Ever since the dawn of time (or at least the dawn of invitations), the phrase ‘smart casual’ has invoked trepidation in the hearts of most men. The decree is applied to nearly every social engagement, yet its definition remains unclear. Are trainers acceptable with chinos? Is a polo shirt too informal? Will tracksuit bottoms work with a blazer? OK, maybe not the last one, but finding the right balance can be tough.
Thankfully, high-street suit specialist Austin Reed has taken it upon itself to solve this sartorial conundrum once and for all. And, as you can see from the exclusive image above, the results are hugely encouraging.
Building on the huge popularity of its Red Formal range, the retail giant is set to launch Red Casual later this month. Featuring sheened denim shirts, cotton puppy-tooth trousers and some devilishly dapper chinos and scarves, the collection offers a fresh, sophisticated take on the traditional casualwear staples. There are even city shorts, available in alternative lengths, to herald the distant approach of warmer weather.
Aside from the general sleekness of the pieces, however, it’s the minor details that make Red Casual truly stand out. Floral-lined cuffs and gingham collars adorn slim-fit shirts, and frustrated geography teachers will be pleased to learn the camel linen herringbone jacket even boasts stylish elbow patches.
And most excitingly, the collection won’t break the bank. A textured plain shirt will set you back just £65, while the navy cotton jacket comes in at £225. A welcome treat for both your wardrobe and your wallet.