How to Pull Off Smart Casual

This article is Part 4 of a nine-part Series where Man of Many is teaming up with Australia’s biggest Instagrammers for fashion advice.

Dressing well can be a delicate juggling act and the line between overdressed and underdressed is often a fine one. Misjudging the dress code is a perilously easy mistake to make and may leave you standing out from the crowd for all the wrong reasons.

When it comes to the dreaded, yet ubiquitous, smart casual look, striking the perfect balance of understated and sophisticated style can seem an elusive goal.

But there are some pretty simple things we can do to up our game, which is why we’ve enlisted the help of some of Australia’s biggest men’s style Instagrammers to answer: What are some tips or advice they have for pulling off smart casual well?

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men sit chair wear suit shoe

“My biggest tip for smart casual – when it comes to mixing and matching is to contrast the colours. If are you are wearing dark coloured pants, compliment it with a light coloured sports jacket and vice versa – it really stands out, don’t be afraid to experiment. I opt light coloured chinos, navy sports jacket, patterned shirt and loafers.”

Brian Liu – Founder and Creative Director of The Filtered Fit – @thefilteredfit

chinos sports blazer neck shirt with plain tie

“For a smart casual look, I like to go with chinos and a sports blazer with either a patterned open neck shirt or white shirt with a plain tie. Shoe wise its a pair of one coloured sneaker and no socks or some suede shoes with funky socks.”

Steve Tilbrook – Founder – @stevetillystyle

men wear light colour dress

“Focus on fit, make sure that the garments compliment your body and aren’t baggy or too lose.”

Sam Wines – Model and Blogger at Man of Style – @samwines_

tassel loafers smart casual wear

“Wear what feels good on you. A blazer with contrasting chinos and some tassel loafers is always a good start for smart casual wear. Wearing a shirt with the blazer gives a more dressed up look otherwise a t-shirt will keep it more casual.”

Paul Juchima – No Paparazzi Man – @nopaparazziman

wearing shirt with jeans blazer

“Perhaps invest in quality garments and footwear which are casual. A beautiful tee and sneakers look a lot “smarter” as you say than a scruffy version on of the same.”

Christian Kimber – The Best Menswear Designer in the World –

solid colours chinos and shirts

“My casual looks are very simple. Solid colours when it comes to chinos and shirts. The way the fit is key. If you want to take it that extra shnazzy approach, throw over a sports jacket with a design, such as a window pane pattern.”

Shaun Birley – Fashion Importer | Exporter and Influencer – @shaunbirley

men wear white shirt with blazer

“Smart Casual – make it look effortless. Keep it simple with minimal variations of patterns or textures. Have one statement item in the ensemble, whether it is a bold windowpane jacket or a pair of high fashion sneakers. Throw on your best sports jacket on top of a plain tee or understated dress shirt, roll up the cuffs on your chinos and pair with white sneakers or loafers and you are all set.”

Lex Mak –Creative Director of Mr Gumbatron – @mrgumbatron

men sit white shirt loafers with bag

A nice fitting blazer, shirt and chino is a must! Definitely one of my favourite combos for any occasion! You don’t necessarily need a tie for smart casual, however, be sure to fill your pocket with a colourful pocket square that’ll make your outfit pop out!”

Stephen K – Founder – @theyounggent

men walk wear suit with colour pocket square

“Too often smart casual looks end up looking the same from one gentleman to the next. Showcase your personal style by injecting statement pieces into your look. My personal picks are standout sunglasses, paisley pocket squares and unique printed shirts.”

Larry Lim – The Simple Gentleman – @thesimplegentleman

slim blazer loafers light coloured shirt

“I just love smart casual and it’s not hard to look smart and sharp. Heading into a summer in Australia, this is a big talking point for all Gents. Choose well fitted and tapered chino pants such as a slim fit for your look, head for classy colours such as beige, stone, cream, navy, grey, black, maroon. Pair it with a slim blazer, loafers and a light coloured shirt to nail it.”

Josh Azzi – The Distinguished Gentleman – @thedistinguishedgentleman_ 

Read Part 3 of the series on how to grow your Instagram following here and to keep up with more style trends make sure to follow @manofmanytastes on Instagram.

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