What is Smart Casual?

Smart casual is another way to say dressing stylish casual. Dressing smart casual essentially means dressing in a casual manner that is a bit fancier by creating a neat, fashionable, and accessorised outfit.

Dressing smart casual can sometimes be a challenge, so we’ve provided you with some tips to keep in mind when planning your outfit:

Think about what bottoms to wear

For a smart casual outfit, you must balance flairs of professionalism and fashion. Consider wearing bottoms that are comfortable but sharp looking; they need to be able to pull through a professional yet casual look. For example, a nice pair of slacks, darker-coloured conservative skirts, and even a dark wash pair of jeans can all be appropriate bottoms for a smart casual outfit. Most times, your bottoms can act as a base from which you create your ensemble outfit.

If you decide to wear a skirt, it must be a business appropriate length (at least to the top of your knees).

Pair your bottoms with an appropriate top

Since smart casual is all about balancing, your tops must equalise your outfit. If your bottoms are smarter, your top can be more casual. If your bottoms are more casual, dress up your outfit by sporting a sleeker, more professional top.

Choose from a variety of shirts

Blouses, plain shirts, vests, and sleeveless shirts are all acceptable. V-neck sweaters work best if wearing a collar. Turtlenecks can be worn in combination with a blazer for a sleek look and a little bit of novelty. You can opt for shirts that have collars, such as long-sleeve button down shirts. Pair shirts with an appropriate belt. For smart casual a tie is optional.

Wear a dress

When wearing a dress for a smart casual outfit, choose to keep it simple. Wearing a dress is a safe choice if you are trying to dress smart casual. A dress immediately elevates the “dressiness” of your outfit, but the print or material of the dress can add a casual element. No matter what kind of dress you choose to wear, the hem of the dress should reach at least the top of your knees.

Wear a blazer

A blazer is a great outfit piece that can add a professional tone to your outfit but keep it casual when paired with a softer top. If you’re considering wearing a blazer, make sure it has a fitted cut. This tailored piece can make your outfit look a bit more put together, while your other clothing items channel the more casual side of your ensemble. A plain black or navy-blue blazer can incorporate a more professional feel, while a coloured blazer can add in a pop of colour.

Slip on appropriate shoes

For a smart casual outfit, consider finishing your ensemble with a comfortable pair of shoes. Select formal leather shoes and stick to black, brown or grey shoes. Flats can also be an option if you want to go for a more casual look.

List of Don’ts:

Avoid the following items as they don’t fall into the category of smart casual:

  • Sneakers, sandals, flip-flops or open-toed shoes
  • Sport shirts, sweatshirts, sport team jackets or athletic socks
  • Shorts
  • Capris
  • Tight or revealing pants
  • Jeans.