All too often, people confuse business casual with smart casual. And to be clear right from the start: smart casual is not something that you will wear at the office, not even for those infamous “casual Fridays”. This is when you will wear business casual, because you’re at the office and hopefully, you are there to do some business. It is that simple…

Anyways, now to smart casual. Smart casual would be the dress code for a low key kind of get together at a friend’s house or a neighborhood BBQ at the park. For occasions like this, a tie would make you overdressed, but on the other hand, you don’t want to wear shorts either. A nice pair of chino, from light khaki to a darker brown, will do the job perfectly. By the way: chino is a pair of pants, while khaki refers to the color…

On top of the pants, you want to wear a long sleeved dress shirt (even with a buttoned down collar) or anything else with a collar (polo or rugby shirts are just fine). And again: remember the short sleeve dress shirt mentioned in our “casual” section? THROW IT AWAY!

With shirt and pants all set, we might want to look at our feet and decide whether we want to slip into a pair of socks. Here, there is no simple rule –besides the mandatory and timeless “match the pants, not the shoes” credo. Some occasions simply don’t require you to wear socks, just like that picnic in the park. However, a casual dinner at the club will definitely require socks. And just to be clear: flip flops are an absolute no go in either case – nice slip-on loafers, drivers, or boat shoes are way better options and make you look infinitely more classy. And one last consideration regarding socks: please also think about your shoes every now and then. Shoes that are worn continuously without socks are significantly more exposed to sweat and wear out a lot faster. Who would have thought?

As a last step, you can wear a nice sweater or a sport coat to your smart casual outfit. Or both, as a matter of fact. You can also knot your sweater loosely around your shoulders. People also wear their sweaters around their waistline, which we consider somewhat suboptimal: wearing it around your waistline requires a tighter knot that just putting it on your shoulders. This tighter knot, however, will wear out the sleeves – especially if your “pullover” is made of fine fabrics like cashmere or alpaca. Lastly, if you decide to wear that sport coat, it is highly recommended to accessorize accordingly with the right pocket square (but that’s your standard, right?).

Back to Style: by Occasion

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