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A Guide To Smart Casual Dress Code For Men

A Guide To Smart Casual Dress Code For Men

Have you got an invitation to a party that has asked for a “smart casual dress code” and you’re not sure what the heck is it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. As the term suggests “smart casual”, simply means that you have to combine a pair of smart clothing with something casual. strikes a balance between formal and casual attire. 

This style allows men to express their personal style while still looking put-together. As simple as the term is there’s a thin line between you looking sophisticated and not jarring. In this comprehensive blog, we will unravel the mystery of what is smart casual dressing, different types of smart casual dressing based on the event, unique elements that will make you stand out and some cheat codes to make you dress up smart casual with style.

A] What Is Smart Casual Dress Code For Men?

Smart Casual Attire strikes a balance between professional and relaxed dressing. It’s about presenting a polished appearance while remaining approachable and comfortable. This style typically includes collared shirts, blazers, well-fitted chinos or dark jeans, khakis, dress shoes, or stylish leather footwear. 

It’s a step up from casual wear like plain t-shirts, yet not as formal as wearing a complete suit. This versatile dress code allows you to look refined without feeling overly formal, making it suitable for a wide range of settings and events.

B] What Are The Different Types Of Smart Casual? 

1. Formal

This type is more refined and leans towards a polished appearance. This answers your question of “what is a business casual dress code”It typically includes well-tailored blazers, dress shirts, trousers or chinos, and leather shoes for occasions such as business meetings, upscale dinners, or professional events. You can also get a dressier accessory like a tie or pocket square to improve the look.

2. Informal

This style embraces a relaxed yet stylish vibe. It comprises polo shirts, cosy sweaters, and versatile options like dark jeans or khakis, paired with casual footwear such as loafers or trendy sneakers. Accessories such as a sleek belt or a stylish watch can complement the outfit. This style perfectly suits casual gatherings, social outings, or informal work environments, striking a balance between a laid-back and a polished look that is both comfortable and presentable.

C] Elements Of Smart Casual Attire

1. Shirts/T-shirts

A well-fitted button-down men’s casual shirt is a great choice for smart casual attire. To add extra dressiness add a blazer over a floral shirt for men and for less dressy days a t-shirt can be a good option. Make sure it’s clean and has a good fit. If you are stuck on the colour or pattern you can either go with a monochromatic shade like white or grey or choose a blue shirt with white stripes.

2. Bottom Wear

When you are building a collection of smart casuals, don’t choose pants that can be dressed in both ways which are formal and casual. You can invest in good denim jeans, cargo, khakis, linen pants or chinos that are wearable in multiple settings. Choose neutral tones such as beige, grey, and navy and ensure they fit you well.

3. Shoes

Good shoes matter! As an old saying goes, ‘Clothes do make a man, but shoes play a big part in the making.’ Invest in a good pair of loafers or shoes and keep them polished for a refined look.

4. Accessories 

You’ve dressed well with the right outfit and shoes, but do you feel like something’s still missing? That’s where accessories come in. They’re great for adding a bit of your personality to your outfit and making it look better overall. Things like a leather belt, a classic wristwatch, or cufflinks can add a stylish touch to what you’re wearing.

D] Five Smart Casual Key Pieces Every Man Needs

Understanding men’s smart casual attire is simple! Here are 5 Smart Casual Key Clothing Items to decode the style puzzle.

1. Relaxed-Fit Blazer

When it comes to nailing the smart casual or business casual look, an unstructured blazer is your go-to piece. Look for one in navy or charcoal; these colours work wonders in lifting your outfit. Pair it with dark jeans for that smart yet relaxed vibe, or throw it over a T-shirt for a laid-back but polished style.

2. Military-Inspired Jacket

While a blazer rules business and smart casual, sometimes an unstructured jacket feels too dressy. Meet the ‘blazer bomber’ inspired by military uniforms, it carries a formal touch. For smart casual, opt for a slim, dark-coloured bomber in a luxe fabric like wool or cotton. It’s your go-to for informal elegance.

