The Monsieur’s Guide to Men’s Smart Casual: Courtesy of Mango HE SS2012

Posted on June 8, 2012

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Dress: smart casual. No three words have caused as much consternation as those found on countless invite cards. Also called business casual or dressed down, the death of the regular Mad Men 9-to-5 suit has left many sartorially clueless at what to wear for work and play- This Monsieur’s guide to Men’s Smart Casual would clear some of your burning questions.

Monsieur’s guide to Men’s Smart Casual featuring HE by Mango

A smarter look is achieved with knit tie and blazer.

Mango HE SS2012 presents Men’s Smart Casual

You have undoubtedly received much advice on how easy it is- collared shirt or polo and chinos but I don’t want you dressing like you’re in high school; we’re gentlemen and us Monsieurs like to dress casual on the side of sharp so here’s a few basic rules.

Monsieur’s guide to Men’s Smart Casual featuring HE by Mango

You can layer a checked shirt with solid cardigan/blazer and jeans for the ultimate smart casual look.

Top

Business casual is defined as a relaxed professional look. That means your business shirt can still be de rigueur just sans neck tie. Simply punch up the look with an assortment of check shirts and blazers. Button-down collars are optional but nice especially if you want to dress towards the prep school look.

Monsieur’s guide to Men’s Smart Casual featuring HE by Mango

Punch up the look with a pocket square. Sans socks, this look falls into smart casual category. With socks, you won’t be out of place at a cocktail party.

Pants

I espouse classic elegance often and so khakis or chinos are acceptable but I’m also a contrarian investor; that means while other “fashion advisors” would tell you to skip the jeans, I will tell you to embrace denim. The tip with jeans and smart casual is to keep your denim dark- it should blend in or match your blazer, in other words, like this look as envisioned by HE by Mango, it should not look like you’re wearing jeans.

Monsieur’s guide to Men’s Smart Casual featuring HE by Mango

Eschew dark demins? You can go light as well. Turn heads with strategic check patterns.

Shoes

The smart casual shoe of choice for dinner dates and parties- boat shoes, loafers and moccasins (ok to go sockless). For the office, wedding dinners or cocktails (with socks please), I prefer something dressier- dress shoes or patent leather, doesn’t matter if it’s black or brown only that they match your ensemble. No, you can’t break any rules with this one- it means sneakers are out.

Monsieur’s guide to Men’s Smart Casual featuring HE by Mango

Paired with cardigan and plaid knit tie, cream colored jeans with boots tilts the look towards casual, with boat shoes you get a smarter look. With oxford lace ups, you can even wear this look to the office.

The secret to looking sharp in any situation (smart casual or otherwise)

  1. Put on a blazer and accessorise with a pocket square- stay away from the straight fold (leave that for Mondays to Thursdays).
  2. If you want to wear a tie- keep it slim (and keep it plaid).
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Posted in: men's style