What is Smart Casual?

women in smart casual

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One of the terms that I often struggle with is the smart casual dress code. Casual could mean wearing jeans, trackies and t-shirts with thongs. But when you include the word ‘smart’ in front of the word ‘casual’, what does it actually mean? To my understanding, it means that you have to somehow combine both formal and informal dressing successfully.

Smart casual could mean different things, depending on the individual. I guess when it comes to defining this type of dress code for men, it is much easier. For men, the act of wearing a jacket over their t-shirts, polo shirts or short sleeve shirts could instantly transform their dress code into a smart casual attire.

This type of dress code is more complicated for women unfortunately. If you’re a woman and you wear jeans or shorts together with thongs, it is considered as a casual wear. However, if you pair your jeans or shorts with a pretty sandal or a wedge and tailored jacket, then you’re wearing a smart casual attire!

If you are required to abide by the smart casual dress code at work, then you need to be really careful of how you interpret it. The definition of this dressing is often determined by the type of workplace, the industry, number of employees and size of the company. Also, it depends on how often you meet with customers.

For some companies, wearing presentable-looking jeans and t-shirts can be considered smart casual. However, some workplaces may require you to wear shirts, business pants or collared shirts.

The good news for all women is that this type of dress code enables you to be flexible with pairing your clothes, accessories and footwear. This gives you room to explore your clothing options to suit your personal tastes. You can glam yourself up with dressy blouses, jackets, trousers, skirts, dresses and scarves together with beautiful jewelry, shoes and boots.

Before you start deciding on all the different outfits you can wear, be sure to consider these factors:

• The venue of your event
• The people who will be attending the event
• Your office’s industry and definition of the term

And if you’re still confused with the smart casual definition, just ask the event organiser or your future boss. I’m sure they will be able to help you.

So the next time when you are asked to come in a smart casual attire, do not fret. Just do your research first and then have fun dressing up!

What is your definition of smart casual? Any tips?








Caroline Poh

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