3. Denim Button-Down

A chambray shirt is a versatile wardrobe staple. Its soft, denim-like fabric offers comfort and style. Perfect for casual or semi-formal occasions, it pairs effortlessly with jeans for a relaxed look or dresses up with chinos.

4. Dark Jeans

Dark jeans are a fundamental element in men’s smart casual attire. Versatile and refined, they suit diverse occasions. When matched with a blazer or a dress shirt, they exude sophistication. Their darker hue lends an air of elegance, making them a crucial component for a polished yet relaxed smart casual look.

5. Brogue Shoes

The timeless style of derbies is capable of suiting various outfits and occasions. Featuring open lacing and a less formal structure than oxfords, they elevate looks effortlessly. They are perfect for semi-formal occasions, and pair easily with trousers or dark jeans, adding sophistication to the outfit.

E] Smart Casual Dressing Tips

1. Keep It Simple But Classy

Classy doesn’t mean wearing expensive clothes. It simply means wearing good-quality clothing pieces, which are clean and ironed. If you are confused or in doubt, don’t go overboard. Simply wear well-fitted pants or dark jeans with printed shirts for men or flannel shirts for men. You can add a smart touch by layering it with a blazer or a cardigan. Try to avoid clothes that are too flashy, sparky or wrinkled. 

Shoes like loafers, brogues, or clean sneakers go well with this style. Keep accessories simple, like a watch or some basic jewellery. Remember, the way you dress might change depending on where you’re going. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident while looking put-together.

2. Wear Complimentary Colours

Wearing complimentary colours can elevate your appearance. Stick to a colour scheme that works well such as navy and beige, grey and burgundy. The combination of these colours creates a polished appearance and adds sophistication without being too formal. 

You can pair a navy blazer with classy grey pants and a white shirt. Remember, it’s not just about the individual pieces but also about how the colours blend to create a stylish outfit for your smart casual attire.

3. Fabric Of Cloth

The type of fabric greatly influences how smart or casual an outfit appears. Formal wear like sleek business suits often uses smooth, shiny materials like worsted wool. However, opting for textured fabrics like matte flannel or tweed can shift an outfit to a more casual feel. 

These fabrics not only change the garment’s touch but also its visual size, contributing to a relaxed vibe. Remember, this texture trick applies to shirts, knits, trousers, and even shoes to casualize any piece effortlessly.

4. Nail The Detail

Getting the little things right is key for a smart casual style. Make sure your clothes are neat and not crumpled. It’s important that your outfit fits you well, like it’s made for you. Add some classy accessories, such as a nice watch or subtle jewellery, to give your look a boost.

And don’t forget about your shoes make sure they’re clean and go well with your outfit. Paying attention to these small things can really make your smart casual outfit stand out in a good way.

5. Swap Any Clothing Item

A quick tweak in one clothing item can transform your smart-casual vibe. Swap your formal shirt for a crisp polo or a well-fitted T-shirt—still classy but more relaxed. Instead of dress shoes, try clean, stylish sneakers. Ditch the blazer for a sleek cardigan or a casual jacket. 

Wearing dark jeans over trousers can instantly dial down the formality while keeping it smart. Small changes like these can give your outfit a fresh, laid-back feel while maintaining a smart appearance.


Dressing smart casually isn’t just about the clothes, it’s about the confidence you carry and finding your style. By combining sophistication with comfort, playing with colours, focusing on the details and playing with textures, you can ace the smart casual look effortlessly. But don’t compromise on the fabric, always choose a cloth of good quality material. 

At Thomas Scott, we have a wide range of shirts and trousers of good quality and affordable rates. Remember, it’s not a strict rulebook but a guideline to express your personality. Keep experimenting and adapt to the versatility of what’s looking good, based on the place and occasion. Whether it’s a workplace gathering or a night out, let your outfit speak for you.

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