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Men’s Style Tips: The Art of Smart/Casual with stylist Gareth Scourfield

Blog, Men’s Style Tips • 09 June 2020

It’s one of those dress codes that can get lost in translation. What is too smart? What is too casual? What part of the outfit should be smart and what part should be casual? While it may feel confusing, it really is the most versatile of dress codes. To remind ourselves about how to master the art of smart/casual combo, we delved into the LSC Footnote archives. Here, Daniel Craig’s stylist (that’s right, James Bond‘s stylist) Gareth Scourfield shares his tips on what wardrobe staples you need to keep it casual but cool.

The simple T-shirt

An absolute essential for smart/casual style? A plain white t-shirt. This is the foundation for a clean, sharp look, and was arguably first made stylish by actor Paul Newman.

“Don’t overcomplicate it,” Gareth says. “A simple V-neck, round neck white tee or even a polo, combined with well-fitting denim jeans or chinos is a simple classic!”

The great thing about this wardrobe staple is its versatility. You can wear it with a range of trousers styles and colours, but you can never go wrong with a white t-shirt and jeans. Complete the look with a nice pair of trainers and some great socks.

Denim, the staple item

Man on bike wearing jeans and Ottaway Grey socks from London Sock Company

You’ll be pleased to know that you can’t go wrong with denim. It really is the go-to when it comes to those dressed down vibes. And thankfully, styling jeans couldn’t be easier. Go with a tee in a solid shade like white, grey and navy, or go a touch smarter with a shirt. A linen shirt in white or pale blue is a nice summer piece that will elevate your look with minimal effort but still feels relaxed. But key to this look is nailing the fit of your jeans, though.

“Picking the right denim is all about getting the right fit,” stresses Gareth. “It’s so important. Slimmer jeans are universally flattering and the ideal choice. Avoid both ultra-skinny and slouchy, baggy designs. When it comes to the material, go for good quality denim. Selvedge style denim always looks good when rolled up – also a great way to show off a bit of your sock style. A final tip? When you do find a pair of jeans that look and feel good … buy several pairs!”

Choose chinos

Black model wearing blue LSC socks and tying blue trainers

A pair of great-fitting, comfortable chinos is a great way to achieve the smart/casual look. Available in a huge variety of colours and fits, from classic beige to more punchy brights, chinos are an ideal alternative to denim that can carry you from professional life to private life with ease.

Classically casual, try a pair of slim-fitting brown or stone chinos with blue socks, like this pair of Shaken & Stirred in Royal. Pair with brown loafers or even your favourite smart trainers.

Can trainers be smart or are they just casual?

man sitting wearing grey LSC socks with brown leather trainers

Long gone are the days when trainers were just for, well, training. There is a huge selection of styles that are worthy of being worn on more than your run, from a classic pair of canvas Chucks to sharper numbers in leather. “Despite what some more traditional people might say, trainers do have their place outside of the gym,” says Gareth. “I would always recommend you try something understated, keeping them a simple colour and design.” These brown leather trainers are classy but cool and pair well with a pair of Shaken & Stirred in Grey.

 Gareth Scourfield is both a fashion editor and professional stylist. As well as Daniel Craig, he has worked with countless other male celebrities, including James Norton, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Will Poulter. Original interview featured in 2016.

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