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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The secret to looking sharp in any situation (smart casual or otherwise)
- Put on a blazer and accessorise with a pocket square– stay away from the straight fold (leave that for Mondays to Thursdays).
- If you want to wear a tie- keep it slim (and keep it plaid).