Let’s face it – a suit and tie is easy. If well chosen, it will make you look good and that’s never a bad thing. But how do your forays into casual attire fare? With so many possibilities, it’s easy to go astray. Ready yourself for the more laid-back vibe of the season by learning how to pull a smart-casual look together with aplomb.
Sharp recently spoke with Alon Freeman, Market Editor
Menswear at Holt Renfrew. Alon enlightened us as to the stumbling blocks often encountered whilst going casual and offered a no-brainer blueprint for the perfect smart-casual combination:
PROBLEM// Pairing a tailored jacket with sloppy jeans
Alon explained: “In the last seven years there has been a sort of revolution during which it has become popular to wear denim with a tailored jacket, but you can’t wear just any denim with this look. Lots of guys wear ripped jeans and it just looks sloppy.”
SOLUTION: Alon recommends keeping the look clean with dark blue, gray or white jeans that fit your body type.
PROBLEM// Incorporating an overly dressy piece into your casual look
Many men fall prey to what Alon described as the “hackneyed club-guy look,” occurring when a guy wears a shirt with a giant collar and large, cufflink-less French cuffs poking out from under a sweater or jacket.
SOLUTION: Stick to casual pieces. “If you are going for a more casual look, wear something that is meant to be casual. Instead of a shirt, wear a polo with an unconstructed sport jacket. The look is understated, casual and easy.”
PROBLEM// Overlooking the finer details
“If you’re going to an outdoor summer party wearing a nice pair of chinos and a sport jacket, change your accessories accordingly,” advises Alon.
SOLUTION: “Avoid pulling out the same heavy dress shoes you wear to colder weather occasions and opt instead for a loafer with bare feet. Similarly, when a casual look is what you’re after, choose a watch that combines sportier details like a canvas band with a more sophisticated and stylish face.”
If you’ve committed any of these indiscretions, it’s OK. You can redeem yourself at the myriad late spring functions already piling up in your BlackBerry by following this fool-proof formula for going smart casual: a suit that is fitted properly and light enough for the occasion. For an elegant but relaxed look, choose a light weight cotton suit in tan or gray. Pair the suit with a bright V-neck sweater and go for a shirt that picks up the pop of colour in the sweater. Forego a tie. To avoid looking too suited up, wear suede loafers with no socks.
Once you’ve got the casual suit thing working in your favour, mix it up by substituting the pants for white jeans or chinos. Alternately, replace the suit jacket with a utility jacket. The shake-up will give you a little bit of extra personality and you won’t look like everyone else standing at the bar.