The smart-casual dress code is a nightmare, for may it conjures up images of selvage jeans and a semi-casual dress shirt. The reality is that you still have to actually work in the the summer months, but finding out what part of the outfit stays formal and what elements are relaxed, when offices are adopting business dress codes more than ever, summer office style comes with perks. Ultimately, the emphasis is on looking ‘smart’ and not under-doing an outfit.
Think about remaining neat and well turned-out whilst leaving the ‘casual’ side of things to the detailing. There’s less ties, more patterns brighter colours, cosier layers, and less expectations to look like Robbie Savage and more like Ryan Gosling. No matter what kind of office you work in, there are many ways and unlimited styles to look your best.
Smart casual means nothing, so it can mean anything. A crisp white shirt can elevate any look, and to keep with the ‘casual’ half of the smart-casual theme, ditch the tie and keep the top button undone. Accessorise with a necklace, belt and some jewellery to add a personal touch.
To tone down the formal look, opt for a lighter, less authoritarian fabrics. Consider linen or light cotton suits. Pair with a crisp, white t-shirt for a fresher, more relaxed feel but make sure you know the difference between ‘natural creasing’ and ‘crumpled mess”.
A blazer, white shirt, neat dark jeans and brown loafers is another ideal answer to your slightly more formal smart-casual. Sometimes this means ditching the denim in favour of the smarter, more classier alternative – the chino-style trousers, and with this look you’ve got a solid ensemble.
A jacket or blazer in the perfect way to add individuality and style to an outfit, and if you want to wear it in the cooler months try it with a heavier jacket that still fitted, in a neutral colour that’s versatile and can be used in may looks. Jackets are a necessity but you don’t always have to rely on suit jackets alone, your look can be heightened to smart with a well tailored jacket.
Let’s talk about shoes, as these are one of the most important part of your style. In summer, loafers are your friends or, if you must dress sandals. But loafers are perfect as they still have the dressy professionalism os a lace-up fused with the more casual, slip-on flair. Other options include boat shoes, tasseled loafers, monk straps, brogues, boots and Oxfords. More, really casual slips-ons can work or Converse/Vans and Adidas sneaker or trainers (especially pristine white ones) for less formal occasions but it’s a hard NO to gym trainers. Sorry
Don’t go throwing on your board shorts and crumpled shirt with the hope that some cufflinks will smarten it up. Remember: it’s always more embarrassing to be under-dressed than over. The rule of the thumb for smart casual is, if on doubt, always go smarter than you think might be strictly necessary.
Now, all you have to do is get dressed.