smart casual for men

Smart Casual Dress Code for Men: The Fashion-Forward Guide

The smart casual attire for men is one of those styles that allows you really promote yourself. While it requires some level of delicacy above casual wear, it isn’t so formal as the professional business style. Therefore, you should carefully consider how to carry out your smart-casual outfit.

You need to be sure that your clothes help you communicate who you're and what you want to achieve. But you shouldn't limit this style for special events. It can quickly become your regular attire if you wish. It's meant to be fancy and practical but also comfy and flexible to adapt to various situations.
Ready to reveal how to embrace smart casual with style? Let’s jump in!

What is Smart Casual Dress Code?

Smart casual is an amalgam of two naturally different dress codes. On the one hand, the term “smart” means a dressed-up aesthetic, something more formal than your classic T-shirt and jeans. Laid-back, tranquil, fresh, plain; casual outfit brings to mind clothing that is anything except "smart'. Evidently, this is a combination of the two dress codes; but it has expanded as a more sophisticated style wave.

It gives you more space to experiment with different materials and shapes. Try always to express your strengths and find silhouettes and colors that suit you – don't stick to much to the rules; this isn't cocktail attire or business professional outfit.

Smart Casual vs Business Casual

When planning your outfit, it's crucial to know whether you're dressing for a business casual or smart casual dress code. Although both types of outfits are similar in that they mix elevated and relaxed clothes, each features a distinctive aesthetic. When dressing for a smart business casual occasion or event, blend elements from your office and weekend closets, such as a white button-up shirt and black crew-neck sweater with a pair of toffee chino pants.

Smart Casual Outfits

We have reviewed several core fashion ingredients that will ensure your men’s smart casual style skyrockets your self-confidence and style.


A  is definitely what will create your smart casual look apart from any other casual outfit. Begin with a classic navy casual blazer that will be easy to combine with other garments. A blazer is a timeless item that should stay with you for a long time, so it’s worth buying quality materials and design.

Matching one with a pair of chinos or slim-fit jeans can create a disharmonious structural contrast between bottom and top, which is a big tailor’s misstep. The leisure styling of a casual blazer annuls this nuisance completely, making sense of coherence throughout.

mens smart casual


While a blazer is perfect for building a smart casual image, there are other jackets that you can wear for this dress style. A sophisticated commuter jacket or shirt jacket is a stylish alternative to conventional tailored designs. To ensure you look smart instead of shambolic, make sure you match your jacket with elevated pieces, such as tailored pants, casual shirt, and loafers.


Chino pants are great to stir up things from time to time. The same upper attire worn with chinos instead of your jeans will instantly change your overall look. Invest in the right cut in classic colors such as beige, khaki, or navy, which are easy to match. Comfy and stylish, these pants also can help you achieve a wise casual look. Chino pants are ideal for events with ambiguous dress codes, particularly the smart casual and business casual styles.
Chino pants


Well-fitted long-sleeve shirts are absolutely necessary to your wardrobe. For a more laid-back appearance, you can roll up the cuffs. Begin building up your shirt closet with easy to combine colors. A single-color shirt in a traditional tone is a safe option, but it certainly isn’t your only one. Patterned shirts bring personality to a look and can be balanced out with more classic garments if you’re worried about going over the edge.
long-sleeve shirts


Choose plain tees without too much color or print. A classic white or black t-shirt will work as an excellent starting point if you want to accomplish a stylish and comfortable appearance. A horizontal striped T-shirt can also be an easy way to add dimension, but ensure they’re traditionally nuanced and not too bright to sustain a classic sense. Also, be careful about the material of your T-shirt. Lower quality and poor-fitting tees don't make the cut for everyday casual style, so they most certainly are a no-go for smart casual dressing.


With shorts, you need to avoid boardshorts, cargo shorts, anything below the knee, and anything you could play a sport in should be ignored. Go for something tailored to show you're putting in a bit of effort, a cotton or cotton-linen combination. Choose chino shorts to boost your look instantly, and keep it simple with grey, navy, or cream.
chino shorts


The trademark of the informal outfit since the 50s, great-fitting jeans can easily be dressed up or down. If you want to channel a more polished appearance, opt for a quality pair of jeans in straight-leg styles and dark colors. Jeans are great, but let’s face it a pair of navy chinos can match any style effortlessly.


The shoes that you put on will have a significant impact on your overall look. Boots, Oxfords, or loafers work well, giving a more sophisticated touch to your outfit. In terms of material for your shoe choices, choose suede for a well-textured, semi-formal touch. A good pair of sneakers can also be a perfect option, but keep in mind that you should opt for neat, minimalist styles.


No smart casual style is complete without the accessories. To put the ideal finishing tone on your outfit, opt for accessories stylish without feeling dressed. A belt is imperative but go for a brown leather style for the right balance of sophisticated and relaxation. You can wear a tie or not. If you go without, add a pocket square to dress up your image a little more. Other accessories you may desire to wear are a stylish yet casual watch and smooth sunglasses.

7 Pro-Style Rules

Here are 7 must-follow tips to help you look your best when dressing casually:
  • Define your goals – This will form the cornerstone of your style. Do you want to project self-confidence? Do you want to demonstrate that you care about an event and dress up accordingly? Or do you prioritize comfort first and foremost? Select an outfit that will help you accomplish your objectives;
  • Buy a few timeless pieces – Some items in your closet won't last for more than a season. They'll stay with you for years to come. That’s the case with a designer blazer, high-end sneakers, or a brand-name watch. Decide which garments you want to keep and invest in quality over quantity;
  • Cover your base – When building up your wardrobe, start first with neutral colors such as white, black, brown, grey, and tan. Those are all easy to combine and match and will never go out of fashion;
  • Elevate and personalize your look with a couple of items – Once you have the backbones of your style, you can add your own personal touch to the outfit by playing with luxurious fabrics such as cashmere or silk and bolder colors. These should be reserved for the accessories such as watch strap, belt, and more;
  • Consider the occasion – Whatever your own personal style is, you should always pay close attention to the social context and environment. Understand what is expected and then build your outfit according to your aims;
  • Fit is the king – There is nothing more depressing than seeing a man hitting out the right style with the faux fit. It’ll completely ruin your efforts if your clothes are overly tight and uncomfortable or too sloppy or baggy. If you invest time defining your style, be sure that the execution is adequate.

Smart Casual Look of the Day

  • To create a stylish, smart casual outfit, combine everyday clothes with more sophisticated garments;
  • Make sure to choose color and style that fit your preferences;
  • For a fashion-forward appearance, team up chinos with a button-up shirt and blazer;
  • When it comes to shoes, go for either Oxfords, boots, loafers, or a nice pair of sneakers.
  • Complete your outfit with a belt, pocket square, classic watch, and sleek sunglasses.

Smart Casual for Men FAQs

Can I wear jeans in smart casual?
Yes. Denim jeans are tolerable most of the time for the before wearing smart casual style. Wear dark-colored well-fitted jeans and stay away from ripped jeans.
How to dress smarter?
Begin by deciding how you want people to perceive you. Follow the simple rules explained above and always consider the occasion. That will put you on the right course to dressing smarter for any event.
How can I dress semi-formal?
Semi-formal is very ambiguous. It sits between business casual and smart casual. If you’re unsure about the expectations, take extra care and go with a casual business look.
How to dress for an interview?
It depends on the industry and the organization that you’re going to do the interview with. Most of the time, the smart casual attire will be too relaxed for a business interview. You should instead seek a formal business style or at least a casual business mode.