As workers across London begin to return to the office at least in a hybrid form, many of us will find that the old trusted black, blue or grey suit may no longer suffice.
Workplaces throughout even the most formal sectors are opting for a ‘dress for your day’ code and are increasingly moving toward the notion of smart and business casual.
This news may spark rejoice for those with an interest in style as they gain comfort, flexibility, freedom and creativity to express themselves in their clothing.
However, in our 20-year experience, the majority of men find navigating work dress codes a confusing, even overwhelming, time-consuming challenge. Often, they do not own the core items that form the mainstay of the smart casual dress code where the right balance can be struck between formal, comfortable, professional and casual.
In this article, as Part two of our Back to Work Series, with the help of McCann Bespoke Styling expert, Alex Katseph we will guide you through the ambiguity of the smart casual dress code and show you how to stand out for the right reasons in every office space, meeting room and client evening event.
The important point about jackets is that your suit jacket with a pair of jeans or chinos may well not suffice. As Alex states “simply blending smart and casual into one outfit does not necessarily make the outfit smart casual. It can, and will appear mismatched.”
“For smart casual occasions, all men should have stand-alone jackets with a range of materials. For winter you’ll likely need a wool or flannel material jacket. The extra weight will give additional warmth for colder months. Similarly, for summer, bamboo, linen or cotton, to give you some added breathability to allow you to stay cool”.
Beyond material, we are faced with a plethora of options of patterns and colours. Alex continues, “pattern and colour is a matter of preference and perhaps what suits your complexion. If you wish to err on the side of caution and stay closer to the smart end of smart casual, then you should opt for plain colour and patterns. If you are looking for expression, then pattern and a variety of colour will work.”
Beyond the fabric of jackets, Alex points out that there are a variety of styling options available. “You have the choice of lining fabric and colour, similarly you can have half lined or even no lining at all, like our ‘Twenty-Four-Seven’ Jacket. This also comes with no pads, and with a stretch in the material to ensure complete comfort”.
Fortunately, many of the shirts you are used to wearing with your suits, you can still wear in a smart casual environment. “Most white or formal blue shirt is fine in smart casual. The only exception is really formal materials like herringbone or stripes. Similarly, it is advisable that your shirt is single and not double cuffed.”
“For more a more casual look, a long or short sleeved polo shirt or chambray denim shirt. Our recent range of long sleeve polo shirts are very popular for this purpose, they look great with chinos, jeans and with or without a jacket”.
“With smart casual outfits you have some choice in trousers. You can opt for good quality cotton chinos. For a smart casual working dress code, either a dark colour or beige. Similarly, with jeans, it’s best to wear a smart, dark pair of jeans – they should be plain, with no stonewash, no rips, and not too baggy or too tight.”
“My main rule of thumb with trousers is to keep it simple. This will give you flexibility to mix with a variety of different combinations for your top half. If you wear trousers that aren’t simple, it will very much limit the items that you can wear with them”.
“With shoes you have a few options available to you. For example, the loafer, which can be leather or suede. With smart casual attire, this can extend to tassels too. Alternatively, you can wear trainers, or plain ‘sneakers’. It’s important that your trainers are smart and simple – either white, black, navy or grey. Ideally, trainers should have no, or very little branding. Finally, (and hopefully obviously), sports trainers are never acceptable to wear in the office, they should be reserved for the court, pitch or pavement!”
To book a consultation with our tailoring and styling team for all of your smart casual needs, you can click here, or call 020 3904 6506. Alternatively, to view more products in our online store, click here.