Defining The New ‘Smart-Casual’

Defining The New ‘Smart-Casual’

Photography by Tom Buck

What I’m Wearing

Trench Coat – River Island (here)

Grey Suit – River Island Blazer (here)

Grey Suit – River Island Trousers (here)

Zip Up Polo – River Island (here)

Marmont Belt  – Gucci (here)

Flame Sneakers – Gucci (here)

The lovely team over at River Island Menswear have invited me to the Brit Awards 2017 (they’re a fashion partner of the Brits you see, you can find out more about the Brits and River Island here) and I wanted to use the outfit that I’ve chosen for the Brits to talk about the dreaded term ‘Smart – Casual’.

The very words ‘Smart-Casual’ confuse me, a lot. I’m typically a very casual dresser, I dress for comfort and depending on my mood.

I generally wear oversized hoodies, drop shoulder overcoats, skinny or cropped denim with sneakers. So if you’re like me and get super stumped by ‘smart-casual’ then this might be for you.

Smart Casual is a very broad term that encompasses a lot of different styles or ‘levels’. What might be smart casual for the Brit Awards might be considered casual for another event.


Do you need to wear a Shirt?

In place of a shirt I chose the zip up mock neck – I love the silver hardware and again it just gives the suit into a more relaxed feel.

I’m not one to wear shirts but if I had to I probably would have gone with a revere collar shirt – think Leonardo Decaprio in Baz Luhrmanns’ Romeo and Juliet. Just because you’re wearing a shirt doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.


To keep the balance between tailoring and streetwear I had to wear my Gucci Flame sneakers. The sneakers are so loud they add a more daring edge to the overall look.

I could have worn my Alexander McQueen sneakers or my off white sneakers with this look too but I wanted to add a splash of colour and think the metallic flames are perfect for it.


To really contrast the grey suit I thought my Marmont belt would fit perfectly with this fit – again tying in the silver hardware from the zip up top.

I only recently bought this belt and it’s the first one I’ve owned in a very long time, I think the last time I wore a belt was at my Graduation (lol). I think the piece as a whole is quite subtle adding a touch of luxe to the whole fit.

Tailoring Yes or No?

For me to pull of smart casual, there has to be a somewhat ‘smart’ portion of the outfit. In this case I chose a super skinny fit suit from River Island, much like suits I’ve worn in the past – I like a tapered skinny fit with a little ankle showing.

However in my opinion smart casual does not at all mean you need to wear parts of a suit – you could elevate an outfit to smart casual with things like Chelsea boots and an overcoat whilst still wearing jeans and a t shirt. It really is up to you.


I was torn between wearing this Khaki Trench coat, a leather biker jacket or a shearling jacket. I love the idea of outerwear placed over a suit, again it’s taking everything about tailoring and toning it all down for me. Your idea of smart casual might be different but that’s the beauty of it and it’s great because everyone will look so different.

I do wish there were less rules and dress codes for certain events, however it forces some people to step out of their comfort zone (like me). And even though I don’t think I’ll start wearing suits out and about anytime soon – it does keep my mind open to wearing one when the time is right.

I hope you enjoyed this post, what’re your thoughts on Smart Casual? And what do you think of the outfit I’ve chosen to wear to the Brit awards? Let me know in the comments below.

And finally I’d like to say a big thank you to River Island for inviting me to the Brit Awards – check my Instagram story on the night to see what I get up to.