There’s a lot to be said about men’s fashion, especially the place it has reached the moment. An interesting mix of inclusiveness, embraceiveness and most of all; a celebration of individuality. These elements perhaps, being responsible for not only the redefinition of masculinity but also a resurgence of men’s fashion reminiscent of the past eras of opulence, decadence and style.
Among the many different men’s looks seen on runways, red carpets and the more recent place that has rapidly become a phenomena within itself…the streets. Street style especially for menswear has truly come into its own, much like an inclusive alternative to high-end red carpets and award events highly publicized worldwide. It is not uncommon to find a multitude of men’s fashion looks up or down the streets around the world that have contributed to the diversity and development of men’s casual fashion.
Men’s Casual Fashion
Before diving into this wide landscape of casual fashion for men, it is perhaps best to first understand what casual means and how far back are its roots spread out. That’s right, the concept of casual can be linked to the 1950s. A time when the war had just ended and people, mostly the youth; were seeking something different to break the boredom and tastelessness of the times. Enter center-stage were blue jeans, freedom, big hair and rock ‘n’ roll. All this served as an inspiration, a platform that would soon develop into a lifestyle that would continue to be relevant decades upon decades later, not to mention influence how millions of people would dress ‘casually’ to this day.
Just as there are two sides to a coin, so too; can casual fashion for men be dubbed an opposite side to formal menswear that is also still relevant today but having an equal share under global limelight. By now, you may be wondering; what constitutes casual fashion for men at the moment. The answer would be anything that is aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and adaptable to different situations and scenarios. While comfort may be the backbone to all casual looks for men, they still have to be stylish, interesting and most importantly an extension of the individual’s personality.
Today’s Casual Fashion for Men
Men’s casual outfits at the moment speak volumes about the times we’re in. From the use of a variety of different silhouettes, to the comfort levels of using more color, accessories and details that add depth as well as visual interest to any type of casual look. That’s right! Just as there are different types and degrees of formal attire for men, there are also different types of casual menswear along with the different degrees of casual outfits for men. Sounds interesting? Read on to find out more.
Outfits for Men by Type and Degree
Now that we’ve established what casual means in menswear and what constitutes casual men’s outfits, we move on to the different degrees of casual menswear as well as the various types of casual looks for men.
Degrees of Men’s Casual Wear
There are three main degrees of casual in menswear. The first and most common being casual wear for men, the second- smart casual menswear and the third being business casual menswear. Although these may seem complicated, it’s actually pretty easy to understand and therefore remember for future reference.
Casual menswear applies to any informal menswear look. Whereas smart casual involves a slightly dressed up alternative to mainstream casual menswear. For example, a mainstream casual men’s look would be a t-shirt and jeans combo, whereas a smart casual look would be a button-down shirt with chinos or khakis. The business casual look for men is somewhat similar to smart casual, not so much because of the dressiness of the look or even the use of a men’s jacket but rather the choice of color palette, print and pattern that is what differentiates between the two. For example, a smart casual look would include colors such as green, pink or tangerine. Picture if you will, a pale or coral pink; self-print button-down shirt teamed with tan or earth-toned chinos. Note the use of color. A business casual men’s look would involve the same pieces but in colors such as white, black, grey, navy or brown. Brown and navy being the pop of color in this combination. Also, business casual looks do not involve prints or patterns, unless they are absolutely subtle or almost non-existent to the naked eye.
Types of Casual Looks for Men
At this point, we’ve covered enough ground to form an idea of what casual menswear is all about. From a brief historical connection to the degrees of casual that sets the stage for variation in putting together casual outfits for men. Interestingly, there are many different types of casual looks men can achieve while moving between the three degrees of casual we talked about earlier. In some cases, even forming a mix of two degrees of casual menswear together for additional visual interest. Such as mixing a business casual look with smart casual menswear. Of-course you’d have to practice the basics well enough to reach this stage that is easily achieved through trial and error, some practice and instinct as to what you are drawn to that you can comfortably pull-off. So let’s begin this next stage covering some of the most popular types of casual looks for men at the moment. Let this be a source of inspiration as you curate stylish casual looks that really make a style statement.
