Figuring out how to dress casually but nice can be challenging. By focusing on the quality of fabric and design and the details of accessorizing, it is possible to come off looking relaxed yet polished without being dressed up.
Buy some new clothes, which are key to looking casual but nice. Old, stretched out, faded, torn, or ripped clothing will make you look casual, but you won't look nice.
Purchase a nice pair of jeans if you don't already have one. Ask someone in the shop to help you figure out what jeans are in style at the moment and what fit is best for your body shape.
Pick out a T-shirt that has some silk-screened print on it, or a solid colored T-shirt if you're planning to accessorize further. The T-shirt material should not be see-through, and it should be pleasant to the touch and appear to wear well.
Find a fitted blazer. Pairing this with a printed T-shirt and jeans will make you look like you're aware of your appearance but not trying too hard. A grandpa-styled cardigan with an over-sized collar, buttons, or pockets would also pair nicely and make you look casual.
Shoes are an essential part of looking casual but nice. Fly's leather sneakers will make you look dressed down while still looking good, though a pair of ballet flats would have a similar effect.
Pick one type of accessory that you really like: a scarf, long beaded necklace, cuff bracelet, or large earrings. Pick a color that contrasts with what you're wearing to look more casual.
Buy new clothes, which are essential to dressing casually but nice. It's possible to buy clothes that are already distressed, meaning they look worn, but are still new and will fit well.
Purchase a short jacket that stands out: a leather bomber jacket, or a fabric jacket with some kind of detailing on it will make you look instantly cool, casual, and put together. Diesel and G-Star are two brands that offer many men's jackets of this ilk.
Pick out some new T-shirts with silk-screening on them. Just as with women, a printed T-shirt paired with a dark, contrasting jacket and jeans is essential to dressing casually but nice.
Buy a new pair of jeans, and try to spend more than you're used to, especially if you typically purchase jeans in the $50 range. More expensive jeans generally fit better.
Pick out nice accessories: watches and belts are very important in men's fashion. Cowboy belts with a large belt buckle plate and a chunky watch will help you greatly when dressing casually, and dressing with attention to detail is sure to get you noticed.