Hero Smart Casual
From shirt to socks
Smart casual dress code
A traditional suit with tie and heavy fabrics can be too formal and uncomfortable in some situations, whilst standard casual wear is also not quite appropriate.
If neither casual nor business casual is appropriate or if you do not want to look over- or underdressed, smart casual is the best choice. Smart casual is the dress code for offices in many sectors, meetings, drinks and dinner after work, or business trips.
Smart casual for men
Some people define this dress code as casual and informal but still elegant with high-quality materials, tailored to the relevant occasion. Others see it less as a question of available outfits than of good taste and an understanding of fashion.
Sporty elegance leaves lots of room for manoeuvre and interpretation, making it difficult to find the right balance. A suit without a tie and with an open shirt collar can be as much smart casual as trousers with a jacket or sports coat.
You don’t have to do away with a suit to fit this look – you just ensure a more laid-back appearance by replacing a tie with a breast pocket handkerchief in a contrasting colour to your suit, and don’t button your shirt up to the collar.
Shirts, T-shirts and jackets
Long-sleeved shirts are perfect with one of the basics – a jacket, sports coat or blazer. Outerwear alternatives are limited.
Opinions differ on T-shirts and polo shirts. However, on hot summer days a jacket and long-sleeved short may become rather warm, so you can weigh up the particular occasion to decide what would be appropriate.
In colder months, you can wear a simple turtleneck or pullover made from fine materials. A round-neck or V-neck pullover over a shirt is another option depending on what you prefer.
Jeans or trousers?
Fabric, corduroy or chino trousers in muted colours could all be considered. Don’t forget an inconspicuous belt, even if your trousers fit like a glove. Jeans are best left in the wardrobe unless they are an even dark blue or black.
For a professional appearance, it is also important to ensure that your clothes are not too baggy, wrinkled or faded. This excludes standard denim jeans from this particular dress code.
Socks and shoes
Don’t underestimate socks, which, even if unassuming, can immediately ruin a carefully composed outfit if you make an unfortunate choice. They should serve to link your shoes and your trousers by offering a colour that sits in-between, thus rounding off your entire outfit with a harmonious touch.
The best shoes are closed-toe options such as loafers, classy sneakers or moccasins, and you also can’t go wrong with lace-up shoes. Trainers or leather boots are not recommended for this dress code.
Since the smart casual dress code is rather reserved, you should go for inconspicuous patterns or unshowy colours such as browns, blues or greys.
If you want to add a stronger touch, try a discreetly patterned shirt or coloured socks – the latter have made a comeback in recent years and are no longer taboo if you want something a bit more striking. However, don’t overdo the colourful touches; just make sure that they always fit harmoniously within the outfit as a whole.
The comfort factor also plays a key role, and you should think seriously about the event to make sure that your choice is the right one. If you aren’t sure if your choice is elegant or smart enough, you are better off going for a style which leaves you feeling comfortable and confident.
Smart casual for women
Although this dress code is less strict for women because they have a much wider range of combinations to choose from, this does not make it any less complicated. You cannot go wrong with a trouser or skirt suit, but skirts can also be combined with a pullover or blouse if you prefer. Closed shoes with no more than a small heel, such as ballerinas or pumps, are always a good choice. In terms of colour, the same advice goes as for men: dark colours and subtle patterns ensure that your outfit sits in the happy medium between casual and elegant.