Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Smart casual and the eye of the beholder

Lunch today with fellow author Heather Townsend, whose book the FT Guide to Business Networking is coming out in a couple of months. My lightweight linen jacket is off to the cleaners so I was wearing a Marks and Sparks blazer, which we agreed was ridging terribly across my back so I'm more determined than ever to keep buying tailored stuff (you reach a certain shape it's just better, and not always as expensive as people think).

But we got to talking about the dreaded smart/casual conundrum so many blokes go through. What does it mean? She knew one guy who had loads of jeans for knocking about in and being really casual and some pretty decent suits, but he was a bit bewildered by what should come in the middle.

My instinct - non-denim jeans or chinos, blazer or some sort of smart-ish jacket but keeping to separates anyway, tends to keep me out of trouble. And I avoid cutaway shirts when I'm going for the open necked look - cutaways always look like they're missing a tie, as that's how they're designed.

I'm a little concerned, though, that the jeans-and-jacket combo makes me look like a fat Jeremy Clarkson. What's everyone else do?

Tailoring links:

A Suit that Fits (sponsored link)
King and Allen (not a sponsored link at all, I get nothing whether you click or not)


  1. Thanks for some great company today Guy. My husband's solution is to ditch the denim (yeah), and we have casual (but smartish shirt) + chinos with either a very nice leather jacket or a beize jacket.

  2. A fat Jeremy Clarkson? Surely not.

    I tend to black jeans with a blue shirt from Lewins (pleasingly the slimfit suits be better as I have broad shoulders and a narrow, albeit expanding, waist). Jacket is a tailored blue or tan jacket, but both are getting old, and I need to replace them. Not sure what with ye.


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