Comfortably Casual, Yet Stylishly Elegant

Previously we explored the difference between suit jacket, blazer and sport jacket. Most would assume that dressing up is always associated with formal events. However, this does not mean that one should only dress well for those occasions. After all, a man should also be stylish and look good in a casual setting, too. A suit may be appropriate for a business lunch, but pairing a sport jacket with good quality denim would be more suited for a casual lunch. In this article, we will explore how one can dress comfortably, and yet appear confident and stylishly elegant.

Spicing up your appearance with a widespread collared shirt with 10cm jacquard silk tie, high-waisted pants and whole cute leather shoes.
Casual style does not mean sloppy, what more boring. Spice up your appearance with a widespread collared shirt with 10cm jacquard silk tie, high waisted pants held up by a pair of braces and a pair of dress leather shoes.
Image by Gent’s Props

Casual Wear Is The Normal Wear

Unless you are a politician, a high-flying business mogul or James Bond, the average gentlemen would spend a handful of times attending events that require a suit. Come to think of it, the average gentlemen would not even own a dinner suit! Even those working in the corporate sector don’t regularly wear blazers nowadays. Pair a nicely pressed long-sleeved shirt with matching pants and Oxford shoes, and you are good to go.

The regular Joe spends most of his time in casual clothing. One dresses casually when he goes out to grab a coffee, hanging out with friends and everything else in between. There is no specific definition of casual wear. But, it is safe to loosely define it as “anything traditionally considered inappropriate for more formal occasions”. On top of comfort, casual attire should also be able to express a person’s dress sense. It falls under an informal dress code, yet it can still show elegance.

Blue glen check blazer with grey pants for the smart-casual setting.
The smart-casual outfit, when you want to dress to impress. – Blue glen check blazer (Super 130’s mix wool) with grey pants.
Image by Gent’s Props

Of course, you may dress in whatever attire that feels comfortable to you in the privacy of your own home. However, when you go out to meet people, you should make the effort to dress well. Indeed, you would want to feel relaxed in a laid back outfit. But, casual does not mean “sloppy”. Just because it is an attire that you wear daily, it should not be treated with any less concern than the attire for more formal events.

How Would You Dress When Going For A First Date?

Women would usually take the effort to prepare, and prepare well. They would meticulously choose the perfect dress from their wardrobe, with matching jewellery and shoes. On top of that, they spend extra time applying makeup and setting their hair, too.

How would YOU prepare for a date? Would you have mistaken taking the term “casual”, to mean t-shirt with obnoxious graphics, highly distressed and faded jeans, and a pair of slippers? After all, it’s the thought that counts, right? What first impression would you give your date? This is definitely not a good one.

Going casual on your first date.
What outfit would you choose to impress your date when meeting her for the first time?
Image by Napaporn Sripirom from Pixabay

What if you showed up in a pressed shirt, paired with chinos and leather loafers, instead? You’re still casually dressed, but now you’re more respectable looking. You can bet that your date will feel appreciated, and the date would go well.

One may argue that there is no need to dress to the nines when running your weekend errands. It is indeed true. However, presenting yourself well is always a good idea. After all, you’ll never know who you may run into. As such, maintaining your elegance while in casual attire is an essential skill every gentleman should master.

Elegance In Casual Menswear

Do bear in mind that wearing anything that is currently the in thing or fashionable may make you look trendy but would not keep you in style. For casual wear, it is best to keep it simple. Blend in your character with comfort to create your personal style. This way, you will project confidence in your personal image.

The staple of casual attire would be dark wash denim, solid coloured polo shirts and trainers for the most casual occasions. But, you would want to spice it up in order to stand out from the crowd. In this case, opt for a wide-spread collared shirt instead of a polo shirt. As for footwear, choose other alternatives such as loafers and boat shoes for the smarter look.

Linen and cotton collared shirts for the casual look.
Instead of a t-shirt, why not choose these linen (left) or cotton (right) collared shirts instead?
Image from Gent’s Props
Pleated brown pants, a casual alternative to jeans.
A casual alternative to jeans is pleated brown trousers, either in darker or lighter shades.
Image by Gent’s Props

Outerwear And Accessories

Sport jackets and denim jackets are excellent outerwear to bring your style up a notch or two. The sport jacket is the most versatile item a man can have. One can pair it up with dark wash jeans and checked or striped shirt to look sharp. But if you wish to tone it down a notch or two, consider a denim jacket over a solid polo t-shirt instead.

Business casual outfit
A typical business casual outfit – Cotton sport jacket in small Glen check weave, a beige textured cotton shirt in herringbone weave, grey flannel trousers, and completed with a casual knit tie.
Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

Accessories are a great way to enhance your overall look. Compliment your ensemble with a casual wristwatch. It will enhance your personal presentation. Neckwear is an easy addition to help tie your outfit together. If you choose to go with neckwear, consider knit ties over the dressy woven ones.

Wrapping It Up

How you dress in public is your statement of who you are. As a gentleman, one should always strive to project a good image. Even in a casual setting, showing up in a clean and elegant style tells people that you take pride in yourself. You will be perceived as a gentleman who is cultured, well-mannered and exudes with your own unique identity.

“Dressing well is a form of good manners.”

Pink coloured shirt with 3 button waistcoat and paisley print 10cm silk tie. Lose the hat if you want to wear this indoor.
Sky Ng looking dashing in a pink coloured shirt with a three-button waistcoat and paisley print 10cm silk tie.
Image by Gent’s Props

If you are still unsure and would like an expert’s opinion on how to develop your own casual style, Sky Ng of Gent’s Props is the person to go to. On top of being an experienced bespoke tailor, he is also a menswear aficionado and style maven. He would be able to provide advice and guidance on how to develop your own style, be it for casual or formal events.

Check out his Instagram page for more information on his latest collection. He can be contacted at +6012 280 0812 for an appointment.

About Muhammad REZA

An avid reader, who enjoys history and personal development. Takes on everyday as a new learning experience. Dreams of opening a sanctuary for strays one day... until life threw him a curveball... fatherhood. Now all leisure is channelled to raising a happy and well learned princess.

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