When the dress code is “smart casual”, it’s time to step it up. Aim for a look that is neat and pulled together, while still considering comfort and your own personal style.
For the ladies
“Smart casual” restrictions aren’t too tough as long as you use common sense. A sleeveless top can work, for example, but a plunging neckline probably can’t. So choose your warm-weather wear with modesty in mind, and consider bringing along a light cardigan to cover up if necessary. Skirts and dresses should be knee-length or longer. For
“smart casual”, shorts could work over a pair of tights, with a button-down shirt or fitted sweater. Flats, heels, dressy sandals, and boots make the cut for “smart casual”.
For the guys
A collared shirt, either a button-down or a crisp polo, is best for a “smart casual” occasion. A lush cashmere sweater or pullover would be a great cold-weather addition. Opt for khakis, chinos, or other dress pants. Jackets are optional but not required, so you might be perfectly comfortable in a blazer or sport coat rather than a suit jacket.
This jacket also doesn’t have to match your pants, as long as the patterns don’t clash. Pair your outfit with dark socks under dress shoes, loafers, moccasins, or dark boots.
Rules of Thumb
- When in doubt, administer the “Grandma Test”: Could you wear it to accompany your grandmother to church?
- Denim should generally be dark-wash or black only, and must be in excellent condition.
- If you choose to wear denim, make sure the rest of your look is clean and thoughtful. Dress up jeans with your choice of top and shoes.
- T-shirts should be avoided unless they are a high-end design and worn under a jacket or blazer.
- Avoid sneakers, flip-flops, and work or hiking boots.