Smart casual seems to be one of the favorite dress codes nowadays, especially since it mixes the two worlds so seamlessly. However, it can also be one of the most confusing ways to dress, even more so if you still have to learn more about it to make it your own. There’s no need to worry though; smart casual is far from mission impossible if you know some of the basics of this dress code.

When in doubt, it’s always better to smart things up

For starters, it’s important to be aware that smart casual can be a bit difficult to adjust for each and every situation that requires a smart casual dress code, which is why it’s always better to go a bit smarter. You can always lose the smart jacket and stay in a nice shirt or blouse if the jacket seems too formal; it’s possible to let your hair down and maybe even roll up the sleeves on your plain white shirt. However, you can’t get your nice stilettos once you’re already at the event in your worn-out chores slip-ons.

Smart casual doesn’t include your business or free time look

What you wear at work should be reserved for work, as this is not the dress code for smart casual outfits. Suits have no place here, even if it’s a skirt one. However, this doesn’t mean you should dress as you would for your Sunday off. Something you’d wear for a lunch with colleagues might fit the bill nicely. And footwear-wise, it doesn’t matter if you wear heels or flats as long as they’re not rain boots or sand shoes. Basically, your goal should be the golden middle in this case.

What about footwear?

This might seem too complicated at first, but in actuality, all you really have to remember about smart casual footwear are three rules: no rain boots, no sand shoes and no worn-out shoes. That said, you can go with whatever feels more comfortable to you or looks the best with a particular outfit. Basically, you can wear different heels, stylish flats, stilettos, wedges, espadrilles as well as classy women’s sneakers, especially those in white or black. Essentially, when it comes to all the different types of footwear for different seasons, you don’t want them to be too over-the-top, striking, colorful or patterned.

Find the most flattering jeans cut

You’d be happy to know that jeans are perfectly acceptable as a smart casual attire as long as you find yourself the perfect, most flattering fit. Not only will you feel your best and most comfortable in your ideal jeans cut, but their fit will also affect the way your overall outfit looks; jeans that are too big or too tight might look like you’re sloppy or don’t put much effort into your looks. The safest bet is to go with a tailored option and darker denim. As you can probably guess, forget about rips and washed-out denim. Also, really low cuts are a no-go.

Make the most out of your blazer

Blazer is not the same as a business jacket that’s usually paired with suit pants or skirt. It’s important to have a nicely fitted blazer, preferably in solid black, navy, maroon, beige, red and/or white – whatever color works better for your taste and skin tone. With this type of blazer, you can effectively dress up your plain jeans and white shirt look, and it looks rather smart when combined with various footwear options as well, sneakers included. Not to mention that a nice blazer can transform an otherwise too simple a dress as well.

Refrain from too much color in general

Color is great for a smart casual dress code, but only as a pop element. You don’t want to wear pieces that feature one too many colors at once, crazy patterns or sparkly sequins. For instance, if your shoes are red, you should maybe add a red belt and nail polish to match them, but keep the rest of your outfit fairly neutral. In the same vein, if you really like a lilac blazer, you shouldn’t feature other colors in your outfit as this bright shade is already effective on its own. The blue of the dark denim is the only exception in this case.

Hopefully, you’ll find the smart casual dress code a bit more manageable thanks to the above-mentioned tips. Keep in mind that you have the freedom to express yourself creatively through cuts and accessories – just don’t go overboard if you want to dress for success.


Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.

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