Perhaps a poor choice of title, since it may not be possible for all concerned to agree upon the definition of “smart casual.”
I may have put the cart before the horse in my last post when I “started from the ground up” to construct the smart casual wardrobe.
I say this because the comments when I announced my intention to follow this course of enquiry were conflicted, passionate, polarised, insightful and hopeful. In short, everything that one could hope to see in the comments section when one begins a blog: a true discussion developing! I couldn’t be more pleased. Thank you one and all for commenting and to those of you thinking about the topic and waiting to see where I might go with it! There are no right or wrong answers here. And for those of you concerned, don’t worry; I won’t stop fighting the good fight to advance the idea that we dress better than we have to.
OK, enough’s too much. What exactly is “smart casual?” Let me guess, you know it when you see it, right?
(Iranian Author Hooman Majd carrying off the very difficult sweater tuck.)
Ok, so we have an idea in our collective imagination what ‘smart casual’ might look like. Actually, I bet we have more of an idea what it doesn’t look like. Can it involve sneakers? Jeans? T-shirts? “Distressed” anything?
Before we get to that, let’s talk colour and fit.
Don’t abandon your colour profile. The object is still to have everyone’s gaze directed inevitably upward to your handsome mug. So, if you are high contrast, wear high contrast, etc. . Not sure? Try downloading the BeSpeak App from Maestro Flusser. It’s fun to play around with and will help spark ideas. You shouldn’t be afraid of adding colour to your shirts and trousers, socks and scarves. And don’t forget that pattern will add visual interest to whatever you’re wearing. That’s especially important if you’re dressing monochromatically.
In terms of fit, we’re at the mercy of two schools. The more prominent of the two is the Thom Browne/Italian aesthetic which consists of trim cut, shorter length jackets, and tighter “hi-water” trousers. If you can get away with the look, it can be a bit flattering. I stick to the corduroys, chino and twill trousers in that style. The B² Milano and Clark cuts are good starting pieces.
If you prefer more traditionally cut trousers, remember that a fuller trouser pairs very nicely with a trimmer shirt and sweater combination sort of as seen below (from some collection… Bottega? D&G?)
The trimmer, flat-front trousers are worn with or without cuffs (if cuffed, they are deeply cuffed– think 2″) and both finishes are worn without a break. The trouser must hover right above the shoe, unless you like the ankle-baring Browne look.
In general, a slimmer cut is more desirable for casual wear, and that applies equally to an odd jacket or outerwear. A little shorter, a little narrower, but I think it best to avoid the ‘bum-freezer’ jackets and coats and severe pulling about the buttons on anything is simply a sign that the garment is too tight (and by extension: you are too … errr … large for it.)