What are smart casual shoes?

Nobody ever said that smart casual shoes are easy to find! Getting ready for a smart casual event is usually the most stressful part of the entire ordeal. You want to look your best, but you don't want to break the dress code. There's a thin line between what's too casual and what's too formal. Smart casual is that happy medium that we're all striving for. But what does it really mean? Now, this is when it gets a little complicated. To understand what smart casual shoes really are, we have to take a closer look at the history of the term "smart-casual."

The smart casual fashion of the past

In 1924, the term "smart casual" was used for the very first time, at least in writing. With this newly made-up term, the fashion writer attempted to describe a sleeveless dress that could be worn at work and casually at the supermarket.

Later, in the 1950s, "smart casual" mainly described more relaxed suits for men. These smart-casual suits could be worn for nearly every occasion and didn't look too formal. Of course, the term "smart casual" evolved over the next 30 years. What we know now as smart casual truly came to being in the 1980s. It was then that, for many jobs, less formal clothing was finally acceptable. You wouldn't get fired for not wearing a tie anymore.

What does smart casual mean?

OK, now we can attempt to define what smart casual actually means. As you probably noticed, most events, even formal ones, no longer have very specific clothing rules. Even weddings are often more relaxed when it comes to what you can and cannot wear.

Smart casual can mean that you slightly stand out from the crowd, but you don't look like you're trying too hard. Smart casual means that there are no rules, which is why it is so difficult to define. In terms of shoes, it can mean that you take a more fashionable approach. But you don't go full out with the latest trends. Smart casual shoes can be an upgrade from your daily sneakers, but they're not as formal as dress shoes. It all depends on your personal preferences.

If you go for a more casual appearance in clothing, you can get away with "real" dress shoes and still create a smart casual look. If you are still not certain, this little piece of advice might be helpful; it's always better to overdress slightly than to underdress. It shows that you care about the event and took some time to think about your outfit.

The Smart Casual Shoe Guide

Smart casual shoes can be sporty and elegant at the same time. For example, consider Kenneth Cole Nio Wings casual dress shoes.

Smart casual nio wing dress shoes

With a pair of chinos and a navy blazer, they're the perfect choice for a smart-casual job interview or a first date. Because of the white sole and black upper, they create a contrast that makes them stand out, but not in a too flashy way. The shoes are versatile and can also be worn with jeans for a more relaxed look.

Now let's take a look at the timeless Cheer Lace Up dress shoes.

Cheer Lace Up Dress Shoes

They look incredibly classy, don't they? Now imagine wearing them with a pair of jeans and a white shirt. Add a leather jacket to finish off the look. The jeans make the outfit more casual, while the shoes elevate it.

Keep in mind that what smart-casual shoes really are is up to interpretation. Some people might see them as the perfect mix between sneakers and dress shoes. Shoes such as the Un-Achor Loafer or Captain Sneaker Boots can make a smart-casual statement if you pick the right outfit to go along with them.


Smart-casual Captain Boots

It's also important to think about what makes you feel comfortable. If you feel good in your Kenneth Cole Oxford Tully dress shoes, you will look good in them too.


Tully Smart Casual Dress Shoes

On the other hand, if you prefer smart-looking sneakers like the Unlisted Stands C Sneaker, that's what you should go for.


Smart casual sneaker

The most important thing is that you feel like you. After all, smart-casual is all about feeling comfortable in what you're wearing and not adhering to any specific rules. So experiment a little and find what works for you. And remember, smart-casual shoes are the perfect accessory to elevate your own personal style.