Opt For Interesting Layers
“Most people think you have to wear a collared shirt, but really anything goes—including tank tops, polos, and athletic shirts,” says Brian Boye, Men’s Health executive fashion and grooming director.
We also love the look of something unexpected: Wear a cool concert tee, chambray shirt, or flannel for a more unique new look that’s not too far outside your comfort zone.
Men’s Health fashion and grooming director Sandra Nygaard recommends avoiding white tees. They might be mistaken for your undershirt, she explains.
Avoid pastels at all costs, too. “Don Johnson called,” says Nygaard. “He wants his T-shirts back.”
Go Casual On Your Bottom Half
When in doubt, make dark slim-fit denim your go-to for bottoms. Want to really make the look your own? Opt for a distressed or faded variety. You can achieve the same effect with cool fitted sweatpants, like these office-friendly sweats.
The juxtaposition—casual bottoms with a more formal blazer—looks irreverent, says Nygaard.
Shop For an Unlined Sport Coat
More traditional fits will have a stiff structure and fitted shoulders, which makes them look formal. Go for an unlined (or “unstructured”) coat.
“By default, these are more casual,” Nygaard says. “It feels as light as a sweater—and you can treat it that way.”
We like this one ($400, bonobos.com) for fall.
Choose Great-Fitting Options
For laid-back vibes, layer a sport coat over a T-shirt and jeans. Think tailored and fitted, not oversized and baggy.
“Any pant you pair with a sport coat should fit like a dress pant would,” Nygaard says.
Look for a slim-fit denim, and steer clear of light washes. We like these J. Crew slim jeans ($125, j.crew.com). Add a high-quality tee ($70, mrporter.com) to keep your outfit casual without looking like you just rolled out of bed.
Skip the Dress Shoes
If you’re a style risk-taker, pair your sport coat with a colored trouser or casual sneakers instead of dress shoes.
These deep red, lightweight chinos ($90, clubmonaco.com) work best with a chambray shirt or white button-down.
Clean, sleek shoes—like these classic Stan Smith Adidas ($75, adidas.com)—really make your whole look pop. They’ll infuse your look with equal parts style, attitude, and playfulness. Plus, unless you have dress shoes that feel like sneakers, they’re more comfortable than any shoes you’d normally wear with a sport coat.
Use Accessories to Stand Out
Your accessories tell people that you pay attention to detail. Use your sport coat as a safe, solid background for an eye-popping tie or pocket square.
Pick one or two pieces in the same solid color scheme, like Denny Balmaceda’s textured pocket square and bright-red tie. Or choose a patterned square like this one from Penrose London ($90, barneys.com).
Play With Colors and Patterns
Want a stylish yet subtle way to stand out? Dress in one color and focus on combining different textures instead colors. Gray is modern and neutral, and softer than an all-black outfit.
If you prefer not to go the monochrome route, divert your attention to patterns. A smooth navy or black sport coat looks inherently dressy, but one with a pattern or a light texture is easier to dress down.
We like this houndstooth one ($120, mango.com); the textured pattern is playful, which makes it easy to wear in a casual setting—somewhere a stiff, dark coat looks out of place.
Tags: sport coatstyle guide