Versatile Fashion: from Smart to Casual

Versatile Fashion: from Smart to Casual

Conor Richardson
Conor Richardson
MENSWR trendsetter

Men’s fashion is something that has opened and become diverse and eclectic. It bridges different styles, cultures and ultimately transitions nicely from smart to casual. But what clothes do this best? Some of our favorites will make your outfits smart and formal while comfortable and casual.


Not to be confused with khaki’s, this dressier pair of trousers is smart, classic and comes in an array of colors which means that it is a suitable fashion choice for all occasions. Chinos are an item of clothing that can easily transition between casual, when paired with trainers and a plain tee, to something a lot smarter if combined with a shirt and smart shoes (the perfect outfit for a lunch date or meeting with friends for a drink). Chinos are unique in that they are a fashion choice that is loved by all ages, coming in both traditional colors to bright and vibrant ones and a range of fits. Every man should have a pair of chinos or two in his wardrobe.


Now I know what you’re thinking; waistcoats are smart wear and are typically used for fancy or special occasions. Some waist coats have your standard plunge V, and others have lapels meaning they are intended to be worn without a jacket and look just as smart. Well that’s true. However, in recent times waistcoats are one of many pieces of traditional men’s fashion that have been appropriated into a much more casual setting. On a weekly basis, I see people wearing waistcoats to work but also see them being combined with comfortable casual wear like jeans and short sleeve shirts. Dressed down fashion is something that is common place in young fashions these days and the waistcoat is the perfect representation of this. And how can I not mention that the waistcoat is also the perfect item for men that transitions from day to night, from work to a night out. Waistcoats are no longer just for special occasions, so I suggest going out, trying a few on and seeing if the style works for you.


Let’s talk shoes for a second, shall we? On one side, we have the derby shoe, it’s smart and a work-shoe. Then there’s the oxford, another more formal style usually stylized as having a toe cap and a high shine that makes them stand out. On the other side, you have the trainers and sneakers, much more comfortable and something you wouldn’t dare to think of wearing to a formal occasion (a date, a wedding, ANYTHING). So, is there a shoe that slots into the middle of these? There are a few styles but personally I like the appeal of the brogue. For those who don’t know what a brogue is, it’s a derby style shoes that features an extra bit of material (usually leather) over the toe and as trim around the laces that feature fancy and flamboyant embellishments. These shoes stand out for the unique style and quality they bring to the party. They can look incredibly dapper when worn in combination with a suit, or there are now styles of ‘walking brogues’, ones that are sturdier and intended for everyday use. You could pair them with chinos, slacks or formal trousers. The brogue is a style to look out for in a more modern and eclectic fashion world.

Chelsea boots

For me, this is an obvious one. I personally believe all men should own a boot of some kind, be it chukka, Chelsea or desert, all of them bringing a different element to the smart casual table. My favorite however is the Chelsea boot; an ankle high boot that’s elasticated at the sides to easily slip on and fit comfortably. Chelsea boots easily fit into this versatile style, again, as they come in a range of colors like brown, maroon, black and grey as well as different materials. Most commonly, suede and leather. Chelsea boots are the perfect smart and casual choice during the summer as well, and wearing a pair made of different materials like suede will bring in a different element to your wardrobe in means of texture style and comfort. Easily dressed up or down; please don’t make me say it again. All men need a pair of boots!


Warm, comfortable and a layer that adds depth and development to your outfit, knitwear is your jumpers, cardigans, pullovers, fleeces and anything else really that is woolen. Need something shapely and comfortable at work that’s not heavy like a suit BUT goes with your shirt and tie? Knitwear has you covered. V-neck jumpers and cardigans create stylish and comfortable looks for you that are sensible and work friendly, but for a more dressed down look knitwear has recently transitioned to the ‘oversize style’. Again, something more popular in young fashion is over sized jumpers and oversized or waterfall cardigans. And I won’t lie to you, I’ve been guilty myself of using a crew neck jumper as a one layer pullover before because they are much more casual and relaxed than their V-neck counterpart. Look at knitwear and you’ll see that one layer can make a large difference to the versatility of your outfit and take you from casual to smart in seconds.

Of course, these are just a few versatile clothing choices I’ve highlighted. Loafers, dress shirts with rolled up sleeves, even jeans thanks to their different fits can transition your style and help you to create looks that deviate easily between the smart and the casual. Style versatility is still something in men’s fashion that is being experimented with, so feel free to try new things out with your clothes. Some of our best and most versatile style choices come from experimenting with clothes.

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