This is perhaps one of the most popular and embracive types of casual looks men can try and also achieve effortlessly. Diversity, intrigue and packed with personalized style to detail is what makes this a must try for all men. With a wide-frame canvas that is the street, anything from fleece to leather, joggers and tracks to sports jackets, trench coats and slacks, accessorized with fancy footwear, hats, eyewear and tastefully chosen jewellery.
Casual hipster looks are synonymous with such pieces as denim shirts, cuffed pants, statement socks, hoodies, leather jackets, blazers and peacoats to name a few wardrobe essentials. The hipster man is very thoughtful of what he chooses to wear. From a button-down shirt to monk-strap shoes. This particular type of look is not limited to apparel but rather covers hair, facial hair, accessories and a host of other elements that complete this very often smart and business casual lifestyle.
Dandy Dudes and Detail
Dandy casual style is just one small fraction of a bigger, more elaborate style of menswear. This is typically a group of men called dandies who are greatly attentive to their sartorial choices, appearances, language and even hobbies which ultimately highlights a specific lifestyle. Tailored pieces dominate a dandy wardrobe just as much as casual pieces that include sports jackets, blazers, leather jackets, polo shirts, button-downs, footwear, accessories and even hats, eyewear and that’s not all. Much like a hipster, as mentioned above although on a bit of a higher level, dandy dudes do enjoy their attention to detail regarding anything that forms an element of this elaborate lifestyle.
Not your Typical Jock
Although there is no need of an introduction here, as everyone’s aware of ‘the jock’ especially from high-school. Still, if we were to summarize the type of casual look inspired by the jock, it would hinge greatly on athleisure pieces that can range from basic tees and tracks, to joggers, hoodies, varsity jackets, sports jackets, nylon or leather vests, button-downs among many other pieces that are a mix of athletic and leisure wear. This particular type of casual look for men would work well for your mainstream casual menswear, whereas smart casual or business casual looks would call for some thought and careful execution especially regarding the color palette and style of apparel used to achieve this widely popular type of casual look.
Style essentials that involve tailored pieces, understated design elements, neutral color palette and mostly classic style and silhouettes are what you will find in a casual jet-setters wardrobe. With so much traveling to do and less time to actually focus on what to wear, the jet-setter’s style is very classic, clean-cut and often basic that it works well internationally. Based on a palette that includes black, white, grey and possibly tan in different tones, classic button-downs, blazers and suits not forgetting a casually classic selection of knitted, textured fabrics translated into cardigans, wool trousers and vests. This type of casual style works best with either of the three degrees of casual we talked out, which makes it many men’s go to for casual outfits.
Rustic Man Vibes
Envisioning countryside, possibly a cabin in the hills, warmth, whimsy, comfort and lots of layering that may include textured fabrics. The type of rustic casual menswear is heavily based on comfort and functionality. All else is secondary. Denim dominates a rustic casual men’s outfit along with wool, tweed and a color palette that is earth toned at the very least. Interestingly, a rustic style look for men can still work as smart casual and also business casual by using neutral tones and tailored blazers, coats and suits.
Rebel in Leather
With or without a cause, a rebel type of casual look is mostly dominated by black and also white. With other neutral tones used sparingly either to add a pop of color or to highlight a particular element in this casual men’s look. While t-shirts, jeans and leather jackets are a must in a rebel’s wardrobe, other pieces include vests, button-down printed shirts, belts, boots, bags and hats. Eyewear is key to complement this type of casual look as well as silver jewellery that may include a ring, chain, ear-studs and wrist-bands. It’s not unusual to see a rebel sporting a leather biker jacket, racing on a motorcycle or sitting in a circle of smoke.
Classic Street Gent
As timeless as this particular type of casual men’s look is, so is it equally popular and a great place to start for someone new to styling casual outfits for men. Dominated by timeless pieces that include the basic white tee and button-down shirt, to tailored trousers, regular fit chinos, blazers, sports coats and matching footwear that are pulled together by a selection of accessories that include a watch, pocket square, lapel pin or scarf etc. another type of classic men’s casual style involves the use of carefully selected vintage pieces such as a fedora hat, pale linen suits, pin-striped shirts etc. Although vintage style casual outfits for men have an independent field, both classic and vintage share a few key qualities that make for interesting styling that is truly one of a kind. This type of casual men’s style can be incorporated into mainstream casual as well as smart casual and business casual too.
