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Decoding the Dress Code: Mastering the Art of the Informal Look

June 17, 2023
2 mins read
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Key takeaways:

  • The term ‘informal look’ often refers to the smart casual dress code, balancing elements of both formal and casual wear.
  • A smart casual outfit respects the occasion while offering a sense of comfort and ease.
  • Smart casual wear is versatile, transitioning from the office to social gatherings effortlessly.
  • While jeans and polo shirts are acceptable, their incorporation into a smart casual outfit should be considered carefully.

Understanding the Informal Look: Defining Smart Casual

The term “informal look” might sound contradictory to many. However, when used in the right context, it denotes a dress code often referred to as ‘smart casual’. This dress code serves as the perfect blend of formal and casual elements, allowing for comfortable yet refined dressing for various occasions.

The Art of Mixing Smart and Casual

So, what makes an outfit fall under the smart casual, or informal look, category? The answer lies in understanding what constitutes smart and casual dressing.

Smart attire typically includes tailored items such as jackets, trousers, shirts with stiff collars, ties, pocket squares, and cufflinks. Leather shoes like brogues, derbys, and loafers also form part of the smart category.

On the other hand, casual dressing comprises clothes originally designed for sports or manual labor. This includes jeans, chinos, hoodies, sweatshirts, T-shirts, jumpers, roll necks, tracksuits, trainers, and most types of boots.

The essence of smart casual, or the informal look, is in skillfully blending elements from these two categories to create a cohesive outfit.

Smart Casual in the Workplace: A Balance of Formality and Comfort

While traditional workplace environments like banking, law, and finance may require strict formal dressing, many modern professions have embraced the informal look as their preferred dress code. Start-ups, fintech firms, and fashion e-retailers often encourage employees to don a smart casual outfit, offering a perfect blend of professionalism and comfort.

However, creating a smart casual outfit for the workplace requires careful selection of clothing items. Combining the top half of a suit with jeans or wearing formal brogues with tracksuit bottoms are clear missteps.

Instead, one should aim for a harmonious mix of smart and casual. For instance, chambray or denim shirts with cutaway collars can serve as a smart casual option. Another example is wearing a knitted polo shirt with a collar underneath a tailored jacket.

Denim and Polo Shirts: Yes or No?

Denim is a quintessential component of casual wear. But can it be part of the informal look? The answer is yes, provided it’s dark wash denim, with a fit that strikes the right balance between loose and slim.

Polo shirts can also be part of a smart casual outfit, although this requires a bit of caution. A classic Airtex polo shirt should be paired with smarter elements to avoid appearing too sporty. On the other hand, a knitted polo can look as elegant as a shirt or roll neck and can be combined with more playful pieces.

The Informal Look at Weddings: Comfort Meets Elegance

Smart casual, or the informal look, is not restricted to the office or everyday wear; it can even extend to weddings. In such scenarios, a deconstructed blazer can be the perfect friend for every man. Paired with almost anything, it can instantly elevate a casual outfit to fit a more formal occasion.

Conclusion: Perfecting the Informal Look

Mastering the art of the informal look involves a delicate balance between smart and casual dressing. It requires a deep understanding of the subtle nuances of different types of clothing and the ability to blend them into a cohesive, stylish outfit. With the right knowledge and a dash of creativity, you can turn the informal look into your personal style statement.

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About Levi Keswick

LeviKeswick serves as a vibrant hub for diverse individuals to share their stories, absorb and contribute to emerging fashion trends, lifestyle concepts, and innovative ideas. We offer valuable insights and advice, amalgamating information painstakingly curated by experts in the field, alongside fashion connoisseurs and influential social media personalities.

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