Wikipedia says: Smart casual is an ambiguously-defined dress code that is generally a neat yet informal attire.
Oxford Dictionarionaries.com: (Of clothes) neat, conventional, yet relatively informal in style, especially as worn to conform to a particular dress code.
A simple sounding dress code, but quite the conundrum, its connotation never being the same in different contexts, environs, cultures etc. In many cases also used interchangeably for Business Casuals. Does make you wonder on how thin a line you’re treading, especially when you receive an invite stating “Smart Casuals” in bold. Dress too smart and you run the risk of being called the ‘intimidator’, dress too sloppy, well you’re never getting invited again. So which way does the pendulum swing – Overdressed or Underdressed?
Our Suggestion (s): FIRST DON’T PANIC…Then mull over the following:
- Opt to overdress rather than kill the dress code
- Take cue from the very first statement “Smart”
- Understand the context you’re getting dressed for
- Determine how well you know the people you’re dressing for
- And as your very last option, if all else fails ASK
Vitruvien.com, decided to tackle the dress code heads on, by suggesting a few looks for the ‘more obvious set-ups’.
@Work: Completely depends on the industry, company culture and the size of the company you’re at. For instance a software firm, would define smart casuals, as jeans with a formal shirt tucked in. So be aware of dress codes. The important thing to know is that whatever you throw together, doesn’t just speak of your distinct style, but also resonates with the company culture. Idea is to blend in while you look chic.
If it’s a conventional office set-up, wear a custom-made plaid shirt with a button down collar, tucked into light-coloured chinos in browns, beige or grey, combined with a navy blazer, a pair of leather shoes that match the smart slim belt you wear.
If it’s a creative set-up, try a plain white shirt or a solid coloured dark shirt, a sports jacket or even a dark waist coat teamed with a tie tucked into a pair of dark denims. Step out with a pair of moccasins or brogues.
If it’s cold outside, try a dark coloured shirt with a waist coat in light grey, along with a navy blue open, long jacket teamed with denims and accessorized with a printed tie.
Just Remember: Always opt for a well-tailored jacket or blazer, definitely helps define your personal statement.
@Dinner: A dinner do? You’re safe bet, is to wear a pair of fine linen pants, a bespoke mandarin-collared solid-colour shirt, teamed with a tweed coat and espadrilles.
If it’s someone you know, loose the linen for denims – pair a printed button down shirt with a contrasting striped blazer with sleeves rolled up and dark moccasins.
@ a Beach Brunch: Whether you’re toasting with a glass of wine, or scoring at the net, look dapper with a pair of crisply ironed cotton/linen shorts teamed with button down linen shirt ensemble. Sport a round bottom shirt, personalised with rolled up sleeves, tucked out and paired with smart beach sandals. Choose from either the summer hues of light pink, peach, blue, lemon or sharper options of stripes and checks for your shirt.
While the term changes its connotations as discussed earlier, it is however important to keep in mind, somethings that you should NEVER opt for:
- Torn, washed our grunge jeans
- Flip-flops or sneakers
- Scraggly, straight-out-of-bed shorts
- Logos and slogans on your shirts
- Sports Wear