Uniform Smart Men
Perhaps one of the most effortless, timeless and accessible types of casual outfits for men are uniform looks. This does not mean that you would have to be in a particular uniform per se. However you would have to pick one particular type of look that you can wear on a daily basis. This could be wearing just black so wherever you go you will be seen in black. Black shirt, trousers, blazer as well as socks and shoes. Likewise, this could also mean wearing denim and tees or wearing monochromatic outfits, possibly even sticking to just tailored pieces, suits, or having a leather jacket collection that you can wear year round. What it boils down to, is finding a look you’re most comfortable in and getting the pieces required in bulk. So as to never run out.
Preppy Perfect Guys
Oxford button-down shirts, cable knit sweaters and khakis are synonymous with the casual preppy look for men. Preppy men’s style is all about channeling Ivy League inspired elements that bend more towards formal appearance making it effortlessly achievable when going for smart casual and business casual looks. Although mainstream casual looks can also be accomplished going back to the basics of dark denim, classic cotton button-downs, cashmere sweaters and brogues. Obviously, with such a luxurious style even in a set of casual looks, accessories are keys to highlight this suave style of casual menswear.
Men’s Style Guide to Casual
Moving on to the very core of casual menswear, we should go through some key components that make casual outfits for men a satrorial success indeed. Before going any further though, it’s best to know or have some idea as to what type of style best suits you and your personality. Only then can you develop a well thought out wardrobe of casual pieces that can take you through the three different degrees of casual menswear. Some possibly even working to your benefit with certain formal looks as well.
T-shirts a Plenty
A common feature in every man’s wardrobe are t-shirts that in itself is a vast area that covers different types based on style and situation. For instance, colorful and graphic tees can easily be used in a mainstream casual outfit for men. However, the same will not work as well in a smart casual men’s outfit. Reason being, that business casual would call for neutral colors whereas as smart casual, may be more embracive to color but not as much with such elements as graphics, typography or animated characters. So it’s best to own based on your necessity, a mix of colorful as well as neutral; self-colored t-shirts. Especially in a style and fit that go well with sports coats or blazers.
A step-up to t-shirts, polo-shirts are one of the most basic style essentials you need in your casual wardrobe. These collared, comfy and stylish pieces add a sophistication to casual menswear without any effort. Whether you go for neutrals that include white, grey, blue and black or you go for a bit of color that includes pale green, lime, salmon or mauve. Again, a neutral color palette will enable you to wear your polo-shirt as different types of casual, offering more space to style and even experiment. Bold colors on the other hand will restrict your styling to only a few particular situations that are heavily casual. A white or soft, sky blue polo-shirt will look brilliant with tan chinos or even knee length, buttoned shorts, a brown belt, aviator shades, loafers or boat-shoes and you have a smart looking casual weekend look.
A good mix of classic white button-down shirts with some in neutral tones and maybe a very few in prints and colors that you can use sparingly. The key here is to have enough button-down shirts that you can use with cardigans, blazers or even leather jackets and coats. You can never have enough white in this department as well as blue, grey and black. Some well-selected prints such as plaid or checks and if you can carry off tropical prints, polka or even stripes then go for it.
Much like t-shirts, it’s difficult to think of a casual wardrobe or even men’s casual looks without denim. Denim jeans are currently available in too many washes, finishes, tones and cuts to count. Safe to say, that despite the wide variety available, it’s still best to go for the more classic options that will give you more wear as well as style. Sure you can totally own four or five pairs of jeans, possibly even more; but dark classic denim will allow you to create a casual outfit that gels well with the mainstream, smart-casual and business casual dynamic.
Khakis or Chinos
An instant uplift to any casual outfit for men, khakis and chinos have a distinct quality that is dressed-up yet fun. Without much formality to be seen. White khakis or chinos add a suave element of style to any type of men’s casual look. Other great options are grey, stone, tan, blue, olive, chocolate, ebony or charcoal. Team up a pair of grey khakis with a blue button-down shirt, a deep tan plaid sports jacket, interesting eyewear, Monk-straps and you get an internationally relevant, stylish smart-casual look.
