Dress codes are tricky, and while we’ve all heard of smart casual before, the term can still cause confusion and panic for many. Luckily, we’re here to help by shedding some much-needed light on this ambiguous type of attire. So, if you’ve been wondering what smart casual means or you are after some stylish outfit ideas to suit it, we’ve got you covered. This is your handy guide to the smart casual dress code for women.
What is Smart Casual for Women?
Smart casual is a somewhat ambiguous dress code that calls for polished yet relaxed attire. As such, nailing the perfect look requires balance. When dressing for an occasion with this dress code, try to pick pieces that appear elegant but are also comfortable.
Smart Casual vs Business Casual
Due to its polished yet relaxed aesthetic, smart casual attire is often confused with business casual dress code. While many outfits can fall into both categories, there are differences between the two. For instance, business casual tends to require a more conservative style of dress while smart casual can be more fashion-forward.
When to Wear Smart Casual?
Smart casual is a standard dress code and, as such, is required for many events, including dinners, weddings, work functions and more. Luckily, the type of occasion can help guide you in what to wear. So, when planning your smart casual outfit, remember to keep the function, location and other guests in mind.
Smart Casual Attire for Dinner
Have you been invited to a dinner with a smart casual dress code? Don’t panic. There are plenty of great outfits that you can wear that are appropriate without appearing dull. To nail the ideal look, just mix classic items, such as a pair of black pants, with those that are more exciting, like an off-the-shoulder top.
Smart Casual Wedding Attire
Smart casual wedding attire can be tricky as you don’t want to appear over- or under-dressed. To nail the look, try selecting a chic dress in a comfortable cut. Then, pair it with low heels and casual accessories. Alternatively, a jumpsuit or stylish pants and a top can make an excellent option.
Smart Casual Office Wear
In today’s world, more and more offices are opting for a smart casual dress code. Unlike a business casual dress code, smart casual attire is more versatile. So, while you still must appear professional, there’s no reason not to put a stylish spin on your look. To do so, consider swapping your usual pants for a skirt or opt for a fashionable suit. Alternatively, keep garments simple and add a dash of color with accessories.
Smart Casual Day Events
Whether you’re heading to an afternoon tea with friends or an informal client meeting, creating a smart casual look for daytime needn’t be difficult. Unlike more formal occasions, such as weddings or dinners, general day events offer flexibility with what you can wear. As such, anything from pants and a chic top to a midi skirt and sweater can work.
Smart Casual Outfits
When it comes to smart casual outfits, you need to build your look one piece at a time. Luckily, all you need to do is follow a few simple rules, and you’ll have nailed the perfect smart casual ensemble in no time.
Smart Casual Dress
If you want to wear a dress to a smart casual event, you’ll need to choose one that is appropriate. To do so, opt for a polished style, such as a shirt or wrap dress, in a neutral color, like black or white. Also, make sure that the cut doesn’t reveal too much of your legs and chest, and if you want to wear a maxi dress, ensure that it’s a sophisticated design.
Smart Casual Jeans
While tailored pants are a natural choice for smart casual outfits, jeans can also work. However, elevating these casual trousers to a higher level requires picking a polished pair and partnering them with the right items. To do so, start by selecting a slim or skinny pair of jeans in a dark hue, such as indigo or black. Also, ensure that they aren’t ripped or frayed. Then, pair your jeans with a sophisticated shirt, blazer, and heels to complete your outfit.
Smart Casual Tops
Stylish, smart casual tops aren’t difficult to come by, but choosing which ones to add to your wardrobe can be challenging. During summer, a white button-up shirt makes an excellent option, and today there are plenty of unique choices available. As for winter, a chic turtleneck sweater or stylish long-sleeve top can look great when paired with a tailored skirt or pants.
Smart Casual Shorts
Pants and skirts aren’t your only options for smart casual bottoms. Shorts also make an excellent choice for this dress code. Of course, we’re not talking about your usual denim shorts here. No, rocking a smart casual look with shorts requires a certain level of polish that only a pair of tailored shorts can give.
Smart Casual Jackets
A sophisticated jacket is a great way to turn an otherwise casual look into a smart casual one. In particular, a standard blazer is an excellent choice. However, it’s not your only option. Longline blazers and sleeveless blazers can provide a chic twist on the staple. For those who want something completely different, a bomber jacket can also work, but be sure that it appears appropriately sleek.
Smart Casual Bags
Accessories play a vital role in the outfits. So, don’t forget to choose the right bag to go with your smart casual look. To pick the perfect handbag, just choose a style that matches your sophisticated yet laidback ensemble. That could be a simple clutch, bucket bag, body bag, tote or something else. As for what to avoid, consider leaving the overly structured office bags and casual backpacks at home.
Smart Casual Shoes
When dressing for a specific dress code, your shoes play an integral role in your outfit. As such, it’s essential to pick the right pair if you want to achieve an appropriate smart casual appearance. To ensure your look is appropriately polished without appearing overly formal, try opting for chic yet practical footwear. Block heels, kitten heels, mules, and loafers can all make excellent choices for this style of attire.
Smart Casual for Women
- Aim for a polished yet relaxed look with garments that are elegant and comfortable.
- Tailor your smart casual look to the occasion.
- Choose between pants, a skirt, tailored shorts or smart jeans to wear as bottoms.
- On top, try a white button-up for summer or a stylish sweater for winter.
- To wear a smart casual dress, opt for a classic style, such as a shirt or wrap design, in a neutral color.
- Finish your smart casual look with a blazer and chic yet laidback accessories.