Master the smart casual dress code

How to master the smart casual dress code

When it comes to dress codes, do you know what ‘smart casual’ actually means?

It’s actually quite a tricky dress code because it can be interpreted in so many different ways.  Everyone seems to have their own version of what actually counts as smart casual.

Now, I’m no fashion expert but here is my own take on how to master that smart casual dress code.

How to master the smart casual dress code


The thing with smart casual is that it can mean different things depending on the circumstances.

So here are some suggestions on what you could wear for three different occasions.


For the office.

I think a lot of workplaces are moving away from completely formal wear and towards a more smart casual dress code.

For both women and men this could be a smart pair of trousers or dark denim jeans with a lightweight knit jumper or relaxed fit shirt.  The key thing is to keep it professional while being comfortable and bit more relaxed than ‘business casual’.

Men should steer clear of shorts in the workplace, but could go for some elasticated waist trousers from Chums for a bit of extra comfort while still looking smart.

Women could go for a skirt instead of trousers, just don’t pick anything that’s too short.


For a wedding

Weddings can be a bit of a minefield when it comes to knowing what to wear as a guest.  There are so many different wedding dress codes that couples might ask you to stick to for their big day.

As a women going to a wedding with a smart casual dress code I would stick with a nice dress.  To keep it more relaxed I would go for sandals or low heels and do away with the hat or fascinator.

For men I would say you don’t need to wear a full suit for a wedding with this kind of dress code, but you’re better off sticking with a pair of nice trousers and a shirt.  If you want to feel smarter then pair this with a blazer, or if you want to feel more comfortable then a smart jumper is fine.


For a dinner party

If you’ve been invited to a dinner party at a friend’s house then I think you can go for the more casual end of smart casual.

I would go for a simple dress and sandals, or smart jeans and a nice top, possibly layered with a cardigan.

Men in this situation could go for smart jeans and a polo shirt, or a relaxed fit button up shirt.


A few things to think about:

  • If you think the event you’re going to might be a bit more formal then take a few bits with you that you can add when you get there if you feel underdressed.  For women this could be a pretty headband or fascinator for a wedding, for men it might mean popping a tie in your pocket.


  • Depending on the situation trainers can work for a smart casual dress code, as long as they’re not too scruffy.  Sandals are also fine for the most part, but I’m pretty sure flip flops are a bit too casual so leave those for more informal occasions.


  • If you’re not sure, choose a smarter outfit over a more casual one.  In most situations it’ll be better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.


The most important thing though, as far as I’m concerned, is the way in which you wear your outfit.

By which I mean, walk into the room confidently, stand tall and wear your outfit with confidence.  And remember that unless you’ve got it wildly wrong, no one will really be worrying about what you’re wearing anyway.


Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

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