We’ve all been in that position – where we need to dress appropriately for an event, a party or the office. Many offices today encourage dress codes around the idea of “smart casual”, but what does that actually mean? It can be confusing, especially when there can be a case of double standards happening in the office. For example – a manager might wear jeans but then tell an employee they can’t. So when in doubt, check with management.
But what about other times? What does smart casual entail and how can you pull it off? Here are some great fashion tips to help both men and women rock the smart casual look for any event, work day or gathering.
When in doubt a good dress is a great way to go for smart casual. With a pair of leggings to cover up the legs you suddenly have a look that’s perfect for the office and for drinks after work. Keep the leggings black to bring the look together and try to go with a dress that is looser fitting and not a “night out” dress. Use discretion if wearing it to the office – some places have strict rules on amount of skin showing, so pick dresses that cover up your back, and most of your chest and have either thick shoulder straps or are tshirt style. For gatherings and outings though, most dresses will work for smart casual looks, just remember to plan for the weather if you’re going to be outside!
When it comes to the question of trousers versus jeans, checking out the type of gathering/activity or workplace is best. While this isn’t entirely helpful, it’s vague for a reason – many people will allow jeans while many others will not. Typically if jeans are allowed they need to be “dressy”, which is to say there should be no rips or tears, and they should essentially be “plain” jeans. Typically trousers that are more in line with ‘chinos’ – cloth trousers that come in a variety of colours and are often worn by men. If women want to wear trousers go with trousers made of cotton for more comfort. In this sense, cotton trousers really do have #SmartCasualCovered.
When it comes to men’s fashion, it can be difficult to pinpoint the fine line between smart casual and full on casual. Typically the rule of thumb is to keep the trouser part to chino style, either loose or tapered, and to go with button up shirts, sometimes going one further and adding a sweater vest or sweater over top for an added touch of casual class. Check out these great trousers from Chums for an idea of the perfect style. For smart casual try to stay away from tshirts, especially with slogans, sayings, labels or brands.
For both men and women try to stay away from things like running shoes and trainers. Instead flat soled black shoes for women and casual boater style shoes for men work well with almost any outfit as do loafers. For women most boot styles and materials will work for smart casual as long as they aren’t ‘Ugg’ type furry boots which are definitely better to be saved for those times when it’s really casual.
So there you have some great fashion tips for men and women who are looking for smart casual ideas for any reason, event, gathering or job. Enjoy – it’s a look that works almost anytime, anywhere.