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The Best Smart Casual Dressing Guide You'll Ever Read

Trying to find the true meaning of the phrase smart casual can be difficult. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “neat, conventional, yet relatively informal in style, especially as worn to conform to a particular dress code”. But these days it’s quite common for smart casual to be the dress code.

Whatever the truth, it’s a fair assumption that smart casual is related in some respect to business casual, and the two are often used interchangeably, even though they’re different: one is for at work, and one isn’t. But back in the day, you didn’t just dress smartly to go to the office, but everywhere else too. As the traditional standards of dress eroded, smart casual was the hastily erected bulwark against total sartorial chaos.

Smart casual suggests a transitional period between dressing up – that’s to say, more formally – and dressing down with the comfort and self-expression that more and more men are looking for. The term also suggests a kind of panic among ‘authorities’ – restaurant managers, event organizers – as to how to handle the shift, so they’ve gone for some halfway house: dress casually but, you know, not too casually, please. The result? Endless confusion. Or men in blazers and open-neck business shirts.

What Smart Casual Means Today
Smart casual means nothing, so it can mean anything. The smart casual gamut comprises pretty much anything smarter than a tracksuit, but less formal than a suit. An ideal answer is a blazer, white shirt, neat jeans, and brown loafers. But there's so many more options.

...more to come

Look Sharp!