What do you wear when the dress code says SMART CASUAL?https://gentl.mn/smart-casual
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The term casual today can be anything from gym clothes or athleisure, all the way up to something that's office appropriate such as a dress shirt and chinos. Now obviously, there is a big disconnect and just having the casual dress code is no longer enough. So if you get an invitation with a dress code smart casual, I hear your pain.
You really don't know exactly what to wear so we'll help you out, we will define what smart casual is, what it's not, the historic background, as well as the do's and don'ts.
So what exactly is smart casual?
Historically, the term was coined because people showed up overly casual and the smart implied that you can't show up with joggers and trainers. If you look at the urban dictionary, it defines smart casual as a nonsensical dress code that people slap on to events, parties, and workplaces. Completely down to interpretation, this always causes confusion and often spectacular results. The mixture between smart and casual should not be taken literally. So while it's hilarious, sadly, it's not very helpful. So here is our definition of smart casual.
First, the urban dictionary got it right by saying don't take it literally. That means, don't wear tennis shoes with a dress shirt, or combine sweatpants with a blazer. So in a nutshell, smart casual is not about mixing different pieces of clothing from different degrees of formality but rather to pick something that is in between a very casual outfit and a formal or businesslike outfit. A hoodie would be too casual and pleated wool dress pants would be too formal, instead, if you go with chinos, they are less formal, as well as a polo shirt, you hit that perfect sweet spot of smart casual.
You can usually find smart casual dress codes in a social environment such as cruise ships, restaurants, or resorts. The whole idea is to look neat and presentable without being overly stuffy. So let's say you work in a white-collar office and you have an invitation to a smart casual event afterwards and you usually wear dress shirts, ties, and pinstripe suits, you definitely want to bring a change of clothes.
Now that we defined the broad range of smart casual, let's talk about specific items you can wear.
On the formal side would be an odd jacket or a blazer. Odd jacket meaning it has a bolder pattern, another color, and it doesn't match the pants. You don't want to wear a suit, a combination at most.
When it comes to shirts, you should definitely stay clear of t-shirts but you can wear dress shirts. Go with checked shirts maybe in a collar such as the green one I'm wearing here right now.
When it comes to pants or slacks, don't wear jeans and don't wear pleated pants made out of worsted wool because that's office wear and both of them are too extreme.
When it comes to accessories, color is your friend. You can be much bolder than at the office and you can experiment and simply have fun.
If you decide to wear a blazer or an odd jacket, I strongly recommend you wear a bold pocket square or maybe a boutonniere that is just contrasting, it's a pop of color, it's different, and it's fun.
Another way I like to spice up smart casual outfits is to use colorful socks. You could be bolder, you can experiment, you can go really out there, or you can be a little more subdued.
If it's cold outside and you need some gloves, I suggest to go with fun colors such as dark green, maybe a light tan, blue, or red, and stay clear of the traditional black gloves, or just boring Brown gloves.
When it comes to shoes, I suggest you stay with leather shoes. They can have a leather sole or a rubber sole but they must not be black because that's too formal. Instead, go with brown tones or tans but you can also venture into green, maybe off-white, or dark burgundy red
At the end of the day, it's your call. Personally, I'd always urge you to get a little bit more formal within the smart casual dress code because that way, you always look dapper and properly attired.
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There’s shirt you’re wearing in this video bothers me because of the opening at the upper chest. I think it just looks sloppy. Of course I know the top buttons are not to be buttoned but in this case and many others I’ve seen in your videos that aspect bothers me. Please understand this comment comes from a complete sartorial hobbyist. By the way I really enjoy and learn a lot from your videos thank you so much!!
Hi Sven, I love the videos. I start a new job on Monday as a Health and Safety Advisor for a company here in the UK. The dress code is Smart Casual. I'm a bit worried about getting it wrong on the first day so i'm thinking of dressing up and wearing a suit until I can gauge what everyone else wears. I feel more comfortable dressing up than dressing down so I may end up wearing a suit every day.
Any advice would be great.
I think you got it wrong here mate. Wearing a daggy beige cardy for smart casual? I don't think so. Plus, jeans aren't strictly a no-no. They can be paired with a sport coat to great affect. Love your videos usually, but I think you missed the mark on this one.
I haven't worn polo shirts since I was elementary school, but I'm potentially considering them so that I can look more 'dressy' within casual settings---settings within which a suit would be too formal. What do others think about polo shirts? If others think they're too preppy or cheesy, then what about softer, more drape-y polo shirts?
Upscale Resort is the idea I form in my mind, like Bermuda shorts and canvas boating shoes, Marinière with neckerchief, or Cricket sweater over white Polo shirt for Summer ; Duffle-coat, scarf and leather gloves over corduroy pants and leather hiking boots with shawl collar sweater and cravat for Winter. And Mr Schneider, teasing your viewers with your flesh may be funny, but wayyy too casual... Hahaha! Cheers!
