Tag Archives: events

So, What Exactly IS Smart Casual?

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So, What Exactly IS Smart Casual?

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.

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You can’t go wrong with a pretty floral dress.

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.

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Cute boots are always a safe bet!

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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Hello, stilettos!

Featured Image By: Flickr

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Monday Update: Special Olympics Edition

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Monday Update: Special Olympics Edition

Hi everyone and happy Monday! This past week, my Special Olympic ice skaters competed in the winter games and it was totally awesome. The events took place on Wednesday and Thursday and they were single handedly some of the best days of my life. On Wednesday my sister, Kristen, joined me at the competition and the banquet that followed later in the evening. It was so nice to have her keeping me company and all of my skaters and their families just loved her! The days of the competitions were long but they were so worth it, so let’s discuss:

Wednesday’s competitions were the races for the speed skaters and then the figure skaters would compete in their skills and compulsorary events. On Thursday, the figure skaters would perform their music routines. Wednesday started out much too early for my liking because I had to get up, get ready, pick Kristen up, and then make the twenty minute drive to the rink so I could prepare my skaters for the events an hour or so beforehand. I felt like a zombie but god knows I looked fabulous! 😉

Once we arrived at the rink, my tiredness was a thing of the past because seeing all of the athletes and their families was so energizing! Everyone was so excited and I couldn’t wait to soak up all of the positivity and happiness that everyone was exuding. It was so much fun to make my rounds to all of the athletes upon our arrival and introduce my sister to all of my friends. I was so touched by the warm greetings I got from all of my skaters and their families. I think the athletes were more excited about Kristen being there than me though because they got a brand new person to show off to!

The events started promptly at ten with the speed skaters on the hockey rink and the figure skaters on the practice rink. I had athletes competing on both rinks so I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I had skaters to give pep talks to, athletes to cheer for, and competitors that I had to track down that were going to be competing next. I didn’t mind the fast pace though and thanks to my time management skills, I was able to watch almost all of the skaters that are in my group compete.

Saying that I was proud of all of the athletes was a severe understatement and before I knew it, the events were over for the day. After all of the events were complete, we made our way to the hockey rink for the award ceremony. It was so special to be able to watch the athletes and my students receiving their medals on the podium. I loved seeing the big smiles, surprised faces, and arms raised in victory of all of the competitors. One of my students, Rick, ran to his family after he received his medals and went in for a big hug from his aunt. During the hug he kept saying “I’m so happy, I’m so happy” and I started bawling my eyes out! I was so proud of everyone and being able to see them celebrate and know that they did a fantastic job was the cherry on top of a perfect morning.

After the award ceremony, Kristen and I stuck around for a little bit while everyone had lunch and then we rolled out. Kristen treated me to lunch and then we went back to her apartment to rest and watch Netflix until the banquet in the evening. The banquet for the Special Olympics winter games was held at the Clarion Hotel. There was going to be speeches, dinner, and some good old fashioned tom foolery.

Kristen and I got to the hotel around six and made it right in the nick of time because shortly after we got there it was time to eat. Dinner was served buffet style followed by a huge piece of chocolate cake. Once everyone finished eating, there was a bit of a lull so we could all chat and digest while the dance floor got cleared off. Before we knew it, the dance floor was cleared, a DJ was playing, and disco lights were flashing. That’s when the real fun began!

As soon as the music started playing, Kristen and I ran to the dance floor with our friends so we could get our groove on. We were all dancing and singing along to songs from Grease and the Top 40 hits. My sister and I had such a blast dancing the night away. We were on the dance floor for over an hour and by the time we left, everyone was still dancing and jumping around! Clearly, all of the athletes have far more energy than I! Take a look at some of my pictures from the banquet:

^^^ I love us!!!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million more times, I am so unbelievably proud of all of my students and the athletes who competed at the Special Olympics winter games. I’m so thankful for all of my new friends and I’m so happy that my sister got to share in the fun with us. It has been such a privilege to be able to coach such a talented group of athletes and I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had for anything! Coach Sarah loves you guys! ❤

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: Special Olympics Edition! The winter games were a great success and I’m so grateful that I could be a part of it. What is your favorite winter sport? What sports did you used to compete in or are competing in now? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah