The Grooming Manual
Take a look around most modern start-up offices. You won't see many suits and ties. The old formalities of the business world are slowly dying. Maybe not in every industry, but in many. If you want to look the part and fit in with today’s business leaders, you’ve got to nail a smart casual style.
That’s not to say there’s no place for a suit and tie in your professional wardrobe. There will always be occasions - business and personal - when you will need a well-tailored suit. But for most days, you need a smart casual style that makes you look modern, professional, and smart.
Want advantages in your personal and professional life? Apply these style tips.
Fit Above All Else
To look good, you’ve got to get the fit right. Whether it’s a Oxford shirt or a pair of chinos, the fit has got to be right.
For starters, don’t go too tight. You wanted a fitted, tailored look. Nothing should stick to you or make it difficult for you to move. At the same time, a baggy look is no good.
Shirts Long sleeves should hit at just about your wrist, never dragging onto your hand. Cuffs should be loose enough to wear a watch comfortably without being so loose your sleeves slide up your arm. Dress shirts should always be tucked in. Sport shirts are up to you, but usually look best untucked.
Pants For chinos or jeans, keep a tailored look that isn’t too baggy. You need enough room in the thighs to move comfortably - including when you sit down and get up. There can be a slight break at your shoes, but make sure you don’t have lots of extra fabric bunching up down there.
Mix & Match Neutrals
In general, your smart casual wardrobe should consist of easy to mix and match pieces in neutral colors. This doesn’t mean you need all the same colored shirts. Neutral is not the same as dull.
Think of white Oxford shirts, blue chambray shirts, and navy polos. These are simple, casual, and neutral.
The same goes for your pants - khaki chinos, navy chinos, and dark jeans are the basis for your smart casual look.
Stand Out Pieces
This is where you add a personal touch to your style. You don’t want your entire wardrobe to be neutral colors. Add a few stand out pieces - a red shirt, a printed short sleeve shirt, a pair of mint green chinos - whatever works for you.
Experiment a bit here to create a look that’s still smart casual but personalized to your taste.
Guys have lots of good options for smart casual footwear. On the casual end of the spectrum, white sneakers will always look great. But you can dress things up a bit with Chukka boots, Chelsea boots, Oxfords, and loafers. Contrast the color of your footwear with your pants for a solid look.
Feel Comfortable, Look Great
A smart casual look is all about simultaneously looking and feeling your best. Instead of being buttoned up and cinched with a tie, your look is a bit more relaxed. But that doesn’t mean it’s unprofessional or thrown together. There’s more casual than formal here - but you’ve still got a classy elegance that holds your look together.
What if you’re stuck in a suit and tie everyday at work? Or what if you’ve got an extreme casual look now and don’t know how to transition into a smarter casual style? Apply these tips slowly, adding new pieces to your wardrobe little by little. With some experimentation and patience, you can create a well-fitted, stylish look that is all your own.