Undoubtedly one of the best style essentials any man could own would be a leather jacket. Whether you see yourself as a Moto Man, a double-rider, a bomber guy or even a vintage leather jacket fan, leather jackets are one of those key pieces that ensure you get an effortless style in more ways than one. From a black leather bomber jacket to a luxurious suede finish brown biker jacket, an artsy blue leather jacket or a green leather jacket to show how close you are to nature. While a leather jacket would work perfectly in any mainstream casual outfit for men, a bit of creativity and thought would be required to pull together a smart-casual or business casual look. Remember, smart-casual being more lenient with color while business casual is all about neutrals. On a side-note, leather pants are another way you can incorporate leather into your casual look, that is if you’re up for a little extra edge to your look. It’s being seen as a statement maker for 2021 and 2022.
Aside from denim jeans, khakis or chinos, Corduroy is another wardrobe must-have. Whether a Corduroy jacket, pant or even shirt jacket, there’s a lot you can get out of a great looking Corduroy piece. It’s best to go for a neutral tone though you are most welcome to try any color you find yourself drawn to. Today, Corduroy can be found in many more colors than you can imagine. Not forgetting that it looks good, paired with denim or even leather. Adding an interesting bit of texture as well as a luxurious element to any casual outfit.
Pullovers, cardigans, jumpers and v neck sweaters, all add that dash of texture and warmth to any men’s casual outfit. Whether you go for a stylish fisherman’s knit, a roll neck collar, a cable knit, high neck or any type of woolen garment that adds that classic yet contemporary feel to your men’s casual outfit. Depicting intelligence, suavity, preppiness and even old-school style that is all the rage at the moment, knitted cardigans especially; is a definite wardrobe must-have for effortless styling of casual outfits for men. Teamed with khakis, chinos and even denim jeans, this will work great with button-down shirts as well as t-shirts.
Although tailored blazers are ideal for any man’s casual wardrobe, ready-to-wear pieces are also a pretty good option to style up your smart casual or business casual outfits for men. To get the best of this particular piece, go for dark or neutral tones that you can use for different types of casual outfits. From navy to grey, white and black. Possibly a deep or dull army green, tan, rust or mustard. While the colored options are best suited for casual and smart casual looks the neutrals actually work best for all three. Also and more importantly, try to stay away from patterned blazers, or ones with too much design or details. These will only cut your chances in half for much wear within the smart casual, business casual domain.
Sports Jackets and Coats
This would be a huge favourite for men looking for something extra in their wardrobe. While blazers maybe very streamlined, basic and hinging more toward formality. Sports jackets and coats allow you to enjoy style and comfort through a more creative avenue. From the use of color to patterns such as Stripes, Plaid, Checks and even Herringbone, Houndstooth, Crosshatch and solid blocks. Sports jackets have the versatility to suit different types of casual menswear so long as it meets the relevant decorum. Picture a white button-down shirt, teamed with navy chinos and a charcoal grey dual toned sports jacket. Complemented by dark grey chakkas, a pair of shades, an icy blue pocket square and optional index ring, simple metallic bracelet if you can pull it off. A look that is just as effortless to put together as it is to look at. There are other types of casual jackets for men that include the Harrington Jacket, the Chore Coat, Quilted Jackets, Trucker Jackets, Pea-coats, Puffer Jackets, Parkas, Windbreakers, Varsity Jackets, Shearling Jackets, etc.
Don’t Forget your Trench-coat
A trench-coat is a must in any type of wardrobe for men. With so many different options to choose from especially the widely popular leather trench-coats for men, getting a stylish and yet functional piece is a great idea. It will not only serve a functional purpose, but also help complement your personal style and the kind of look you’re going for. Some men tend to go for duster-coats which is alright too, if that’s your thing. Similarly, many may go for the classic tan, you can also go for black or even a nice charcoal grey. Whether you choose the completely closed and belted look or one that has the trench-coat open exposing a bit of your smart casual or even mainstream casual look will always work in your favour. The versatility of the trench-coat enables you to confidently pair it with denim, chinos, khakis or even tailored trousers, wear it with a polo-shirt, button-down or tee, there are a host of various looks you can go for. Perfectly giving you street-style looks effortlessly well.
