FSC’s ‘Smart Casual’ Definition: “To dress up smart casual means mixing elements of casual wear with formal wear to make up the perfect smart causal outfit. Overall you need to achieve a smart look NOT a casual one.” – Fashionably Smart Casual

Smart casual wear is made up of the following items:

Men’s Wear:

  • Dark denim or blue Jeans
  • Trousers (tailored, chinos, combats, cords, twill trousers, military etc)
  • Collared & non-collared shirts
  • Polo T-shirts & other T-shirts,
  • Rolled Neck Jumpers
  • Jumpers
  • Matching leather belt & smart shoes (loafers, brogues)
  • Trainers or Plimsoles
  • Matching scarf & other men’s accessories
Women’s Wear:

  • Dark denim or blue Jeans
  • Trousers (tailored, straight leg, combat, flared, bootleg, skinny )
  • Collared & non-collared shirts & blouses
  • Tops & other T-shirts,
  • Rolled Neck Jumpers
  • Jumpers
  • Matching leather belt & smart shoes (loafers, brogues, pumps, platforms & high heels, court shoes, knee or ankle boots)
  • Trainers or Plimsoles
  • Statement jewellery to dress up plain looking tops/outfits

Examples of smart casual wear for men and women

Here are few examples of men and women dressed smart casual for the day or for a work or out for the night.

Some good advice for men and women: It is important to understand that your shoes and accessories can dress up or down an outfit so choose them wisely. Also remember to match your shoe colour with your belt (and handbag where appropriate).

Smart casual bordering on casual side. This model wears a pair of white trainers, checked shirt and faded jeans.

Navy Check Blazer by Thomas Pink back on model

Smart casual bordering on business casual, except that the model is wearing Jeans. Stylish smart casual look suitable for morning through to evening.

Blue Oxford Pique Shirt by Ralph Lauren

Our favourite smart casual look with a pair of jeans, collared shirt and matching belt with leather shoes.

Pale Grey Herringbone Jacket by Jigsaw

Smart casual for women, this model wears a pair of cigarette jeans with black polo neck, a grey blazer and comfy flat shoes.

James Jeans Hunter Straight Jeans, Solstice on model

Smart casual outfit for going out – accessorize this outfit with a statement necklace and wear this to a party or to meet your friends for the night.

Smart Casual Wear for Women Image 1

We love this hot, chic look, especially the suede Ralph Lauren trousers matched up with a pastel pink blazer.

 

Business Casual Wear vs Smart Casual Wear

We are frequently asked what the difference is between smart casual wear and business casual wear. Many people think they are the same but they are not.

Business casual wear definition: Business casual wear is a mix between formal wear and smart wear. There are no casual items in the clothing mix for business casual.

The main difference between the two is that for business casual wear, you need to stick to collared shirts, trousers (no jeans), leather shoes and a jacket/blazer. Think about it like dressing formal but not having to wear a suit.

Examples of business casual wear for men and women

This model wears a shirt on a pair of beige military chinos with matching leather brown belt and shoes.

Checked Shirt with Blue Military Chino Trousers

This model wears a checked shirt on a pair of blue military chinos with matching leather brown belt and shoes.

Tan Slim Fit Corduroy by Ralph Lauren on model

This model wears a checked shirt on a pair of tan cords with matching leather brown belt and shoes.

This model looks elegant and sophisticated in a pair of blue trousers with a white pussy bow blouse.

Black Shift Dress on model

This model wears a classic black shift dress, knee length. A chamber watch and bracelet is what this model is missing.

A navy Karen Millen all-in-one dress which looks like two separate items, a pencil skirt and a v-neck blouse.

As a rule of thumb business casual wear is the smarter dress code from the two. Depending on where you are going, who you are meeting and the dress code, it is always better to be overdressed than under.

You can never be overdressed or over educated. Oscar Wilde“.

Tips

For work wear stick to neutral colors with a pinch of colour here and there to brighten up your day.  For going out and evening wear throw in a dash of gold, silver, glitter or sequence to sparkle up your night!  
There is nothing more distasteful than a man or woman wearing clothes which do not fit. There are clothes for all shapes and sizes. Learn what styles suit your shape best. Sometimes you may need to go up a size if the item does not fit you properly but it is better to wear a garment that fits than squeeze into one that will make you look bad and feel uncomfortable. 
When unsure, play it safe. This means if you are given a dress code but are unsure of who will be attending the event, it is much better to walk in overdressed and leave an impression rather than to walk in underdressed and feel unconfident and uncomfortable throughout the event. You cannot go wrong with a suit or an outfit with a blazer over for both male and female. 

Google Trends Graph

The Google Trends graph below illustrates an inclining graph for the fashion style search terms “Smart Casual” (see blue graph) and “Business Casual” (see red graph) from January 2004 to date. It is interesting to see the smart casual style increase in popularity with time.

Many companies are adopting the smart casual dress code especially companies in the iGaming industry, start up companies, technology companies and in general other non client-facing companies. If it is not the smart casual dress code, then it is business casual.