After the last few years, a smart-casual wardrobe has become the default for many. Those who once wore a suit and tie on a daily basis, have shifted towards a blend of smart and casual. For many this is a welcome change that allows us to get more out of our existing wardrobe, and leads to more opportunities to mix-and-match.
We have seen this in our stores and online, as our most popular items tend to be casual pieces that allow for more flexibility. The smart-casual wardrobe has become the new standard for office ensembles, but we think there are a few essential pieces that everyone should own.
Although the working world has shifted to a more casual attire, that doesn't mean that you shouldn’t look your best, especially for example, for client meetings. This is where a classic blazer comes into play, as it is perfectly suited for formal occasions whether that’s meeting a client or a work event, a classic blazer will make you look and feel your best.
You could go any route with a blazer, whether that is opt for the classic plain navy for maximum versatility or go with something in a bolder colour or pattern if you want to be a little more daring. A blazer could be paired with any number of different trousers whether that is formal grey slacks, chinos or dark denim.
A lovely piece of knitwear has become the standard kit for many gents in the office. A classic piece of knitwear always looks great with formal trousers, chinos or dark wash jeans. There are so many different styles of knitwear, so we would recommend going for a style that best suits you and your working environment.
A V-neck or a half zip sweater are best suited when you are wearing a shirt. Both give you the option of wearing a tie if required, or not if you choose a more casual look. Available in a variety of colours and materials, we recommend opting for a merino wool - great all year round for its thermoregulating properties, lightweight and durability - or an extra soft cotton - perfect for warmer days due to its breathability and soft handle. A Swacket is a good alternative as it sits in-between a blazer and knitwear and has become a favourite piece amongst our staff and customers.
A Good Shirt
Every man needs a few good shirts in their wardrobe which can pair nicely with both formal and casual outfits. Having a good rotation of shirts will allow you to switch up your look with little effort. Although a classic white and blue are wardrobe staples, we recommend bringing some more colour and pattern into play. A lilac or pink will pair nicely with a variety of outfits and a classic striped or checked pattern will add great complexity to a simpler ensemble.
If you wish to keep to the classic whites and blues, getting a shirt with interesting details such as contrasting buttons and patterned inlay on the collar and cuffs will add a bit of detail to a highly versatile shirt. When buttoned up with a tie, the details are hidden, leaving you with a classic business shirt but when worn open-neck, the inlay details are visible. These types of shirts have been incredibly popular with our customers due to their versatility and are a step above a plain shirt.
Properly Fitting Dark Denim
Everyone needs to have a quality pair of dark denims in the wardrobe. An absolute classic piece of clothing, it goes with everything in your wardrobe and it can give a nice casual edge to more formal pieces. They need to fit your body properly as it is the most important thing to get right - no one wants to have baggy or skin-tight jeans. A nice slim leg works with the majority of body types and will keep you looking your best.
Wearing dark denim with a nice piece of knitwear and quality shoes is a great look when working at home or at the office. Beyond the office, it’s a great look for post-work drinks with colleagues or even a walk in the local park. Besides knitwear, dark denim also looks fantastic with a blazer as it gives a casual edge to a formal garment. Add a nice boot or loafer and pair them with a nice shirt or classic tee and you will have a great smart casual outfit.
A classic pair of cotton chinos are a smart casual staple that always looks well. They’re great as they pair incredibly well with both formal and casual pieces. We recommend getting a few pairs in different colours for maximum versatility. Beige, navy and grey are all strong choices as all three pair incredibly well with a variety of other colours. However, other colours such as brown and olive are great as these more natural colours can pair well with a variety of different complexions too.
A classic office look consisting of a blazer, a good shirt, chinos and formal lace-ups or loafers is perfect for when you are meeting a client or for a work event. When you don’t have many meetings, pair the chinos with a shirt, nice piece of knitwear and open-walker shoes or trainers for a smart everyday ensemble. For hotter days of year or on a sunny weekend, chinos paired with a piqué polo and loafers are great for a sportier look.
Quality Pair of Shoes
Every man must have a quality pair of shoes in their wardrobe. Whether they’re a formal lace-up, loafer, open-walker or trainer, a good pair of shoes is worth the investment.
A well-made pair of leather lace-ups or loafers are great as they are highly versatile with a variety of different outfits, and they are made to last as the soles can be replaced if they wear out. You do have to look after them however and polishing them regularly, using shoe trees and moisturising the leather will ensure the shoes last for years to come.
An open–walker has become a favourite amongst staff and customers in recent years as they are a very stylish shoe but also supremely comfortable - as comfortable as a slipper. They toe the line nicely in between a loafer and chukka boot and they work with a wide variety of different outfits from the most formal to the most casual.
A classic trainer is also something that everyone should own. A classic white or navy or brown suede are all great choices as they can pair very nicely with the likes of chinos and dark denim. They can also give a more casual look when paired with a blazer and formal trousers as well.
These are a few of the pieces that we believe are essential items for a smart casual wardrobe. All are included in order to maximise your options as they are highly versatile and pair well with each other. All the items discussed can be found on our website and in-store where our team will keep you looking your best.
For more inspiring ideas visit our Blog or browse the latest arrivals at louiscopeland.com