Common Smart/Casual Dos & Don’ts
Do: Cover Your Bases
If you wear shoes that aren’t trainers and trousers that aren’t jeans, you’ll sidestep most smart casual pitfalls. A blazer will make you practically bulletproof.
Don’t: Uncover Your Arms
Whether they’re attached to a shirt, polo or T-shirt, short sleeves are casual (actual shorts even more so). Check that it’s safe before unholstering the guns.
Do: Lose The Tie
Outside of work, smart casual almost never calls for wearing a tie. A grandad shirt, polo, or roll neck will remove any ambiguity or the impression that you forgot your neckwear.
Don’t: Forget The Tie
Disclaimer: if you’re not sure, and it’s a formal smart casual occasion or a job interview at a casually dressed company, then you’ll never regret carrying a tie.
Do: Get Your Coat
Performing the same elevating effect, a neatly cut overcoat can even take the place of a blazer for informal smart casual events where you’ll take it off anyway.
Don’t: Stitch Yourself Up
For formal smart casual events, you might want to keep your blazer on, so wearing a removable overcoat over the top might be better than a knit underneath.
Do: Pattern Up Properly
With the exception of corporate pinstripes, patterns make pieces such as blazers and shirts look more casual, and you less like you came from the office.
Don’t: Try And Be A Legend
T-shirts are already casual, so avoid patterns, logos, slogans or (shudder) jokes. “Liquor in front, poker in rear” only advertises that you’ve got nothing upstairs.
Do: Keep It Tight
As outlined above, silhouette also determines formality. So ensuring that casual pieces fit correctly is one way to convey smartness. We said ‘casual’, not ‘sloppy’.
Don’t: Cut Off The Supply
There’s a difference between ‘fitted’ and ‘clingfilm’. Smart casual clothes that are too tight make you look like you’re gussied up for a night at some tacky nightclub.
Do: Get A Sweat On
A hoodie? Irredeemably informal. A blazer in the same material? You got game. A plain sweatshirt can also substitute for a knit under a casual tailored jacket.
Don’t: Jog On
Trousers or chinos with sporty drawstrings or cuffs are one thing, but jersey sweatpants are just barely permissible as casualwear. Remember: it’s smart casual.
Do: Roll With It
Smart casual is also about how you wear it. Take the formal edge off by rolling up your sleeves and the hems of your chinos to expose a touch of mankle.
Don’t: Let It All Hang Out
If your shirt is poking out from under a casual jacket like a bomber, that’s one (tolerable) thing. But if it’s protruding from under a blazer? Get tucking.
Do: Give It A Little Extra
Switch your leather dress watch for a sports one with a metal bracelet or Nato strap, and your leather belt for a woven one, maybe in a colour other than brown.
Don’t: Sock It To ‘Em
More than one online ‘style’ guide proposes expressing your personality through the medium of coloured or patterned hosiery. Don’t do this. Really, don’t.
We hope this little guide from Fashion Beans helps you, next time you head to your wardrobe for a smart/casual look!