Mastering the Art of Semi Formal Attire for Men

A Guide To Men's Semi-Formal Attire With SUAVE OWL


Do you find semi-formal outfits difficult to achieve? Do you feel too over-dressed or too under dressed? Don’t panic. The perfect smart casual outfits for men can be easily achieved with just a few easy to learn steps. To master the art of semi-formal attire, and find the best men’s semi-formal attire for you, read on…



How To Dress Men's Smart Casual?


The smart casual, or semi-formal, dress code is a halfway stop between your everyday items and the finest pieces in your wardrobe. Ideally, you want your outfit to fall perfectly in the middle or be an equal blend of both casual and formal pieces.


Model wears a white T-shirt with a blue waistcoat for a smart casual men's outfit.

Miami Sky Blue Waistcoat, SUAVE OWL White T-shirt 



The first step towards your mastering of semi-formal attire is to consider what you like and dislike wearing. For example, do you enjoy wearing suit trousers? Do you find a waistcoat too constricting? Do you find t-shirts comfortable and often wear them? Do you not enjoy wearing jeans or chinos? Do you have a favourite piece of clothing, either casual or formal? Consider how you like to dress when you wear casual clothes or formal attire. After you know your preferences, you can start to imagine how a blend of casual and formal would ideally look for you.



Since semi-formal men’s attire is all about blending together casual and formal, assembling an outfit using your clothing preference is as easy as balancing them out. If you’ve chosen a favourite piece or two of formalwear, you need to find out which casualwear works well with them. If you’ve chosen casualwear, you need to do the same with formal attire. It all comes down to the blend of the items, making sure you have equal amounts of casual and formal.


Co-founder Tony in smart casual outfit with navy suit jacket.

Smart Casual Jenson Suit & Chino


You may not know exactly how to mix and match your semi-formal men’s outfit. That’s where we come in…


Smart Casual Jacket Outfit Ideas


For fans of the suit jacket, you have plenty of options. For a simple yet effective ensemble, try wearing your favourite suit jacket, a formal shirt, neutral-coloured chinos, and either trainers or brogues. This certainly plays on the more formal side; however the chinos help relax the outfit and relax the wearer. After you try this outfit once, it will become a go-to semi-formal attire outfit in your wardrobe - it works well for work or pleasure.

Smart casual outfit with suit jacket worn by model.

Sam's Semi-Formal Outfit


 Another option you have is wearing your jacket, matching suit trousers, a T-shirt and trainers. This slightly more unique men’s semi-formal attire makes an impression and isn’t something you see every day. Perfect for the gentleman who hates a formal shirt or brogues and likes to feel casual while looking their best.


Tony in summer evening smart casual outfit for men.

Tony's Summer Evening Casual Look


Smart Casual Waistcoat Outfit Ideas


For semi-formal men’s attire you don’t always see, making your waistcoat the star of the show is a great way to stand out.


Men's smart casual outfit with waistcoat on streets of Bath

 Elwood Double-Breasted Waistcoat, SUAVE OWL White Shirt, Ultraflex Black Jeans



While there is a world of outfits to try, if you want to keep it simple try wearing your waistcoat on top of a SUAVE OWL formal shirt with the sleeves rolled to the elbow. Add your favourite chinos or suit trousers with a pair of brogues and you have a winning look. Stand out in a smart casual style that keeps you comfortable.


Smart Casual Suit Trousers Outfit Ideas


You can have plenty of styling fun just using suit trousers for smart casual outfits. The smart silhouette on your lower half means you can relax the upper half, leading to plenty of choice.



Wear your suit trousers with your favourite brogues and a formal shirt for a simple yet effective combination. This look flatters but keeps you firmly on the smart side of smart casual men’s attire.


SUAVE OWL White shirt worn with Ted trousers for a smart casual outfit for men.

Ted TrousersSUAVE OWL White ShirtPlain Twill Tie & Pocketsquare Set


However, you can relax the look even further. You could wear suit trousers with a short-sleeve button up and braces. You could also wear your suit trousers with a smart T-shirt or polo shirt. In all of these, you could even consider swapping your brogues for your smartest trainers. The decision is completely yours.



When you’ve considered your jacket, waistcoat, and trouser outfit combinations, you should have a few that appeal to you. However, how do you make these combinations look their best? 


How To Keep Semi-Casual Outfits Smart?


Firstly, keep your colours consistent. If one piece of clothing you’re wearing is a vivid colour, make sure you pair it with neutrals and perhaps even a pop of the same colour in a lighter shade. This is simple to achieve with some trial and error. To make it simple for yourself, take your most vivid colour, wear one pop of the same colour in a different shade or a complimentary more muted colour, and match it with a neutral shade of black, white, navy or tan. Additionally, you can make your belt and your shoes match in colour for help in your colour consistency. Once you’ve experimented with colour a few times and looked at some style inspiration, balancing colours becomes an easy yet key skill you can use for every outfit.


Navy smart casual men's outfit with pop of colour.

Tony's Smart Casual Autumn Look


Secondly, keep it clean. This doesn’t just mean not wearing T-shirts with profanity on. Make sure that all your clothing is well-washed and ironed. You don’t want to be wearing your most expensive shoes and jackets on top of a shirt that’s wrinkled. To keep your outfit and your look at the best quality possible, make sure it is clean.



Thirdly, make sure it fits well. An outfit that fits well will achieve a better silhouette and overall look. An outfit that fits badly will either hang off you, adding bulk, or constrict you. Take the extra step of ensuring all your clothes fit well for the best possible men’s semi-formal attire.


Co-founder Tony wearing men's smart casual evening outfit.

Smart Casual Evening Look


Finding The Best Men's Semi Formal Outfit For You


To get the best out of your semi-formal men’s attire, you need to blend casual and formal items, prioritising those that are favourites. An equal blend of formal and casual is an easy starting point, as are the above outfits. You also need to make sure your outfit fits will, is ironed, is clean, and makes sense with colour scheme. There’s a wide range of outfit styling you can try, the best thing to do now is to try some out and see what you like.



For further outfit inspiration, check out Real Men Real Style’s Men’s Dress Code Guide or our InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and TikTok! You can also read our Real Men Real Style’s Men’s Dress Code Guide for information about finding the right suit and suit fit for you.


Smart casual winter outfit for men with suit jacket, chinos, and a quarter-zip jumper.

Winter Smart Casual Outfit



Feel at your upmost confidence in the best outfit for you, and keep it simple yet significant with SUAVE OWL.


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