Three men posing in smart casual outfits, featuring a blazer, dress shirt, trousers, and leather shoes.

Mastering the Art of Smart Casual Dressing for Men

Smart casual dress code, besides being widely embraced in recent years, is equally usually misunderstood and most people find it difficult to define. This makes things even harder when you are invited to an event or got a job offer to a company where it is the expected dress code.

What Exactly is Smart Casual Dress Code?

Using Mr. Porter’s Style Advice page insights, smart casual involves, “pretty much anything smarter than a tracksuit, but less formal than a suit”. Smart casual attire can be defined simply as the bridging dress code between business casual wear and fully casual wear. This means that you are expected to break the formality of business casual a little bit more but also be careful not to cross to the other side and be overly casual.

A lot of fashionistas agree that smart-casual dressing involves having informal apparel but one that is carefully matched up to factor in smartness and exudes a great sense of neatness. Think of toned-down chinos with a matching blazer, paired up with Chelsea boots or low-profile sneakers.

Smart casual wears continue to gain popularity across different sectors as well as ages. Most tech firms and some corporate offices now endorse it as the accepted mode of dressing. It also offers unmatched flexibility since it can be worn on a dinner date, in a semi-formal meeting, and at some weddings.

Ideas for Men’s Smart Casual Dress Code

If someone walked up to you and asked what a smart casual form of dressing is, you would probably think about it for way more time than you expected. That is right because explicitly defining smart casual attire can be daunting.

This is because you cannot draw an exact borderline on its extremities as you can for formal business wear. What is expected of you can vary in regard to the context. The following tips will help you have a standing ground for smart-casual dressing.

1. Subdued Colors

One of the major differences between casual wear and smart casual is the colors. While for casual dress code one can get creative with bright colors, smart casual tends to lean towards darker shades and monochromatic outfits. For example, denim jeans paired with a subdued navy-blue blazer, a button-down white shirt, and complemented by understated belt buckles would do.

2. Avoid Loud Patterns 

Although smart casual incorporates more informality as compared to business casual, it is very important to ensure you don’t go overboard with the patterns. Shouting patterns or prints such as logos should entirely be avoided.

3. Timelessness 

A key feature of smart casual dressing is timelessness. Flashy and trendy wears, most of which lie under the casual category, are a no-go. Despite you being able to mix up your outfits to bring out the best version of your personal style with smart casual wear, features such as ragged jeans should be eliminated.

4. Weather, Location, and Time 

Just like in any other form of dressing, these considerations are also integral in your bid to look dapper. Weather should always guide you in dressing, not only with the type of fabric but also the pieces to include. During winter a coat and scarf would probably be part of your outfit. For an evening event, you are more likely to wear a blazer rather than an over shirt.

5. Remain Smart and Tidy 

For the smart-casual dressing, this is the golden rule. At HolloMen looking sharp and dapper is a phrase commonly used to express this. Although the smart casual dress code gives a “laid-back” attitude, maintaining tidiness and smartness should not be compromised. Aspects such as ensuring your clothes are neatly ironed and accessories are accurately matched go a long way.

Quick Tips for a Dapper Look With Smart Casual Outfits

Shirts and Pants

The most common smart casual outfit for men is a collared shirt paired with chinos or dark jeans. A collared shirt can be either long or short sleeved, depending on the occasion and weather. 

Chinos or dark jeans are a great choice for smart casual wear as they are comfortable and can be dressed up or down. For a more formal look, you can opt for a blazer or suit jacket.

Examples of Great Footwear for a Smart Casual Look

Footwear is also an important part of any smart casual outfit. Loafers, boat shoes, and Oxfords are all good options for a smart casual look. For a more casual look, sneakers or canvas shoes can also work.

A Simple Way to Accessorize a Smart Casual Outfit

Accessories, including custom pins, are a great way to add a personal touch to any smart casual outfit. A belt, watch, and sunglasses are all great options. A leather bag or briefcase is also a great way to complete the look.

Smart casual wear is a great way for men to look stylish and presentable without being overly formal. With the right pieces, you can create a look that is perfect for any occasion.


Spruce up your days with a great sense of fashion. Have these considerations at the back of your head any time you go to your wardrobe for smart-casual wear and see yourself maintain the dignity of a fashionable modern gentleman. 

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