As the second instalment of our series on men’s contemporary dress codes, we explore the ever so elegant smart casual look. The series began with our guide to master the casual look. You’ll now discover how to instantly upgrade your style with a few simple garments.

The Modern Smart Casual Style Explained

If you’ve been invited to a party that requires a smart casual attire, you might be wondering exactly what that means. Smart casual is indeed an ambivalent and loosely defined dress code. Further complicating matters, the definition of the style varies significantly depending on the location and season of the occasion.

Smart casual generally means that you should wear neat and well-fitted clothes, preferably with a shirt and a blazer. It shouldn’t as formal as your business outfit, but it does have to show that you cared enough to make an effort with your clothes.

In most cases, you can wear dark-coloured jeans with a blazer. There is, however, one important exception to the rule if you’ve been invited to a smart casual wedding. For weddings, jeans won’t do. Opt instead for neat chinos in blue or beige and add a clean pocket square to your ensemble.

As a general rule, you should always keep the location and occasion in mind when selecting your outfit.

When unsure about what the host means by smart casual, ask them if they could share a few examples or check with other guests who might have been there before. When in doubt, opt for the more formal option. It’s always better to slightly overdressed than underdressed. No one ever said that a man looked too good.

And if you still need help, you can dive into this in-depth guide to men’s smart casual to find inspiration and guidance.

You don’t have to spend much money on your wardrobe but we do recommend that you invest in a few selected pieces that will last you for a long time. This is the case, in particular, with your blazer. Take a look at the best luxury brands of the year if you need guidance to know where to shop.

Because the smart casual style is relatively timeless, it isn’t really influenced by short-lived fashion trends. It’s thus easier to future-proof your wardrobe with a few selected items that you can keep for years.

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