might sound quite confusing, but we could say that it is a form of “being well-dressed in a casual style”. The truth is that smart casual has not as strict rules as other dress codes (for example Black Tie is quite unmistakable), but if you follow some simple guidelines you can be pretty much creative with your smart casual outfit.
The key to a rocking smart casual attire is to understand the context, the location and the type of the event. For example, if you need to attend a birthday party in a garden, you would choose a different outfit than if you needed to attend a business event at a fancy hotel. Sometimes, the occasion requires to wear a more casual outfit, other times a smarter one. There is a rule which says that “It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed” and has become classic fashion wisdom. Smart casual is where comfort and elegance meet, so garments have to be in harmony to achieve an appealing result.
What to wear on top
A well-tailored – fitted blazer or jacket is a safe bet. Regarding the color, you could choose something neutral, which is versatile and can be used in many looks. The fabric should be nor too formal, neither too casual. Something like cotton/linen in the warmer months could be a nice option.
For my smart casual outfit I opted for an unconstructed grey linen tweed jacket, made of Loro Piana fabric, that gave an elegant and sharp touch to my looks.
Treading the line between formal and relaxed perfectly, a crisp well-tailored solid-color shirt is essential to a smart casual outfit. Of course, it is not your only choice as patterned shirts (for example stripped) can bring personality to any outfit, but can only be safely combined with classic solid-color garments.
A T-shirt, most of the time, is not smart casual. The reason is that if you need to take the jacket off, the formal hue of your outfit will be lost and your look will appear casual. Pairing a T-shirt with a blazer is always an option, but you will have to play the cards carefully. Daring pieces with graphics or logos should not be worn with a smart casual outfit. A solid-color quality T-shirt would be fine.
Regarding the trousers, you can choose among chinos, denim jeans or tailored pants. Well fitted, unwrinkled and neutral chinos are a quite elegant option. If you choose to wear denim jeans you should better keep them dark, fitted and sophisticated.
For my smart casual outfit, I opted for a pair of 21 micron VBC cool wool grey trousers, a piece that complemented my outfit perfectly.
Shoes play an important factor when trying to dress up or dress down an outfit. The key for looking sharp in smart casual is balance, so a pair of shoes that it is nor too formal, neither too casual is a perfect fit.
A pair of fringed tasseled loafers, like the ones I chose today for my smart casual look, is a stylish, versatile and sophisticated option. From casual looks to suits and blazers, loafers are always stylish. You can go from classic colors for a more gentle look, to bolder colors or patterns for a style statement. It’s up to you.
And when it comes to loafers, there is always the question: To wear socks or not? There is a huge debate about if one should wear socks or not with a pair of loafers. The rule says that you shouldn’t. But, rules are meant to be broken. You could wear socks that match your trousers for a safe result, or go the extra mile with a pair of colored socks contrasting your outfit.
Neckties and bow-ties are not considered to be smart casual. Alternatively, you should use a patterned pocket square to embellish your outfit. Moreover, a beautiful watch sporting a leather strap would be a perfect addition to complete your smart casual outfit!