Live Action Getup: Wear This to a Casual Summer Networking Event

Live Action Getup: Wear This to a Casual Summer Networking Event
Put-together, not dressed up. Light colors and an unstructured blazer lend polish to this smart casual summer combo.

For most of my life, I’ve passionately avoided networking events. Go to a thing and make small talk with strangers for two hours? Pass.

Here’s the thing: in the last few years I’ve started saying yes to select events and, more often than not, I end up making a casual acquaintance. These connections seldom lead to a deal or date in the short term but they almost always spin off into something unexpected later on, whether it’s a new friend, a great night out, a creative idea, or an introduction to a work connection.

So how do you dress for that? How do you dress for a networking event so that your outfit says, “I’m here because I’m open to whatever happens” instead of, “Please give me a job?”

That’s the inspiration for this Getup. I want this outfit to reflect the vibe you carry to a summer rooftop networking event: open, confident, and informal.

The Getup from Primer - men's outfit inspiration

jay butler olive loaferOrient bambinolevis 511jcrew ludlowabercrombie ocbdaj morgan castrofree business card templatesThe Getup from Primer - men's outfit inspiration

Take a look at the items. The faded oxford from Abercrombie and Fitch has a faded color that’s decidedly casual. The jeans are lighter (also casual), and loafers without socks are definitely casual.

But taken as a whole, it’s a very put together outfit.

Since form follows function, it also needs to be comfortable for warmer temps. The Cromwell loafer from Jay Butler is cooler-wearing and the light green suede works nicely with the green oxford.

Smart casual summer style inspiration for men - outfit ideas

Jacket: J.Crew Ludlow Stretch Cotton, $168 / Faded Oxford Shirt: Abercrombie & Fitch, $49 / Slim Jeans: Levi's 511, $42 / Watch (similar): Orient, $163 / Suede Loafers: Jay Butler, $195

The blazer was a no-brainer. We’ve highlighted J Crew’s unconstructed Ludlow blazer before in our What To Wear To Work When It’s Hot feature. It’s lightweight, stretch cotton, and completely unlined, and so perfect for summer.

Being unconstructed, it’s also ideal for dressing down with jeans because it doesn’t look like you’re wearing a suit jacket with jeans. Remember – blazers and suit jackets are cut different, with differing silhouettes, lining, length, and structure. Though it can be worn with the matching pants as a suit, the beauty of this jacket is it's feature make it more similar to the cotton blazer we regularly feature from Target.

The jeans are the Levi’s 511, a reliable standby with a consistent wash. No rips or crazy whiskers permit them to be worn with loafers and a blazer to satisfy the “smart” part of smart casual.

It’s worth noting that the 511s are slim fitting, and that’s important. Allow them to get too baggy and jeans with a blazer can look like a dad wearing his suit jacket with, well, dad jeans. Do what’s appropriate for your frame, but be mindful of your jeans cut to get a flattering silhouette.

men's summer smart casual networking event outfit

Jacket: J.Crew Ludlow Stretch Cotton, $168 / Faded Oxford Shirt: Abercrombie & Fitch, $49 / Slim Jeans: Levi's 511, $42 / Watch (similar): Orient, $163 / Suede Loafers: Jay Butler, $195

Now, you could do dress socks with this look but I prefer no-show socks – check out our picks for the best no-show style socks – they wear cooler in summer and also enable you to rock a tasteful amount of ankle when sitting or moving, which is appropriate for this time of year and the casual nature of the event. To that end, avoid a break in your jeans, meaning the pants should fall just below the ankle bone without rolling up on themselves

The watch is a vintage Timex that was my grandfather’s. I love it’s faded gold face, oyster-style look, and thin case. While this timepiece is one-of-a-kind, the Bambino from Orient has a similarly classic and timeless look to it.

vintage timex watch - men's fashion

Primer readers will recognize our favorite sunglasses under $13, the AJ Morgan Castro Rounds. They’re a fantastic low-cost option for rocking the classic round frame style and come with UV 400 coating. I recommend them in a lot of Getups because they’re almost universally flattering and fit a range of facial types. Not only that, I always get compliments on them which makes me feel like I've tricked everyone because they were $13.

cotton blazer green ocbd sunglasses men's summer fashion

Whatever your next casual summer event, I hope you take inspiration from this Getup – it’s a great way to show up and take you wherever the night develops.

Shop the Look

Jacket: J.Crew Ludlow Stretch Cotton, $168

Faded Oxford Shirt: Abercrombie & Fitch, $49

Slim Jeans: Levi's 511, $42

Watch (similar): Orient, $163

Suede Loafers: Jay Butler, $195

Like this Getup? Please share it!

Be sure to check out all of Primer's outfit inspiration in The Getup collection.

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.


  • Reply August 23, 2018


    Hi Andrew! Great choice just in time for an upcoming wedding. What color chinos or dress pants would you pair with this to make it slightly more formal/dress?

    • Reply August 23, 2018

      Zac Silk

      White, grey, (light to dark) stone/ tan and navy.

      Personally I think they’d work well with light grey as it’s not too overpowering with the green shirt.

  • Reply August 23, 2018

    Big O

    I gotta say…I’m loving the look! I’m with MKEstyle regarding his question on what color chinos can we wear with the upper body setup.

    • Reply August 23, 2018

      Justin Brown


  • Reply August 23, 2018

    Zac Silk

    Is defiantly see myself wearing a getup very similarly for this. I’ve been just donated my unstructured blazer as it had seen better days. I’ll defiantly be investing in a grey blazer for the fall.

    The jeans and suede loafers just compete the look. I’ve got a pair in a taupe suede that I wore recently, that worked well with jeans and a t shirt for a casual look.

  • Reply September 12, 2018

    Josh Houghton

    In a few weeks I have to head to a nice, beach resort in Mexico for a fun, relaxed, causal business trip and I have no idea what to wear. I’m new to fashion, 5’6, around 230 and the best store we have around here is JC penny. Any thoughts, posts or ideas for stuff to wear to give me ideas?

    • Reply September 12, 2018


      Absolutely! Check out our summer Getups:

      • Reply September 13, 2018

        Josh Houghton

        Thanks a ton Andrew. So nice of you to take the time to reply. Love your site and have been reading everything I can. I feel like Fashion is something that def takes some time to learn. Been working on losing weight as well. Down 15 pounds. And your site has provided a lot of great motivation so I can feel great and look great. Thanks brother!

        • Reply September 14, 2018


          Hey Josh, that’s so incredible to hear!!! Congratulations on all the hard work you’ve been doing and the progress you’ve seen! 🙂

  • Reply September 26, 2018


    Great Getup once again. Its nice to see this Ludlow Blazer now be offered in a full suit just in case you want to take this outfit a step further towards formal. I was wondering if this blazer would be able to be worn throughout the year or what the most versatile type of blazer/suit would be. I know the Navy suit is king but for some reason the varying navy’s push me towards a charcoal or grey suit preference.

    • Reply October 2, 2018


      Thanks Ross! Yes, absolutely it can be worn throughout the year. I personally prefer grays over navys.

  • Reply January 29, 2019

    Joshua Michael

    Thoughts on dressing this down with a dark tshirt for casual airport travel?

    • Reply January 29, 2019


      Would work! From a practical standpoint, why bother with the blazer if you’re going to wear a t-shirt in an airport? Just go with a sweater, etc.

Leave a Reply