Mastering the art of smart business casual for men: tips and tricks

While increasingly common, ‘business casual’ is a slippery definition that often invites more questions than it answers. Are jeans appropriate? What about sneakers? Do I need to wear a collared shirt?

Here, we answer all of these questions and more with a distinctly Oscar Hunt point of view.

The Foundation

The casual suit 

Though many might think a tailored suit is out of place in a business casual setting, it’s quite the opposite. With relaxed tailoring coming increasingly in style, there’s no chicer (or safer) way to nail the brief.

Our recommendation is to opt for a relaxed fabric - think cotton or linen - in a darker colour like ochre, sage or navy. Paired with a plain white Oxford shirt and white sneakers, this looks sharp without being fussy and is an ensemble that you can reinvent time and time again.

In short, it can be changed up just as easily with a pair of loafers as it can with a different coloured (or patterned) shirt or tee.

Of course, as with any tailored suit, the devil is in the detail. Ensuring that the garment is fitted to perfection is paramount as this will not only make the ensemble look better but also make you feel better wearing it.

The weekend edit: chinos and sports coats

While still fully in keeping with the smart business casual dress code, another approach (which, as per its namesake, is just at home on the weekend) is the chino, blazer combination. Relaxed while still being elegant, this is the perfect style for those who are looking to dabble with bolder prints and patterns.

The trick is in keeping it simple. If you’re keen to sport a bold houndstooth blazer, anchor the rest of the outfit with a block shirt and trousers. In a similar vein, if you want to wear a bold coloured blazer, think about how you can offset with more muted tones elsewhere.

Finishing touches: accessories aren't just for formal occasions

Accessories can make all the difference in adding that final touch to your outfit. For business casual, this often means considering the addition of a pocket square, a well chosen shoe or even a brightly coloured sock.

Far from detracting from the overall ensemble, this adds an element of personality and uniqueness that will not go unnoticed by those around you.

Our advice is to start small with elements like a pocket square before embarking upon more sartorially adventurous terrain.