There are a few key items that are key in this transition away from the "CBD/office drone" look towards a casual JCrew look, for lack of a better term.
First is a casual sport jacket. A slim tailored tweed jacket works. So is a textured solid jacket. Or even a cotton jacket.
This is the centerpiece of a "smart casual" look. They go with almost anything: Jeans, cords, dress pants, khakis.
Jeans may be a leap for those of us who haven't worn them in years.
The corduroy pants are also a big step in rolling it back, while staying stylish, tailored, and distinctive.
The sweater or cardigan with corduroys combo works well for an alternative to a jacket and tie, when they aren't required.
Even sweater with dress pants is a step back from jacket and pants.
In all cases, it is the shoes that really anchor the ensemble, and keep you one step beyond the JCrew look.
A nice pair of wingtips or boots counterbalance the dressed down tone of the rest of the outfit.
Please post photos of combinations you feel hit the spirit of this conversation.
Cords, textured/casual jackets, sweaters, casual shoes.