When you go to events, the dress code sometimes says “smart-casual.” However, you’re always wondering what the right style for smart-casual is. From shoes to your coat, dress codes that are smart-casual can often be confusing, especially to some who do not attend events regularly.
The key to achieving a smart casual look is equally considering both words. When you wear smart casual suits, you should look comfortable but well-cut and elegant enough to be worn if you’re swinging by the office or at a wedding reception.
What is smart-casual?
What may be casual for some can be smart for others, so always keep in mind the person who set the dress code for the event you are going to. Smart-casual does not have a fixed context, so you must tap into your basic social intelligence to have an idea of the appropriate outfit to wear.
For starters, emphasising the smart aspect is always a safe way to begin. For example, if you happen to wear a suit with an open-neck shirt, removing your jacket when you feel overdressed is always the option.
Always remember these three tips on smart-casual dressing:
- Your clothes should be cut to fit
- Darker colours like muted black, chocolate, and navy are all within the smart and low-key spectrum.
- There should only be one sportswear item per smart-casual outfit like sneakers or a polo shirt.
Clothing that counts as smart-casual
There is not one piece of clothing exclusively considered smart-casual. Context is what’s essential in this dress code. For example, wearing a suit with a t-shirt is deemed smart-casual. Or, if you wear dark jeans with a shirt and blazer, it can be a proper smart-casual outfit.
One tip is to avoid excessively patterned clothing and ensure that everything is cut to fit and clean, with a hint of finesse.
The condition of your clothes will impact your outfit just as much as your style. For example, you can wear a high-quality t-shirt paired with smart-cut suit trousers, and it is just as good as wearing the same trousers with an ordinary shirt.
Another area of debate for smart-casual clothing is footwear. Leather trainers are becoming more popular nowadays, and a pair of smart, quality leather trainers fit well with a smart-casual ensemble. It also adds a chic flair to your smart-casual outfit. Just don’t forget the one sportswear item rule, and you’ll be ready for any smart-casual event.
Wearing jeans for smart-casual
There are many kinds of jeans. For example, distressed and acid-washed fall strictly within the category of casual and would not even pass the smart qualification. However, darker indigo denim can be worn with a smart-casual ensemble as long as the other pieces of clothing you are wearing are formal. However, it would be best to note that some smart-casual dress codes may call for a no jeans rule.
A safe choice for smart-casual is chino pants. Chinos look smarter than a pair of jeans but are more laid-back than slacks. They also come in a wide range of colours so that you can match them with any coloured blazer or shirt.
Can polo shirts pass as smart-casual?
Polo shirts can be worn for smart-casual events but be careful. Classic Aertex polos are sporty, so be wary that any other clothing you wear should fall within the smart category. Sporty polos should be matched with lovely suit trousers and loafers to be within the accepted definition of smart-casual.
It can be challenging to think of what to wear with a smart-casual dress code for an event. You’re scared of over or underdressing, and it’s understandable. To be on the safe side, just choose smart casual suits that you feel comfortable in but are not overly simple. Just keep in mind the one sportswear item rule, and you can kick off your smart-casual outfit just fine.