You just received an invitation to an event or party, and in the dress code section it says "smart casual".
Smart casual is one of the most common, yet confusing dress codes which can put you on the back foot before the date has even arrived. Here are a few guidelines to help navigate "smart casual" and ensure you put your best foot forward:
Tailored TROUSERS are a reliable go-to for when you're really lost on what to wear. Start with a pair of well-cut trousers and work the rest of your outfit around them. If you opt for denim make it dark indigo or black, and style your top and shoes to balance out the informal nature of the jeans. Match with a classic blouse or a silk shirt and heels.
Knee length pencil SKIRTS are a classic option but don't be afraid to experiment with a mid-length skirt in a lighter fabric in warmer months.
If you opt for a DRESS - keep it simple. Style it with accessories such as a bold statement necklace and a pair of interesting heels. Dress length can be short - but not too short.
Cover yourself for all weather conditions and have a JACKET or WRAP on hand. Jacket should be lightweight and a simple cut. A cashmere wrap or stole is ideal for carrying about with you and whipping out when the temperature drops.
Avoid informal FOOTWEAR and wear a pair of heels. Shoes with a block heel are a comfortable option. Steer clear of stilettos - if you're after an elegant look kitten heels are a better option.
Choose ACCESSORIES that will take you from day to night. Dress up a plain outfit and express your individuality through your choice of jewellery and accessories. Don't overdo the bling.
If you're still not sure what you should wear, do some research. Get in touch with the organiser or if you know somebody else who is attending, ask them what they plan to wear. If the event is a regular occurrence, look up photos from the past and see what people were wearing. It's not the end of the world if you dress improperly, but it's best to be sure. The added confidence of dressing well for the occasion will ensure you relax and enjoy yourself.
(Photo: Mary Lawless - Happily Grey)