Dress code has always been an important component of our work and personal lives – as it signals the type of event or activity we’re engaged in. Whenever we get an invitation to something, the dress code is clearly stated and signals to us the expectation that we’re expected to uphold. It defines the rules of engagement, if you will.
This clear demarcation, combined with the natural differences in functionality, has created a clear divide between clothing that is formal in nature and clothing that is worn in casual settings. For the most part, the distinction here is stark and they are separated for a reason. But these boundaries have been blurring over the last couple of years in men’s fashion and people are starting to experiment with bits of both. Is it possible to blend formal items with casual ones? Is it possible to get the best out of both worlds?
Well, we’re here to tell you that it is. And we’re here to tell you how you can pull it off.
Wear a blazer with denim.
Another interesting mix of the two styles is to wear a formal blazer over a denim jacket which gives you an interesting layering of two types of clothing for a very unique style. You can wear a collared shirt underneath the denim jacket if you want and you arrive at what approximates a denim waistcoat and creates a look that blends the two dress codes in a very sleek way. It’s important here that the denim jacket is tightly fitted here so it doesn’t get too bulky, but if you get this right it can be a really bold and confident looking overall get-up.
Alternatively you can mix it up the other way by wearing a suit jacket and some denim jeans. This is a very common mix of formal and casual and provides a subtle touch that still leaves you looking very put together. The jeans should be dark if possible and well-fitted, in order to bring out the suit jacket in all its glory. Cap it off with some smart sneakers or even some loafers, and you’ve got a perfect balance of work and play.
Wear a t-shirt under your suit.
The suit has always been a staple of formal wear and it’s typically accompanied with a collared shirt and a tie of some sort to complete the look. However, those times are changing are we are seeing a lot more people add a casual flair to a suit by wearing a well-fitted t-shirt underneath the jacket. This immediately adds a playful element to a traditionally serious outfit and creates an entirely new ambience altogether.
The key to pulling this off successfully is to have a suit that fits you very well and one that is ideally on the skinnier side. This means that it can retain its sophistication and let the shirt shine from underneath. When it comes to the t-shirt, ideally you’re looking for something of a neutral tone if you’re leaning towards the formal side, and a bright color that contrasts with the suit if you want it to be more casual.
Wear sneakers with your suit.
A suit is typically completed with a set of well-designed dress shoes but thanks to a huge influx of athletic-inspired fashion into the culture – it’s now become a mainstream trend to wear a suit with a pair of sneakers. This blends the formal nature of the suit with the more urban vibe of the sneakers. This mix opens up a whole new range of possibilities for sneaker lovers who can now show off their kicks in a sophisticated and elegant way. In addition, the contrast you can have, especially with fresh white sneakers, is a really eye-catching alternative to a suit that is typically quite subtle in nature.
To pull this off, you want to make sure your sneakers are relatively minimalistic. You don’t want them to be so chunky that they steal all the attention and overshadow the outfit as a whole. Instead, you’re looking for something that can provide balance to the outfit, giving it a taste of casual flair but still staying true to the suit’s traditional form.
Wear shorts and loafers with your suit.
You can take things one step further and get rid of the long pants altogether, instead opting for a tailored pair of shorts and some loafers. This combination provides the most visually obvious blend of formal and casual wear, but it remains remarkably sophisticated as long as your shorts and shoes are well selected. You want to be sure that your shorts are ending just above the knee and that the suit jacket that you wear is a separate piece and color to provide some contrast. The loafers should be sleek and neutral to finish off the look.
This particular outfit screams summer and is a great way to play with the boundaries that typically demarcate dress codes. It feels like a holiday look and when we’re all working from home, why not go for it ?
So, those are just a few suggestions as to how you could mix and match formal and casual wear. When you open your eyes to just what can be accomplished by blurring these boundaries, you’ll realise that there is an incredible range of looks that open themselves up to you. You could almost see it as a whole new dress code on its own and it will certainly make you stand out, that’s for sure.
If you’re looking to find some items to pull off these looks, be sure to check out Black Variety where we have a wide range of premium looks for you to choose from. We’re passionate about delivering sleek and sophisticated men’s fashion at a price that doesn’t break the bank and we are very much in favor of mixing these styles. Whether you’re looking for suits, shirts, denim pieces, or loafers – we’ve got you covered! Come check out our range, you won’t be disappointed.