I don't know what to say after watching this, thought it would be a good source of inspiration. Correct size would be good, everything looks like you should wear a few sizes smaller for it to look proper. Maybe it's just me not agreeing with your style though, feels very American for me as a European.
Unrelated, but I've got a question for you Sven, or anyone else. What are the rules about wearing a watch? What kind of shirt cuffs? I can't wear it to black tie events, correct? Anything else? Thanks a bunch
Hey Raphael ! I would like to know what are your thoughts on streetwear , such as brands like supreme , palace , bape....etc. As a young man trying to become more stylish , I'm still surrounded by this "street-style". What are your thoughts ? Thanks a lot for inspiring me to become a gentleman :)
Hello Sven, I have an important question for you. I am planning to attend the Viennese Ball next year and gathering the pieces for the white tie dress code. I already have black formal shoes, but those are double monk straps (solid black, captoe). Can those be considered appropriate for white/black tie events? If not, can I wear black brogues? I just personally do not like black oxfords without broguing.
I know this is a topic that we could all debate for days, but my take:
keep the shoes smart, sneakers are too casual for me
coloured accessories and socks
jeans with a good fit, such as slimmer fit are good for smart casual
white shirt with jeans is decent smart casual
T-shirt and blazer combo, if properly done, looks pretty decent
polos are too casual for me, though i don't like polos at all so maybe that's my bias.
Hi! Thank you for this good video. Like you seem to say, the level of casual depends on the dress code in the workplace. At my place, I am wearing what you call "smart casual". The rules that I break: wearing a unicolor blue or white office shirt, a tie and black shoes (if it fits with the rest). I also stay away from bright colors, as it is a workplace.
Still, I overdress my colleagues, who use to wear hooded sweaters and jeans. But I don't want to overdress too much with a suit (except for special events).
Genuinely chuffed to see another video by Gentlema's Gazette. Good advice, I will, however, say that may be the ascot tie is a bit over the top for smart casual, but then again, every one has a different interpretation.
Well my go to outfit consists of a roll neck, jeans and Chelsea Boots or minimalistic sneakers and I personally would describe this as smart casual since you can always dress it up by wearing a sports jacket or another smart jacket.
Hi Sven great vid again. This Saturday I have a school reunion with an evening dinner and going out afterwards. I'm deciding between a black suit with a blue/black plain/paisley tie and black Oxfords or a designer blue Versace suit with a blue Versace tie and Gucci loafers, what would you suggest? I also have a dinner shirt with a black/white bow tie but I've currently ruled that out though last Saturday night I saw a couple of dinner suites with bow ties??
Thank you so much for this video. Always loved your content, but can't always afford all the suggestions xD - one day. This has been the most relatable video as my work events ALWAYS have smart casual. Few truly follow it unfortunately, following more of a business/semi formal dress code...maybe because the majority also didn't know what to make of smart casual dress haha. Thanks!
tbh I see there as 2 fashion insutries: the arty side and the dress side. The dress side is stuff people actually wear, the arty side is just for runways and shows and is more akin to performance art and dress up. I tink you
i think the right, dark pair of jeans done properly, say with a patterned dress shirt and a sport coat and appropriate leather shoes easily takes the title of "smart casual". but i guess, you are gonna disagree with me on this too LOL! just like how i think your current outfit is a tad below the smart casual level.
Agreed. Just stay away from faded jeans, or ripped jeans etc. Even lighter colours could probably work if the colours all work together well (though I would definitely stay away from a light blue denim myself).
As always, perfectly put together video, a love to watch ! I have had a question for a very long time and wanted to ask you about it, maybe you know some magic trick: I usually find it difficult to put on over the calf socks because they block my pants around the knee area, even though I'm quite a slim guy. Did you find this to be a problem and if so, how do you deal with it? Many thanks for your videos and your overall work. Salutations françaises !
Yep, I'd wear sneakers with smart casual outfits too, as long as the outfit is on the more casual side. ESPECIALLY leather sneakers, or high quality/minimalist sneakers. Such as Common Projects Achilles in White. But once again, thanks for this great video.
Great topic! This is what I wear almost every day. I also wear smart casual to work, as I work in a casual, fabrication shop setting in a small city. I am always looking for ways to dress up a bit without being too formal and alienating my co-workers.
Yes, checkout the guide on business casual here https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/business-casual-men-attire/?utm_campaign=social-lead-gen&utm_medium=video&utm_source=youtube&utm_content=smart-casual-men&utm_term=youtube-description
OMG Yesss! A video explaining Smart Casual! THANK YOU! Smart casual is my forte, it's what I wear most often. I will show this to my friend. I used your business casual video to help me explain to him, what smart casual is.
I just dont agree with saying no to jeans. I think jeans are fine for smart casual, as are Chinos.Sweatpants are too casual and dresspants are too formal. But that's just what I do, just my opinion.
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