Ever had one of those occasions where you simply don’t know how to dress for it? Maybe you’ve been invited to a party where you don’t know the people or the vibe or maybe you are going somewhere during the daytime and you don’t want to look overdressed. Although no one will mind if you are dressed a little bit differently (unless you’re in something totally outrageous, that is) it can make you feel awkward and self-conscious. At a social event, that is the absolute last thing you want as it can end up hindering your whole experience there.
But what do you do when you have no idea what kind of outfit is suitable for a specific occasion and you either can’t or don’t want to ask in advance? The best thing to do here is to go smart casual. The ‘smart cas’ look has been around for decades and isn’t always the easiest thing to get right as there is plenty of ambiguity over what constitutes ‘smart’ and what constitutes ‘casual’! The important thing is not to overthink it – as long as it’s not too sparkly, tight, or short you’re probably on the right track! So, with that in mind, here are some easy looks that mean you are ALWAYS dressed for the occasion:
A Dress: You might hear the word ‘dress’ and think immediately, that this is too formal for smart casual. But in reality, there are plenty of ways that you can rock a dress and still not look like you are taking yourself too seriously. Remember, that dresses come in all shapes and styles. A cute tea dress is demure while still being flirty – opt for something that kicks out from the waist, which is a cut that flatters pretty much every body type. Go for a floral print and pair it with some cute pumps for the daytime or with some heeled sandals for a fun evening look.
If you need to look a little more corporate in your smart casual ensemble, stick to muted colors such as grey and choose a classic shift dress. Pair with some knee high boots and a jacket. But remember, if your dress is already very tailored, soften the look with a waterfall jacket, or something else that is a bit less structured. All-over tailoring does, unfortunately, emphasize the ‘smart’ aspect of smart casual a little too much.
Top & Jeans: If you were ever looking for a classic smart-casual combination, it doesn’t come much better than the top and jeans pairing. The jeans are the staple piece for this outfit, so make sure that you invest in a pair that is clearly of good quality. It might mean spending a little more money but trust us – other people can spot cheap denim from a mile off. Skinny or slim-fit jeans are the most versatile and the more flattering on basically any figure, despite what social norms about slim fitting clothes are.
If you are a little more conscious of your stomach area, simply opt for a high-waisted pair that will nip you in at your waist. The top can pretty much be anything you like, but try to avoid cotton T-shirts and tank tops as they look a little too low-key. A lace or satin blouse is always a fail safe option. As far as footwear goes, try and judge the occasion as best as you can. Sometimes heels might be necessary, but other times you might even be able to get away with trainers – providing that they are something classic, like women’s Adidas originals.
Co-ords: While it’s advisable not to don anything too outrageous for a smart casual event, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still have fun with some interesting pieces of fashion. We first saw the trend for the co-ord emerge early last year and it remains a useful item in the wardrobe of many women today. Remember that a co-ord is very different from a suit: you can get them in varying prints and colors, so don’t be afraid to go bold! Plus, you can ditch the traditional top and trouser combination for all kinds of different mismatches. Why not go for a wide leg, high waisted trouser paired with a crop top (this will make your legs go on for miles) or opt for a boxy shirt layered over a matching A-line skirt? Whatever you choose, your co-ord set is going to take all of the stress out of deciding what to wear!
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