While 58% of U.S. workers saying they’d prefer a smart casual dress code at work, for others, hearing the words ‘smart casual’ can fill them with dread. How casual can you go? Are jeans considered smart enough? Instead of feeling relaxed about what to wear to the office, many simply end up feeling more stressed and confused than ever before. If you’ve been wondering about exactly how smart and how casual you should go, here are some handy tips for nailing the smart casual dress code.
What is Smart Casual?
Smart casual can seem a rather vague dress code, requiring both polished and relaxed clothing. To successfully achieve the perfect smart casual look, it’s all about balance. You need to pick pieces that look elegant but are also comfortable. A smart casual dress code offers more choice to men and women when it comes to workwear. While it’s a level up from business casual, it’s not as smart as formal workwear. However, it does still require a well-pulled-together and smart appearance. The great thing about smart casual is that it offers flexibility. It allows you to incorporate your own personal taste and includes everything from jackets, dress pants, dress shirts, vests and ties to statement jewelry and coordinated accessories.
How to quickly nail the smart casual look
To really win at the smart-casual office dress code, make sure you lean more towards the smart side of smart casual. The key is to use items that are elegant and comfortable that help you achieve a polished but relaxed style. Wear a skirt, pants, smart jeans or tailored shorts. Pair these on top with a stylish sweater or a white button up top. When it comes to dresses, choose a classic style like a shirt or wrap design, ideally in a neutral color. Finish your look with a tailored blazer and chic, laidback accessories.
What about jeans?
The good news is that you can wear jeans or trouser leggings as part of a smart casual look for work. And while you have an array of options to choose from, opt for a smarter style. While distressed jeans can look great paired with a smart top, heavily ripped jeans are unlikely to go down well in a corporate environment. But when you’ve found the perfect pair of jeans, wear them with chic heels or a tailored blazer.
As an increasing number of workplaces are taking the traditional ‘dress down Fridays’ and making them last all week, it’s likely that a smart casual dress code could be coming to your workplace soon. But don’t panic. Take it is an opportunity to take a more relaxed approach to your work outfits while throwing in some of your personality.