Have you been invited to an event where the dress code is smart casual? Or maybe someone mentioned that this is how you should be dressing for a date, and it left you scratching your head?
Luckily, this post is all about #SmartCasualUncovered. You’ll learn everything you need to know about what smart casual means, and how you can dress appropriately and stylishly.
So what does smart casual mean? The term was invented because people were arriving at certain places while dressed overly casual. By adding the “smart”, it communicates that you can’t arrive wearing trainers and joggers.
While it may be easy to assume that smart casual means wearing a dress shirt and tennis shoes is acceptable, or combining a blazer with sweatpants is fine, this is relatively far from the truth. Instead of mixing clothing which has varying degrees of formality, you’ll be aiming to pick something that is somewhere between a businesslike or formal outfit, and a very casual outfit.
For example, a hoodie would be way too casual, and yet wool dress pants are much too formal. Instead, a polo shirt and chinos would work well, or even corduroy trousers from Chums are a great option for smart casual pants. You can also match a pair of stylish canvas sneakers with a colorful blazer.
You’ll often find the smart casual dress code at resorts, restaurants, and cruise ships. The idea is to look presentable and neat without looking stuffy or “dressed up.”
It’s usually a good idea to dress up, since you can then ensure you don’t embarrass yourself by looking like you missed the memo.
If you’re aiming to go more on the formal side of smart casual, consider wearing a blazer or jacket. However, you can prevent this from looking too formal by making sure it doesn’t match your pants, and it’s in a bright color or bold pattern. You may also choose to go more casual with your jacket, such as a linen jacket in a jewel color, a bomber jacket, or a Harrington jacket. If you can pull it off, a leather jacket can also look excellent.
For your shirt, avoid t-shirts and stick to dress shirts. But it’s important that these are not solid light blue or white, since this looks like business formal. Go with a nice checked shirt, houndstooth, or stripe. In summer, polo shirts are perfectly acceptable.
As you can see, a smart casual dress code allows you to be a little more playful, without showing up in beachwear. What are your favourite smart casual outfits?