The first day at work can bring about a mixture of emotions, yet it is important to select and wear an appropriate outfit. Post-pandemic dress codes have certainly changed but most employers expect their new employees to wear smart casual attire.
So, what is smart casual attire? This is a professional dress style that fuses fashionable items into an outfit to attain a semi-formal appearance. There is a huge variety of clothing items to choose from including trousers, shirts and blouses, jackets, skirts, and dresses. Informal smart casual and business casual attire are similar in that they are both a style of dress that will give you a professional look without wearing formal professional clothing such as suits. The main contrast is that smart casual attire may include trendy pieces such as coloured jeans, structured T-shirts, and trainers.
A smart casual wardrobe should have a variety of clothes which will work with one another to create a range of outfits for the workplace.
Smart casual outfits
Smart casual dress attire covers a wide range of formality including two broad categories for specific work situations.
Opting for the most dressed up smart casual wear in formal situations is a wise decision. Such situations may include presentations, award ceremonies and open evenings. On these occasions it is better to be overdressed, so consider wearing a suit, crisp shirt, dress, and appropriate footwear.
When deciding on smart casual dress for an informal interview, aim for a dressier look. Blouses, crisp shirts, overcoats are a few examples of appropriate dress for such events.
A lot of employers have a smart casual dress code in place. This is usually the case for jobs that do not have direct face-to-face contact with customers or clients. Items to consider for a more relaxed look can include sweaters, blouses, jeans, and trainers.
Smart casual clothing for men
A few fundamental items will create the foundation for a smart casual wardrobe. Mixing and matching is a great way to achieve a variety of styles and looks. This look should involve formal and informal items such as: jackets and blazers; trousers; shirts; shoes and accessories.
Jackets and blazers look good in both formal and informal settings. They are a great option for creating various outfits. Trousers such as jeans provide a classic look that fits into a plethora of environments. Aim to invest in a quality pair of non-ripped jeans with straight legs and tailored fit. Casual cotton trousers can also serve as a good base for a smart casual look. Depending on the situation, you may need to opt for trousers rather than jeans to provide a more professional appearance. Smart casual shirts include short and long sleeve button downs and classic T-shirts. If you choose to wear a T-shirt, opt for a polo type without graphics or bold designs. Investing in a couple of pairs of professional shoes is a good idea. Classic accessories such as a wristwatch and leather belt will complement this smart casual look.
Smart casual attire for women
There are lots of options for women when forming smart casual looks. Versatile pieces such as skirts, jeans, and blouses can be paired with other items in your wardrobe to create a smart casual look.
Some examples of this type of clothing include: trousers and skirts; tops; and dresses. Trousers, including chinos and jeans work well with a blouse or jacket. Long, or just below the knee, skirts in a range of fabrics pair well with plain tops and jackets. Trousers and skirts which have a subtle design pattern provide a well-matched look with a variety of tops. Smart casual tops include blouses, t-shirts, and jumpers. Dresses can be an easy option on days when you are pushed for time. For a more formal approach, combine your dress with simple jewellery and a pair of low heels. For a less formal look, you could wear more fashion jewellery with casual footwear and perhaps a denim jacket.
Gender neutral smart casual wear
For anyone who wants to look professional, yet stylish, there are lots of options available. The main thing to remember is that you should feel comfortable and confident in the clothing. Some of the most simple and attractive smart casual outfits can be considered gender neutral, such as a plain black jacket, a white button up shirt and a pair of grey chinos. Other gender neutral smart casual clothing items can include: T-shirts, vests, jackets, blazers, button down shirts, cardigans, chinos, jeans, boots, trainers, watches, and loafers.
Having the right combination of formal and casual clothing will help you feel confident, comfortable, and versatile in your working environment. Be creative with your wardrobe, mix and match your clothing items and feel good and confident in your workplace.
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Article written by Dr Denise White
Last updated on 30 June 2023Share this article