Dress Code for Smart Casual

Cheryl Cirelli
Man in jeans and a sweater

Smart Casual Looks for Men

A smart casual dress code is more relaxed and open for personal expression than business attire. This dress code is found in workplaces where employees need to look professional but are not required to wear suits. Smart casual looks are also worn to events, on dates and whenever you feel the need to impress but not be too dressy. From dress pants to jeans, there are many possibilities for you to explore in this type of apparel.

Suit no tie

No Tie Required

While a suit isn't mandatory, you can still wear a suit as part of your smart casual attire. When going for this type of look, skip the tie and wear a less formal type of suit. During the warmer months, a linen suit or one done in a lighter shade -- such as grey -- is perfect for a relaxed yet still polished style.

Pair the suit with a dress shirt in a complementary color.

Sweater vest

The Versatile Vest

Many men opt to wear a sweater vest as part of a smart casual look. This light gray vest pairs well with a blue button-down dress shirt. Wear a pair of navy or black dress pants and you will look pulled together and professional.

A vest can also be worn for an afternoon outing in addition to the office.

V-neck sweater

Stylish Sweater

A stylish sweater is a must for any man's wardrobe. You can wear it at work as well as on a date. Choose a V-neck style sweater in a vibrant color, like blue, and wear it over a white button-down shirt with a pair of khaki pants for a collected but unfussy look that can be worn just about anywhere.

Crisp white shirt

Crisp White Shirt

You can never go wrong with a crisp white dress shirt. Wear it with anything from jeans to dress pants. For a look that is sophisticated but informal, wear your white shirt with a dark pair of dress pants and a leather belt. For this look, think about leaving the first few buttons of your shirt open and skip the tie.

Tan sports coat

Business Ready

If you are looking for a smart casual outfit to wear to work, a sports coat worn over a dress shirt is ideal. Wear this look to meetings and look professional no matter what the situation is. Be sure to wear your coat with a tailored pair of dress pants, a matching leather belt and loafers to complete the look.

If you are going out after work, take off your sports coat and you have a look that is perfect for an evening dinner date.

Black shirt and jeans

Relaxed yet Stylish

For those looking for a composed and casual look that is appropriate for a Friday, consider dark wash jeans and a short sleeve button-down shirt. Keep the colors dark so you still look appropriate for work but you'll also still be ready for a Friday night out with some friends.

Trendy outfit

Keep with the Trends

Since smart casual dress codes are open to interpretation, you can still wear clothes that are trendy and fun. Try look with a structured leather jacket and pair it with a colorful plaid shirt and brushed denim trousers. Just keep in mind that structured and well-fitting clothing convey this style best.

Explore clothing that reflects your personal style and can be worn to more places other than just the office.

Cardigan and tee

Laid Back Jeans

Jeans are appropriate at many companies these days -- although this will depend on the type of job you have and the rules of your particular workplace.

If your place of employment is more relaxed and your co-workers are wearing jeans and t-shirts to work, take it a step further and add a cardigan sweater to polish up your look. But don't wear light wash jeans to the workplace; instead, stick to darker washes for a more professional appearance.

Smart casual look

Smart and Professional

Many companies have their own dress code and will let you know what you can or can't wear. Whether yours has one or not, what items you include in your smart casual outfits is up to you. If you stick to basic elements such as dress pants, button-down shirts, sweaters and vests, you have the elements you need to create pulled-together looks that are both smart and professional.

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Dress Code for Smart Casual