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A Modern Man’s Guide to Smart Casual and How to Pull It Off

A man’s smart casual outfit is the perfect wear for any event, whatever dress code there is – unless it’s black tie, of course! But, smart casual is an umbrella term that covers a lot of different clothing. This might have you, a gentleman looking to expand his smart casual wardrobe, what this term actually means, and how to pull it off!

For your stylish benefit, we shed a little light on the world of smart casual clothing, below.

What does smart casual mean?

Smart casual is exactly how it sounds! It refers to outfits that are more elegant than a t-shirt and jeans, but less serious than a tuxedo. You have to find a sophisticated, smart middle ground between these two fashion extremes. Fortunately, there are a few staple wardrobe pieces that are perfectly smart casual and fit for any occasion.


We don’t mean just any shirt, here. Long-sleeved and well-fitted shirts for men are a must-have for any modern, smart casual wardrobe. Shirts can ‘dress up’ denim jeans, and even be colorfully patterned to show the world your charm and character.


Even a sleek pair of trainers can be smart casual if you pair them with the right shirt and trousers! Shoes have a greater impact on the finish of your outfit than you might think. As a general rule, we recommend Brogue or Oxford shoes in fine leather as the ideal smart casual shoe. A modern man should purchase these shoes in both black and brown to match his smart casual wardrobe in its entirety.


The informal outfit is also defined by the kind of trousers you wear. Denim jeans may be acceptable in some environments, particularly when combined with a long-sleeved shirt, but we profess the smart look of cotton trousers overall. Cotton trousers, in a neutral color, pair well with any smart shirt without seeming overly formal. Tailoring your trousers is important, however, as an essential marker of a proper smart casual outfit is that everything fits like a glove!


Blazers are a need, not a want, for a smart casual wardrobe. Although you might think a blazer is more suited to a formal dinner or business conference, this isn’t necessarily true. A blazer that fits your body and in a monotone color like black, grey or white can elevate a simple t-shirt or polo shirt to the ultra-modern standard of ‘smart casual.’


Although accessories aren’t a clothing item, they’re just as important to the final finish of your outfit. Your accessories are your unique personality when it comes to expressing yourself through clothing, and they could really enhance a smart casual look. Something as simple as wearing a lovely silver chain can easily bring out the fine and sophisticated quality of a casual shirt and jean combo.

T.M Lewin know menswear inside and out, and if you’re looking for another smart casual piece to add to your wardrobe, we highly advise exploring their clothing lines.

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