You’ve finally received the invitation or FB event (sorry millennials) you’ve been waiting for and after a quick scan you notice the words ‘smart casual’ in small font...Yikes. You know this style of dress lies somewhere roughly in between formal suit and couch potato. To save you from weeks of torment, we’ve put together a guide for understanding this ambiguous dress code.

What Is Smart Casual?

The smart casual dress code has rattled our brains for decades, sending us raiding the wardrobe before an event asking, “is this too casual?” 

The Oxford Dictionary defines smart casual as “neat, conventional, yet relatively informal in style.” Confused? Pretty much this no-man's-land is about finding the perfect balance between formal and casual and adapting to the event, season and location. If you’ve received a wedding invitation for example, you’ll want to ditch the denim and go with nice chinos and a blazer. On the other hand, if you’re going to a smart casual beach party, wearing a dressy pair of shorts with a tucked in shirt will be perfectly acceptable.

At AM Supply, we’ve put together some of the essential pieces you’ll need in your smart casual wardrobe this season.

Smart Casual Shirts

The button-down shirt is a no brainer when it comes to the smart casual dress code. A single colour in a neutral hue is a safe option. If you opt for a patterned shirt, balance it with more classic pieces elsewhere.

Top Tip: If it’s designed with a long shirt tail, it’s made to be tucked!

Smart Casual T-Shirts

Depending on the event, a T shirt can be a perfectly acceptable part of a smart casual outfit. You’ll want to stick to the basics here﹘go for a crisp, fitted tee with a crew neck or collared polo.

Top Tip: Dress a plain tee up with a blazer and a pair of chinos!

Smart Pants

Forget suit pants or formal trousers, for a smart casual look you’ll want to invest in some chinos or a pair of slim dark denim jeans. Keep your pants and chino fitted and in a neutral colour. 

Pant Tip: If you’re thinking about reaching for those biscuit-coloured chinos, do it!

Smart Shorts

Shorts can be a tricky one and require the right kind of occasion. Did someone say smart casual beach party? Go for something tailored, to show you’re putting in a bit of effort, in cotton or cotton-linen. 

Short Tip: Keep it simple with navy, grey or cream shorts.

Complete your smart casual outfit with a simple leather belt, if it calls for it! A watch is also a great way to dress up your smart casual look. Lastly, you’ll want to put your best foot forward in the right pair of shoes. The nature of the event will dictate the style of footwear you can get away with. If it’s a birthday party, throw on a pair of crisp white sneakers or Chelsea boots. Does that invite say wedding? You’ll need to wear a pair of smart casual dress shoes. 

Shop AM Supply now for all the latest smart casual looks and be wardrobe ready this season!