What Is The Smart Casual Dress Code?

A definition of smart casual according to the dictionary is; ‘(of clothes) neat, conventional, yet relatively informal in style; especially if worn to conform to a particular dress code’. In other words it’s a smart item of clothing teamed with a casual item of clothing. Think of a smart casual outfit as one that you’d wear for a movie or dinner date.

There are lots of occasions where a smart casual outfit is appropriate and in today’s culture commonly asked for. There are even more and more work places that are becoming smart casual.  Although while jeans teamed with a smart top/shirt is consider smart casual, it’s important to bare in mind that in the work environment jeans are usually too casual. You will have to consider your work place and what is appropriate or not when it comes to denim. As a personal stylist I’m often asked by my clients to help them understand and put together smart casual outfits that can take them out to dinner, on a date, on a girl’s day out, to the movies or shopping.

Impressions do really count, we all know we make an assumption when we see someone! A smart casual outfit says that you are put together, serious about what you are there for (look like you mean business), have a sense of style (care about yourself) YET allows you to remain somewhat informal, while giving you a friendly, approachable vibe.

How Do You Put Together A Smart Casual Outfit?

First of all, where you are going will predict the starting point in your outfit. If it’s a girl’s day out, you may want to wear a dress. Perhaps you are going out in the evening to dinner, on a date or to the movies; in this case a pair of jeans and a jacket would be appropriate. If you are going somewhere during the day in hot weather you could consider tailored shorts. Think about the purpose of your occasion, the weather conditions, time of day or night and then choose the starting piece to your outfit.

If your starting piece is casual (jeans) you will need to choose something smarter to go with them (blazer). If your starting with a dressier piece (smart dress), then you can team that with a more casual item (denim jacket). Think of these outfits in a mix & match sort of way. You can team several casual pieces with a smart piece, or a couple of smarter items with a casual item. It’s important that you individualise your outfit to your taste!

Once you’ve assembled your clothes the last step is to consider your accessories. A high heal with a pair of jeans, t’shirt, blazer and a pretty clutch is the perfect ensemble for a dinner date. A pair of boat shoes with tailored shorts, t’shirt and blazer is perfect for a guy going to a fancy BBQ soiree in summer. Think about what will finish off your outfit nicely; shoes, bag, jewellery, scarf, hat or cap are some of the things you can add to your outfit. Remember to determine whether your accessories need to be casual or smart.

Have fun with your outfits and be true to your own style personality. One of the things I always remind my clients is that whatever the dress code calls for, you can add touches of your own style taste to the outfit, to make it yours!