Thursday, 1 September 2011

Dress Code: [Not so] Smart Casual

Note from Author:
I’m sorry for the tardiness of my monthly MenWTW style-bluster.  My brain (once described as a cognitive equivalent of a ping pong match) has had all its think-action directed exclusively into the  ‘booze and bad men’ region of my noggin (I know; Im alienating you with my medical-babble).  Result: Cass has felt less inspired than a kid shaking the ‘2 large pizzas and a 1.25 Coke $16.98’ sign on the side of the highway.  However, like a phoenix…or maybe a delusional chook (giving that whole flying thing a bit of a bash) I have risen again and am ready to redirect my misguided foci now upon ‘dressing’ men (instead of the opposite).


You may have already realised this about your dearest blogger; but (being the ‘Mistress of Seeing-past-the-really-rather-icky-exterior’) I often find it very difficult to find fault with the way men look.  Yes, it’s all about what’s ‘beneath’ that superficial fashion-drapery that is truly important to me (ie pecs, biceps, careful nether-region grooming…).  However, fortunately I have a few really shallow friends who help to redirect my focus upon the exterior so I am able to explore in this blog how clueless some men look (phew!).  It was one of these pals; a certain rather stylish friend and fellow-blogger(1) who reminded me of one thing in particular that men tend to really fuck-up…in a clothing sense that is (she is my consultant in this specialised-field of style-fuck-ups i.e. I have a vast selection of other women who keep me informed in all the other themes of masculine-fuck-up-ed-ness).   This specific men’s-fashion faux pa I will discuss is repeated time and time again when event organisers fatefully decide the ‘occasion’ requires its attendees to be in ‘Smart Casual’

Smart-casual (SC): the concept may seem like the greatest oxy-moron since the birth of  ‘airplane food’ and to be quite honest most guys look like (oxy)-freaking-morons when they give this dress-code a bit of a go.  However, nailing SC shouldn’t be this hard.  You just need to pull your fashion-finger out (or ‘off’ the remote) and put a little thought/planning into your SC ensemble (yes; ‘planning’.  I have a dream of my MenWTW peeps carefully laying out their outfits for the next day…or at least allowing their girlfriend to do it).  Follow some MenWTW counsel and the smart-casual brief might be fulfilled with a little more creativity than that radical move to wear your work-shirt open at the collar. 

I think why men’s SC looks tend to be so très fucking-‘yawn’ is because you are approaching this dress-concept with some sort of semiotic deconstruction that would make even Noam Chomsky a tad turned-on.  You have attempted to decipher this annoying social convention (most likely formed in the mind of some cruel fashionista/sadist(2)) by taking your traditional ‘smart’ look  (e.g. work, funerals, weddings), then throwing 30-40% ‘casual’ at it…voila!  Yes; so rational!  Sigh…but alas; FAIL.  Unfortunately fashion doesn’t work like that.  Fashion is an elusive and rather insane mistress who just when you think you have her figured-out; turns around and knees you in the balls (because you said that her ‘booty is banging’ i.e. you like girls with 'something you can hold on to..' etc). 

Smart-casual is not just your work/wedding suit: unironed; without the tie and/or barefoot i.e. the work/wedding look after 7 beers.  Rather than seeing SC as a slack deviation of ‘smart’(conservative), it should be approached from the opposite direction and apply a ‘neat/spiffy’ twist on your everyday cool.  Smart-casual is your opportunity to present a tidy-respectable look with a very hip, INDIVIDUAL edge. 

I will admit that I don’t mind the odd-spot of word-smithery and a 1000 word minimum seems to be my self-imposed quota for most written activities.   I don’t think I have ever gifted a birthday card that features anything less than Jackson Pollock-esque frenzy with a ballpoint pen on the inside.  However, as a bit of reprieve from the stigmatism I bring on every month with my gratuitous spouting  I am going to illustrate my point of what is wrong (and right) in Smart-casualness with some pictures! 


Smart casual is not just your work-suit without and tie. 
And please never wear this suit to work...or throw your coat
over your shoulder or stand with your hand on your hip,
or smile like this....etc, etc. 

These pants with pleats/darts in the front are revolting.   Also, SC doesn't mean you need to wear beige/pale hues ie Mr freaking Generic.  Also, the 'smart' bit of smart-casual doesnt demand that you need to tuck your shirt in.  Choose a tailored, slim-line shirts and wear them out. 


You don't have to wear a dress shirt for
smart-casual.   Try neat polo; I love a bit of prep!

Smart-casual doesn't mean you have to
instantly dump the jacket.  Suits have moved
out of the workplace and are now something
that you can wear everyday including as SC-wear.  Choose a slim-cut suit in a colour other than grey!  If you choose to lose the tie (to casual the outfit down)then promise me you'll still button to the collar...please.

A chambray shirt isn't completely off the mark
this season, but a denim shirt looks a bit
more individual and edgier.  Note the flat-
fronted trousers ie no totally gross pleats/darts.
A short-sleeve shirt can be smarted up
by buttoning it to the collar.  Fine gingham check is happening this spring.

A shmick suit is chilled-out a bit by
rolling up the sleeves and loosening
the collar.  This bad boy is about
to step off the catwalk and straight
into a pub-brawl.

(2) In fact Smartcasual was actually born out of the 1980’s S&M club-scene before it moved into the mainstream ‘work function’ etc context. True. I swear on the life of your favourite worn-in thongs (flipflops).


  1. Why don't you shut up and focus on women's wear you twat. I think men can decide on what to wear as we have been doing for thousands of years

    1. You are an idiot. And I did not wrote the article. That is all you need to know.
      Your Sc Jirka

  2. All of those "wins" look stupid and would be inappropriate for most events where the dress code states smart casual.

  3. Is this your personal taste or what??

  4. I love how you call your friends super shallow, and your idea of depth is a guys muscles and how his pubis is kept. Ahaha

  5. Actually I find your taste OK and agree with the statements in the post. Don't pay any attention to the ruder part of the Anonymous internet, they are the id of the internet haha

  6. i think the fail parts are your own fails, i see nothing wrong with them

  7. Such an annoying article... You don't understand men even a bit. I am sure you are single and will always be...

  8. I think most people would be fired if they ever wore your "wins" to work. This might be the in thing in high school though.

  9. You have confused "business casual" with "hipster douchebag". Be proud, GQ has made the same mistake. Of course, one must adapt one's dress and manner to the standards of the chosen industry, and if one is applying for a position directly under the manager of a gay bar, this fashion statement will serve one well.

  10. If I rocked up to work wearing slippers with a suit or a denim shirt and red trousers i'd be asked to leave. I'm pretty sure nobody wears these cloths to work.

  11. Ermmmm no, I do not think you can claim there is anything smart about dressing like a homeless teenager. Top button done up without a tie = Skinny child trying to act gay, without the panache.

    Black jeans and brown shoes. Really? And what is with the Shawshank extra with the braces.

    Fashion is so poo that it needs to be changed every season.

  12. Wow. You are delusional and have really bad taste.

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