Have you ever started a new job and the employee handbook said the dress code was smart casual? Maybe you got invited to a party with the same requirement. You sat there wondering, “What does that even mean?” While it might be confusing at first, it can be an effortless style to get into. So grab your favorite quarter zip and follow these tips to master the smart casual dress code.

What Is Smart Casual?

First, you have to understand what smart casual is.

Essentially, it’s a style that’s one step up from casual. It’s perfect for upscale events that are still relatively laid back. Graduations, relaxed wedding receptions, work lunches, and company parties are some of the most common smart casual settings.

As far as the clothes go, it’s all about mixing more dressed-up pieces, such as blazers, pullovers, or slacks, with everyday garments like jeans, T-shirts, or jackets. It can be as easy as substituting one casual piece for a dressed-up alternative, and you have your smart casual fit.

Smart Casual Essentials

Let’s take a look at options you can use as the core pieces of your smart casual outfits.


If you want to use a top to turn your look into a smart casual fit, it’s all about the layers. You can wear a T-shirt or button up on the bottom, but it’s what goes on the outside that really counts. There are plenty of options. A cashmere pullover could do the trick, while a sport coat is the perfect option if you’re going to a dinner with the boss or a family member’s graduation ceremony. Combining a blazer with jeans on the bottom is a staple of any smart casual style.


But what about the bottom? Are jeans always the casual choice in smart casual outfits? Not necessarily.

If you want, stick to something casual and simple up top—a neutral-colored polo, T-shirt, or button up—and then bring in the smart piece on bottom. It could be some khaki pants with a brown belt. A dark brown pant and shoe combination is always a good choice. If you really want to pull out all the stops, choose a pair of white corduroy pants and pick a casual sweater to pair with them.

How to Build the Perfect Smart Casual Outfit

You’ve picked out the pieces—now it’s time to lay down some basics when planning your outfit.

First, start casual and then dress up—not the other way around. Build your outfit based around casual pieces, and slowly replace them with (or add) dressier options until you have found a good balance.

Second, keep an eye on the colors. You don’t want to coordinate colors too much, and you don’t want too much going on either. If your pants and jacket match, your shirt should contrast just a bit. On the other hand, if you have four different colors, it might be time to replace a piece with a neutral alternative that can pull it all together.

Finally, make sure you are adapting your outfits for the occasion. If it’s a more upscale setting, like a nice restaurant, you can mix and match your suit pieces with casual shirts or pants, but if it’s a toned-down situation, like a family party, you can stick to pullovers and jeans.

About johnnie-O

What do you get when you mix California beachwear style with the blue blazers and khaki pants of the Midwest? You get johnnie-O, a company focused on bringing their signature WEST COAST PREP® to every corner of the country. Their high-quality garments are built to help you look and feel your best no matter where you are. It could be the beaches of Santa Monica, the golf courses of Arizona, or a board room in New York. Wherever you are, you can count on johnnie-O’s apparel to complete your look. You can grab a golf pullover or two from The Golf Shop, pair them with PREP-FORMANCE pants, add in a vest or jacket, and your wardrobe will never look the same. With johnnie-O by your side, you can combine style, comfort, and flair like never before. 

Check out johnnie-O’s smart casual essentials at https://www.johnnie-o.com/

Original Source: https://bit.ly/3Yrybm4