It Is the dress code that no one wants to see at an invitation. It throws more questions than answers and moves the minds of even the most stubborn. It’s casual smart, of course, and unfortunately, it’s unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

The smart casual dress code doesn’t have to inspire fear and anxiety though. It can be a good thing. At best, smart casual is sharp and sophisticated but also relaxed and comfortable; it is able to take you from the office to a date without measuring your style in second place, trusting the wearer and respecting everyone else.

But-there is always a but-if it is not well executed, it can look boring and, at worst, like you have just thrown your suit jacket over a pair of jeans. It’s very easy to get the smart casual outfit wrong, so if you’re stuck or looking for a little high-low inspiration, here’s everything you need to know about nailing this ever-intricate dress code.

What Is Smart Casual?

Smart casual is, above all, confusing. We will come out and say that immediately. It combines two fundamentally opposite words and you hope to make sense of the gulf between them. Should you dress on the ‘smarter ‘side or put more emphasis on’casual’? Who knows, but when Smart joggers and casual tailors fall into the same bracket, one thing you can be sure of is a large number of interpretations.

However, it doesn’t have to be complicated. In one way, smart casual is a blank stylistic check and you can cash it out however you like. You can also take it literally and combine the best of both worlds: pair a smart piece of clothing with something more casual, then you’re dressing smart casual effectively. Consider (the right type) a blazer with jeans, or a T-shirt tucked into tailored trousers.

You will often find the smart casual dress code that is being used for events that are reasonably laid back but require some level of smartness. Think of relaxed wedding receptions, graduations or fancy restaurants where guests are expected to show off some level of decorum. But to successfully wear smart casual is not as simple as wearing a blazer on top of your jeans – you have to wear the right pieces that complement each other and don’t look too jarring.

The Different Types Of Smart Casual

Smart casual means many different things to many different people, not to mention the type of event or destination you are going to. Smart casual at a stage probably means something very different from smart casual on a date night.

So when dressing for this ambiguous dress code, it is important to think about where you are going and who you are going to. This will indicate how smart, or how casual you go. For example, if you are going to graduation, a blazer is an unsafe part of that outfit. The graduates are usually quite strict and formal, and those participating will be wearing gowns and caps, so you definitely wouldn’t be overdone. Wearing clothes on the smarter head of the Spectrum serves as a sign of respect for those graduating – you are showing respect for how significant the event is.

For a date, however, wearing a blazer may be a bit far-fetched, depending on where you are going. In order not to feel overdone, you might prefer to go moderately smart on the bottom half, with tailored trousers and desert boots, but keep things more laid back, with an oxford shirt and an unresolved bomber jacket.

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