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What to Wear when the Invitation Says Smart-Casual

Posted on 19 January 2019

What to Wear when the Invitation Says Smart-Casual

Whenever you see on an invitation to an event: “Please dress Smart Casual” your mind tends to wonder if it’s a chinos and suit jacket “smart casual” or is it shorts and a button up “smart casual.” We explore the true definition of smart-casual and what it can mean in different situations.

Sit Down Dinner

Source: Pintrest

Typically a sit down dinner will require you to wear a nice blazer / suit jacket paired with nice clean slacks or chinos. Smart casual means exactly that, so bring your casual flare into the outfit, a clean t-shirt underneath the blazer is a great look. Tucking the t-shirt into the pants with no belt also works really well and gives that stylish and smart look. If you are thinking of wearing a pocket square, definitely make sure you match it with your t- shirt colour as this will really complete your look.

Work / Business Event

Source: D’Marge

This kind of smart casual can differ a lot depending on which industry you work in, for example, if you’re a tradie, then smart casual could mean that you’ll just need to whack on a button up shirt and some chinos and you’re ready to go! Now, if you work in a more corporate environment then maybe you might want to dress it up a bit, I’d steer clear of a tie as this could be seen as too corporate, but definitely a nice blazer, or cardigan (not a suit jacket) paired with a shirt which has a few buttons undone at the top. This will give you that casual/ approachable / relaxed look but still professional at a work or networking event.

Cocktail party

Source: Lookastic

Cocktail parties that have smart casual as the dress code typically mean… wear a suit! With that in mind, I’d opt for a suit jacket, pocket square, shirt and maybe a bow tie. Pair that with some rolled up khaki coloured chinos and some boat shoes. Business up top, party down the bottom! You can usually read the vibe of who’s party it is and what kind of “smart casual” will be suitable. I’d recommend staying away from jeans though, as they’re probably a bit too casual for a cocktail party.

Going to a Bar / Wine Bar

Source: Pintrest

Probably my favourite take on “smart casual,” you can have some fun with this one. Again, reading the vibe of the bar you’re going to before you get there is important, you don’t want to be rocking up to a dive bar dressed to the 9’s and everyone else is in flip-flops and singlets!

I’d recommend experimenting with some patterned blazers, some nice retro polo shirts with a cuban style collar also works really well with a smart casual look. You can also add jeans into this look, some nice clean dark blue or black work with most blazers, try to keep your statement piece as the blazer. Finish off this look with some clean sneakers, like some “Common Projects.”

Let us know what you’d wear to a “Smart Casual” event and if we got it right!

By Aaron Brockley

aaronsambrockley@gmail.com