Breaking Down the Smart Casual Dress Code for Women

Oh, smart casual dress codes – will you ever not be confusing? This wardrobe specification is thrown around literally everywhere, and very few of us actually understand what it is, why it is, and how it is. We just throw a semi-smart jacket on over our jeans and call it a day, I mean jeans are casual and a blazer is smart, right? Well, yes, however, there are a few more creative ways to dress smart casual, when you actually know how to go about it, it can be pretty enjoyable!

So, what does smart casual actually mean?

Firstly, relax, smart casual does not mean that you have to wheel out your boardroom attire and pencil skirt collection. The key with this dress code is to wear something polished and presentable, with elements of smart sophistication mixed in. You absolutely should not be wearing any evening gowns or full-on dress suits, you’ll look and feel out of place. The best way to get it right is to consider the nature of the event that you’re going to, look at the general demographic of the guest list and keep the weather in mind. When in serious doubt, it’s best to be slightly more dressed up than dressed down.

Smart casual outfit ideas

Now that you know just how to go about dressing for a smart casual dress code, it’s time to put some outfits together! Here are a few ideas to spark your inspiration a little…

Tailored jumpsuits

A sharp jumpsuit is a super-easy way to be both comfortable and chic at basically any event. Choose a style crafted from linen, cotton or even dark denim to look contemporary and elegant. Embellish with a statement choker in a colourful tone, put your hair in a messy bun and go for a smudged eyeliner look. Some espadrilles or stiletto heels will work perfectly to add that formal edge.

Midi skirt and a button-up shirt

An oversized button-up shirt tucked into an A-line skirt is an amazing smart casual outfit for any work parties or more formal events you might have coming up. To be more smart than casual, make sure your button-up is a block colour, like a white or black, and it’s tight-fitting. The A-line should be midi-length and high waisted to create a gorgeous contrast. Feeling like going more casual? Opt for a breezy, oversized shirt in a denim or gingham print and slip into an A-line mini in a crisp cotton finish.

Silky accents with tailoring

Tailored pieces like chinos and blazers are inarguably formal, however, add some alluring silk into the mix and you have the perfect smart casual evening look! For a summer vibe, rock your favourite neutral slip dress with an oversized, herringbone print boyfriend blazer in a gentle grey or muted khaki. If you want to be more winter-appropriate, a sharply tailored suit with a fitted blazer and tapered women’s pants in a black, grey or navy will be immediately spiced up with the addition of a silky cami underneath. Choose your cami in a pink or mauve for a beautiful, effeminate addition to your masculine get up – this contrast is all kinds of gorgeous!  

Structured dress

You really can’t go wrong with a structured midi or mini dress, it’s the safest way to nail that ambiguous dress code. Choose an understated neutral or go super classic and wear your LBD. You can dress this up in so many creative or minimalist ways – the styling choices are endless!

Hopefully, by now you’re feeling a little more comfortable with your smart casual dress code specified events coming up! Build the foundations of a wardrobe that can be dressed up or down, this is the easiest way to always have something to wear.