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How To Dress For A “Smart Casual Dress Code” For Women



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When the invitation calls for a “smart casual dress code,” what’s a girl to wear? Whether it’s a work function or a wedding, the last thing you want to do is show up under-dressed and under-prepared. But the term ‘smart casual dress’ can be confusing and has left many a woman baffled. Smart Casual Dress Code means stepping up your casual, everyday look, without going over the top. You want to look presentable so you can catch up with your boss at a work event, without feeling too extra. That means nothing too revealing, no cocktail attire, and avoid ripped jeans. You can leave the glimmer and glam for another time.

Let’s break down some of the dos and don’ts of the smart-casual dress code. This will save you from the dreaded ‘try everything you own on’ and throwing your clothes around your room phase, and help you get right down to business. We’re breaking them down by function so you can get an idea of what to wear the next time you have to attend any of these events. 

What to Wear for Work Functions 

Grabbing happy hour with coworkers? Attending a private event with your work pals? These out-of-office events call for something sleek and professional. Assume you’re going to be networking and potentially opening doors for your next big promotion so you want what you’re wearing to reflect that you’re capable and put together.

We love neutral colors for these occasions because you can dress them up with some accessories without feeling like you might be going overboard. If it feels like you’re ready for a cocktail party, it might be a good idea to tone it down.  

Wear a pair of chic womens pants with your favorite mules and a fitted blazer. A layered necklace is also a nice touch. Searching for style inspiration? Meghan Markle nails the smart casual look. Every. Single. Time.

Nailing the Job Interview 

First impressions count, especially when it comes to meeting your potential future employer for the first time. Wondering what to wear to a job interview? A smart-casual outfit is a smart option. You don’t always have to wear a dress or pencil skirt and a white shirt. Do your research and see if you can find any photos online so you can get a feel of what people wear to the workplace. Are they a straight up and down corporate law firm? Or maybe they’re a more laid back, casual start-up? That will give you an idea of whether you should wear a blazer or not. 

A great go-to option is a wrap dress. Why? Because they’re versatile, yet classic. Feel confident in a wrap dress without feeling overdressed. No need to sweat, you’ve got this!

How to Dress for Casual Fridays 

It’s your first week on the job, and your manager reminds you about casual Fridays, the last thing you want to do is dress down too much. Here’s the thing, casual days at the office can mean different things for different people. Does anybody remember this episode of The Office?

Here are some tips for dressing appropriately for casual days at work.

  • Stay away from anything too short or too low-cut.
  • Avoid logos or distracting prints. There is a time and a place for your favorite team jersey. This is not it.
  • In some situations, jeans may be okay as long as they look professional. If you want to play it safe, opt for your favorite black pair.
  • Oversized sweaters look great, as long as it doesn’t look like you rolled out of bed.

You can’t go wrong with a cozy beige knit and camel-colored pants. Pair it with your favorite booties, and you’re ready to go!

Smart Casual Wedding

This is a tricky one. A smart casual wedding can mean so many things and the last thing you want to do is show up looking too relaxed at your best friend’s wedding. Opt for a crisp sundress, or separates like a stylish midi skirt, and a silk top.

Craving a pop of color? Go bold with your shoes. The best thing to do would be to look up the venue online to make sure your shoes are appropriate for walking, and your heels don’t slip into the grass. If it looks like there will be cobblestones to walk on, try a wedge heel to play it safe.

What Not to Wear

Avoid wearing anything too formal or too casual. There’s a fine line in between, and it’s called a smart casual dress code. If you’re going to wear sneakers, make sure they’re clean and look stylish. Save your denim shorts for the beach or your next holiday. For bottoms, a pleated skirt, tailored shorts or pants are a safe bet.

When attending an event that calls for a smart casual dress code, you’ll want to feel elegant and comfortable. Step up your look with a chic blazer, a stylish skirt, and low heels. Neutrals are the way to go, but if you want to add some color to your look, play up your accessories. Just because the evening calls for appropriate attire, that doesn’t mean you have to be boring. Shop well-fitting pieces that you can mix and match, so you never have to worry about what to wear again.

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Mahesh is leading digital marketing initiatives at RecentlyHeard, a NewsFeed platform that covers news from all sectors. He develops, manages, and executes digital strategies to increase online visibility, better reach target audiences, and create engaging experience across channels. With 7+ years of experience, He is skilled in search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and advertising, and analytics.

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