Scores of articles have helped women dress for those not-quite-casual occasions, but for a man to master the art of casual chic, he probably need not stress too much. It begins with an understanding of the term and how to figure out just what casual chic means for men.
Major newspapers, men's magazines and other designers credit Giorgio Armani for both the style and the term. “The essence of style,” Armani said in a 2004 article in "The Guardian," "is a simple way of saying something complex.”
Most of what a man needs for a night on the town or the perfect date attire is a matter of pairing the correct choices from an already existing wardrobe. The first suggestion is choosing what you can't live without. If it's the jeans, that's OK. A darker, dressier denim in good condition is a great choice, however. It's a good idea to put jeans with a dressier top, be it a good quality sweater or a button-down shirt.
The trick is to find a style that doesn't go overboard. If it's slacks, you might want to "down" the top, or you could risk being too dressy. Experts choose to pair those slacks with a polo-style shirt to get that casual look. Many choose to pull out a sport coat to complete the look.
Fashionistas warn that every detail should both be paid attention to and look effortless, a style Armani is known for since he dressed Richard Gere years ago in the movie “American Gigolo.” It's a good choice to say "no" to tennis shoes in favor of something a bit dressier. Most say dress shoes prevail in cooler temperatures, while good sandals are perfectly acceptable in warmer temperatures.
Casual chic is actually a less expensive option than other clothing styles. Choosing neutral colors broadens choices because it allows for the most versatility in an existing wardrobe. Accessories give you the chance to put your personal style and splashes of color into the mix to spice up your outfit. A good rule of thumb is to choose quality over quantity every time.
Accessories are the cornerstone for any fashionable outfit. Accessorizing need not be difficult or overdone, but it works great when it's a splash of color from a handkerchief or a flash of one good piece of jewelry. If you're feeling edgy and bold, hats will differentiate you and your personal style. It's a good idea to leave that baseball cap out of your options, however. Instead, season specific ones; straw for spring and summer is a good selection.
State of Mind
Finally, attitude, while not tangible, shows through when you dress for that special occasion. Experts recommend applying a simple attitude shift when you decide what to wear. “To have none of that self-consciousness or stage fright normally associated with dress” is what Suzie Mackenzie wrote about Armani's casual style and how it translates to everyday life. Armani and other designers believe it's a combination of both effortlessness and sexiness. So it's a good idea to factor in the cool, collected state of mind, no matter what the season.