Now that it’s a new year, you’re ready to spruce up the old wardrobe. Since the lines between business and personal wear seem to blur more with each trip around the sun, having a capsule collection of smart casual wear in your closet increasingly makes sense. To that end, we’re unpacking 2023 winter style trends for men, specifically smart casual attire.
What Is Smart Casual Style?
Before getting into listing specific tips, here’s a review of the parameters of a smart casual outfit. Though similar to business casual, smart casual is a pinch more laid back — think polo shirts — and the focus is typically on stylish items that may be a tad too much for the office. For example, a bright-colored blazer that might be inappropriate for a traditional boardroom meeting could be perfect for a first date at a nice restaurant.
Typical smart casual combinations include:
- Jeans with a blazer
- Khakis with a polo shirt or other collared shirt and stylish yet comfortable shoes
- Tailored pants with a t-shirt, trendy jacket and good-looking sneakers
In some circles, smart casual is synonymous with startup attire and is notably marked by the lack of a necktie.
Winter Smart Casual Style Tips
How can you pull off an attractive, smart casual look this winter? We’ve outlined four easy styling techniques to keep you on-trend and feeling great.
Tip #1: Layer With a Stylish Jacket
Layering is a hallmark of smart casual men’s attire, especially for guys who live in colder or temperate climates. When neatly pressed and color coordinated, a stylish jacket over a cardigan and t-shirt makes for an eye-catching ensemble.
“Top Gun: Maverick” left a trend tailwind in its wake, and bomber jackets are the hot outerwear accessory for winter 2023. Investing in a well-made one is a good move because bombers are a solid addition to any male wardrobe, whether traditional or modern.
But instead of getting a leather jacket, which can be limiting, try a soft reversible bomber jacket. Not only do these jackets give you two color options, but they’re more weather-friendly.
Tip #2: Pair Casual Shirts With Nicer Pants or Vice Versa
The can’t-miss way to pull off smart casual style is by mixing classic and comfortable tops and bottoms. For example, pair a funky blazer with jeans, or try nice slacks with a comfy v-neck or long sleeve henley. A sweater with a collared shirt also works well.
If you go this route, try adding a pop of color on either the top or bottom but not both. Also, don’t be afraid of patterns, and if you want to go big, some trendsetters are advocating for winter leather.
Tip #3: Consider Both Your Head and Feet
Fashion is a head-to-toe journey, so don’t forget about hats and footwear. Creating an outfit with the right hat or shoes can make all the difference.
If you want to stay on-trend in 2023, pick up a newsboy cap, beanie or gambler. And yes, feel free to dust off the old fedora this winter. Just ensure it’s the right look for your ensemble and that it doesn’t overwhelm the outfit.
On the other end, consider going with dress boots instead of casual shoes. Pick the sleekest option if you’re pairing them with nice slacks. Chunky Chucks or cowboy boots work well with jeans.
Tip #4: Relax About Fit
While a tailored fit will always work, 2023 runways highlighted oversized options for men. People who know their fashion history may notice the extra fabric is a nod to baggy streetwear trends from the late 1990s. If you go this route, make sure your clothing is still a decent fit. After all, you don’t want to be tripping over hems.
Things to Avoid
Fashion is fun and has the power to broadcast your personality or display your personal style. If you’re shooting for the former, go wild. Live your best life, and let personal preference be your guide. If, however, you’re looking to convey a tailored look, avoid these fashion faux pas:
- Combining clashing hues without understanding color theory.
- Putting together excessive accessories.
- Wearing garments with large logos. For 2023, huge brand logos are a bit aggressive. For example, it’s fine for a night out with the guys, but not necessarily right for a smart casual business lunch.
- Choosing white socks and black dress shoes. Unless you’re making a fashion statement, white socks with dark dress shoes are a combination that will make you stand out — and not in a good way.
When it comes to wardrobe choices, never say never. However, paying attention to this handful of basic dressing rules is a good idea if you want to upgrade your style.
Casual, But Make it Smart
Adding smart casual pieces to your wardrobe makes a lot of sense, especially since work attire is becoming increasingly casual. As such, look for garments that also fit business casual standards to get the most bang for your buck.
Always remember that the key to looking great is confidence. So, choose options that reflect your personal taste. Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd or blend in if the outfit makes you feel your best. Who knows, by adding signature twists, you may become a tastemaker instead of a trend follower.