Spending time with relatives – whether yours or your partner’s – always ups the outfit ante a little bit. From a Mother’s Day brunch to a weekend visit, it’s a balancing act between looking pulled together without being overdressed, all while maintaining comfort.
Luckily, if you’ve got a good arsenal of smart casual pieces available, you can put together a look that says “smart and successful” and not “I packed my favorite band t-shirt”. Here, I’ve intentionally chosen items that are each a bit more rugged and substantial, which tends to skew pieces more casual.
Like field coats and trucker jackets, the chore coat is a practical item whose utilitarian roots are perfectly suited to roughing up a slightly dressier look. In thick, stonewashed canvas, this affordable yet durable layer imparts some classic Americana style.
Although a collared shirt under a sweater is typically workplace attire, the thicker, heartier textures keep everything appropriate for an informal family gathering, while the complementary palette of blues and earth tones prevents it from looking TOO casual. This merino wool sweater is a great “Goldilocks” piece — the heavier weave makes it more casual than a more finely knit cashmere sweater, but it’s definitely a step up from a fleece pullover or sweatshirt.
Like the chore coat, the chambray button up shirt has its origins in workwear. While the durable yet comfortable chambray isn’t as stiff as a twill work shirt, it’s less dressy than your typical crisp poplin collared option.
Against the chunky texture of the sweater and the heavy canvas of the chore coat, the slim, tailored pants continue to keep things balanced. I chose a stretch twill pair, which give the visual impression of chinos, but have the stretch, cut, and comfort of your favorite jeans. (Check out the pockets — instead the slanted side pockets you’d find on a pair of chinos, the styling echos classic denim tailoring). Not as dressy as black pants, nor as casual as jeans, the medium olive khaki pairs tonally with the blues of the sweater, shirt, and jacket, and the brown leather boots.
Get the Look
Chore coat: Amazon, $50
Merino birdseye sweater: Amazon, $43
Chambray shirt: Banana Republic, $79, budget: Amazon, $30
Slim twill pants: Flint & Tinder, $89
Full grain leather boots: Wolverine, $285
Watch: Citizen, $83 (similar)