When it comes to footwear, a lot has changed in the shoe department over the years that has contributed to a more stylish state of casual outfits for men. Today, you have a great variety of footwear to choose from which adds further depth, dimension and detail to your outfit. Sneakers, being one of the widely popular choices of men from different age groups have been redefined to suit certain smart casual looks all thanks to the introduction of black or dark, simplistic style sneakers that you can wear with anything from denim to dressier pants. Boots are another great option that will really ‘up’ your styling game on all three fronts. Whether you go for traditional boots, a bit of a western or equestrian inspired style, chukkas, or any other ankle high boots that will not only keep you warm but looking equally stylish as well.
For a bit more pizazz and perhaps a tad bit more formality, Brogues and Monk-straps are definitely a go to, as well as Oxfords that will surely give a perfect finish to your smart-casual and business-casual looks. It’s best to go for black, dark chocolate brown, tan, burgundy or grey. Depending of-course on the color palette of your closet overall as well as the look you’re wearing at the moment. For your mainstream casual looks, it’s wise to invest in a good-looking and durable pair of sandals as well as a couple of pairs of flip-flops. These will work well with street-style looks involving anything from shorts, joggers, jeans or cargos.
One of the defining highlights of any outfit would perhaps be accessories. While it may not be about shape or size that makes the difference, it’s simply the value and appeal that it renders to any type of menswear that can either make you look suave, stylish and expensive or untidy, dull and even cheap. While every personal style is unique to the individual, how you present yourself to the world is what matters and how others end up perceiving you.
Putting together a grey button-down shirt with deep chocolate brown chinos or khakis and a rich, checkered maroon sports jacket that matches those stylish burgundy Monk-straps will no doubt look impressive. However, adding a simple soft grey or pale pink pocket-square, as well as a wrist-watch will instantly take an already stylish look to a totally higher level. All we did was add a watch and a pocket-square.
For the perfect addition of detail, invest in a few pocket-squares in soft or luxurious fabrics, a few boutonnieres for your sports-coat, blazer or jacket lapel, good quality socks and eyewear such as sunglasses or reading glasses if you need them. You can also add simple; silver rings for your index finger or little finger, a simple silver chain if it goes with your preference and personal style as well good quality leather bags such as a weekender bag, a back-pack or a messenger bag. Last and certainly not the least, a watch, in a style that highlights your personality.
Before getting Started
Now that we’ve covered a great deal of ground regarding casual outfits for men, before you begin executing these ideas and implementing this information into your everyday, it’s best to go through a few key aspects to help smoothen this process.
Start off with shopping your wardrobe, go through every garment you own and ask yourself whether you wear this piece or not. If so, how frequently. This will ultimately leave you with only those pieces that you actually wear. The ones you don’t ever wear can be gifted or donated to good-will. Next, the pieces you now have, check their condition, fit, look and feel. If the piece passes all of these points in the positive you’re they’re good to go.
When shopping for something new, make it a point while checking the piece you’re about to purchase for care labels, fit, quality, stretch and durability. Always remember, you will only look and feel good, if what you are wearing fits you well. Most importantly, quality of a piece is only proven by how long it lasts. Therefore, before jumping on the fast-fashion band-wagon, do a little research, there are many accessible; quality brands offering great pieces at terrific prices. Go for pieces that are truly high quality and that will last a long time.
Summarizing this Post on Casual Outfits for Men
If we were to summarize all that we’ve covered above, we can agree that men’s casual outfits can be linked to three degrees of casual. There are many different types of casual outfits for men that may work for one but not the other. Based on personal preference, color plays an important role in the do or die moments of styling a casual outfit for men. While mainstream casual can involve any color, smart-casual moderately so, business-casual is all about neutrals with the most minimum of color use. Don’t forget to include interesting knits and textures for visual interest. We’ve also learned that footwear as well as accessories, also play a significant part in the satrorial success of your casual men’s outfits. So now that you have all these pointers, tips and info, go forth and enjoy your personal style by expressing it through stylish casual outfits.