Brought to you by ThoughtShift


When it comes to a dress code, no two words will ever invoke as much fear into the heart of a man as ‘smart casual’.

Let’s firstly ignore the fact that smart casual is an oxymoron (but, really, on the grounds that it doesn’t make any sense in the first place, the term should be disregarded). In dress codes, as in all things, clear and simple is best. We’ve seen how great Scaramouche & Fandango’s range of no-nonsense men’s toiletries are, now let’s bring some clarity to apparel.

Event hosting people, if you want your guests in suits and ties, the dress code is “formal”, for t-shirts and jeans, it’s “casual” all the way. But if you want the uncertain fashion dimension between suits and t-shirts, then the only real description of such an outfit is not “smart casual”, it is “the Gosling.” As proven with a simple image search, the Gosling is a casual shirt or t-shirt, smart tailored jeans and an optional blazer.

The Plot Thickens

Now parties are just parties — so turning up in the wrong clothing can be styled out, but work is a different story and one that has become more complex as the lines of business attire have become ever more blurred.

Imagine this, because one day soon it will happen to you: it’s the day of your interview. You double check the invitation one more time before you leave the house. Your eyes meet the words ‘dress code’. It’s … business casual?

You didn’t anticipate this. Are you over dressed or under dressed? Is it time to burn your whole wardrobe? Looks like you might be ‘ill’ for today’s interview. How could It come to this?

Well…are you sitting comfortably?

The Noughties

Touch down in bland town.

Black suit and tie. Y2K may have come in with a bang, but this was not the decade of interesting office clothing. Things are safe, uninteresting and sensible. The skinny tie wormed its way into everyday life and has remained the benchmark for all other work ties ever since.

Enter, the Gosling (or smart casual if you still insist). Tech start-ups and media companies adopted the trend and it’s stayed that way ever since. No one ever really defined what was acceptable. It just… happened. Grey suits became grey hoodies and everyone was confused.

Lurking in the cracks was business casual, allowing big corporates to talk to tech-dudes like they were almost the same. Business casual will usually consist of a work shirt (on rare occasion a polo will suffice), suit trousers or chinos with the option of a tie. Here’s the kicker, business casual allows for a far freer range of colours. Hence, the casual. The main difference between business casual and the Gosling? Jeans.

Jeans are simply not allowed in business casual, any attempt to wear them will result in your exclusion from office politics and coffee break chit-chat. No-one wants that!

Men – rest assured your dad felt and continues to feel the same way you do now; office fashion is terrifying. If you’re ever short of a gift idea next time his birthday comes around, engraved cufflinks would be a pretty great personalised gifts. They’re always the last thing a bloke remembers, and we’re always left with the embarrassing Lego one’s mum got us for prom back in Year 11. Thank us later.

Welcome to Today

The Gosling reigns. Any company with a formal dress code isn’t worth your time. It’s the harsh truth men, we either embrace the smart casual of today, or step out of our comfort zone into a world of uncharted territory.

What does the future hold?

Wearable tech? Light up shoes? Will tracksuit bottoms be a thing?

Your guess is as good as mine. It might be a fashion utopia; we’ll finally start calling smart casual what it really is. Maybe everyone will wear a wireless headset and anyone wearing a hat will be fired on the spot (quite rightly if you ask me).

Smart watches and virtual reality will take centre stage, maybe we won’t even work in an office altogether – perhaps we’ll all simply sit in an empty square room waving at holograms and talking to ourselves in plain white jumpsuits.

The future has the potential to be really exciting, but realistically we expect it’s going to be very safe. Maybe even dull. Because which is more likely – you going out and buying exciting new clothes, or you continuing to shop at the same places you shopped at since you were a teen? You’ve only just gotten used to the haircut you got five years ago, you can’t fathom a world of unorthodox fashion choices.

Looks like we won’t have to learn to use the iron after all!

Once again, I want to thank the guys over at ThoughtShift for writing this post! I struggle with knowing the boundaries of ‘smart casual’, I think i’ll be adopting ‘the Gosling’ going forward!

Make sure you check out ThoughtShift’s website here. Also follow them on Twitter! @ThoughtShiftUK

What’s your favourite grooming tip? Let me know in the comments below.



Let me know your thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.