Business Casual vs. Smart Casual

The Little Things that Make the Difference

In today’s fashion, clothing styles often blend together. While differences between business wear and casual wear are familiar to most people, it is hybrids such as business casual vs smart casual that often leave people confused.

What is business casual? What is smart casual? Where does one end and the other one begin? Let’s discuss the differences when it comes to business casual vs smart casual.

Business Casual can be best described as less formal business wear, with smart casual being a less formal extension of business casual. The section below breaks down the various elements and describes what makes the casual look business or smart:

    Business Casual

    Smart Casual

    Top

    • Plain Darker Colour Jacket
    •  White/blue plain shirt
    • No T-shirts
    • Bright/Light Colour Jacket
    • Smart Pull over
    • Shirts can be more colourful
    • Plain Coloured T-Shirts (not printed)

    Pants

    • Dark jeans
    • Smart chinos (muted colours)
    • Jeans (dark or light colour)
    • Smart chinos (can be lighter)
    • No shorts
    • No ripped jeans

    Shoes

    • Dark leather shoes (brown,black)
    • Leather shoes
    • Smart suede shoes
    • No trainers

    Accesories

    • Keep them to minimum
    • Leather belt (black, dark brown)
    • Square (light or pale blue)
    • Smart watch
    • Smart sunglasses
    • Can wear more than one
    • Any belt (can be contrasting)
    • Colourful pocket squares
    • Discreet wristbands
    • Sunglasses

    Occasion

    • Casual Fridays at work
    • Date nights
    • Meetings outside office
    • Parties
    • Date nights
    • Weddings, official events

    Colour Palette

    • Muted colours
    • Darker shades
    • No patterns
    • Can be brighter colours
    • Can wear checked shirts/jacket
    • No more than 3 colours

    Business Casual

    Top

    • Plain Darker Colour Jacket
    •  White/blue plain shirt
    • No T-shirts

    Pants

    • Dark jeans
    • Smart chinos (muted colours)

    Shoes

    • Dark leather shoes (brown,black)

    Accessories

    • Keep them to minimum
    • Leather belt (black, dark brown)
    • Square (light or pale blue)
    • Smart watch
    • Smart sunglasses

    Occasion

    • Casual Fridays at work
    • Date nights
    • Meetings outside office

    Colour Palette

    • Muted colours
    • Darker shades
    • No patterns

    Smart Casual

    • Bright/Light Colour Jacket
    • Smart Pull over
    • Shirts can be more colourful
    • Plain Coloured T-Shirts (not printed)

    Top

    Pants

    • Jeans (dark or light colour)
    • Smart chinos (can be lighter)
    • No shorts
    • No ripped jeans

    Shoes

    • Leather shoes
    • Smart suede shoes
    • No trainers

    Accesories

    • Can wear more than one
    • Any belt (can be contrasting)
    • Colourful pocket squares
    • Discreet wristbands
    • Sunglasses

    Occasion

    • Parties
    • Date nights
    • Weddings, official events

    Colour Palette

    • Can be brighter colours
    • Can wear checked shirts/jacket
    • No more than 3 colours

    Business Casual

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    Business casual can be best described as relaxed formalwear. A man going for a business casual look will aim to combine a jacket with dark jeans or smart chinos. One should wear a shirt underneath the jacket, as we’re aiming to still appear sharp and elegant.

    Colours

    As for the colours, the jacket should be subtle, with colours such as navy, grey, dark brown, sage. The pants should compliment the jacket, muted contrasting colours would work best (ie Dark green jacket/grey trousers; Brown jacket/dark blue trousers. A general rule of thumb for business casual is to avoid loud and bright colours such as yellow or red.

    Accessories

    Don’t wear a tie with business casual – the aim of this style is to appear more casual, and a tie should be saved for a business suit. You can wear a belt, choose the one that matches the shade of your trousers. As for shoes – wear leather.
    Last but not least, don’t accessorize heavily. Wristbands, sunglasses, and pocket squares should be used strategically, and not all at the same time.

    Occasion

    Wear business casual for your casual Fridays in the office or for a semi-formal meeting outside of the office. Ladies love a business casual look for a date!

    Smart Casual

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    Smart casual is a less formal extension to business casual. While business casual is used for the office, smart casual is for everything outside of it.

    You can wear a plain, toned-down t-shirt for smart casual, any shirt that has a print of some sort is more of a casual look, not smart casual.
    If you opt for a shirt, you can go with more colours, or checked. Compliment it with a blazer or a pull over.

    As for trousers, you can wear more colour than in business casual. Jeans, smart chinos. Ripped jeans and shorts are a casual look, not smart casual.

    Colours

    You can wear lighter and brighter colours in smart casual than business casual – just don’t over do it. Aim to keep only 3 colours max in your overall look. Don’t wear more than 1 bright colour within the 3, if you don’t want to look like a peacock.

    Accessories

    A pair of sunglasses, wristband, colourful pocket square will add an informal feel to it. Also, you can wear a belt that contrasts the pants, but remember the three-color advice mentioned above. When it comes to shoes, you can wear leather or suede shoes, no trainers please.

    Occasion

    A smart casual outfit can be used for any kind of event that is outside of the office but still requires class and elegance. Weddings, cocktail parties etc, but also date nights are a perfect occasion to sport a smart blazer.

    Bespoke Tailoring just right for you

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