The dreaded smart-casual dress code: a how to guide!
The dreaded smart-casual dress code is my least favourite dress code of all time. Do I dress smart or casual? How casual is too casual? Or, how smart is too smart?
Over the years, after attending events with this dress code, I have figured it out (although it still does send shivers of nervousness down my spine).
I decided that the best way to dress is a bit dressier than expected, simply because I don’t want to be the only one to turn up in jeans and a nice top (which, incidentally, is one of my favourite things to wear on dates and to casual parties).
Instead of jeans, I would instead wear a nice pair of trousers, not too corporate though. I’d usually pair these with my nice flats or a pair of heels.
But usually, I wear one of my many dresses. I have a bit of an addiction to buying dresses, which has actually served me pretty well.
I bought this one in Sydney nearly 9 years ago! I still wear it (and I actually call it my date dress because I wear it on first dates).
Here is a better view of that dress:
Another good way to go is to wear an LBD.
You can never go wrong with a little black dress. They are definitely something every girl should have in their wardrobe! I always gravitate towards my LBD when I have a party to go to, I even wore it to the graduation ceremony at the school I worked at last year! Unfortunately, despite looking through Instagram and facebook, I can’t seem to find a photo of it. I fear I may have to take one just for this blog post 😀
Here are some ideas of smart-casual outfits you can wear from my archives:
As you can see from the above photos, it is good to find a silhouette or pattern that you like.
It’s also important to find materials that suit the smart-casual dress code – generally, I find that quite thick material is best as I find it keeps its shape and also doesn’t get too wrinkled.
If you were planning on doing a spot of shopping to find some smart-casual looks, I highly suggest hitting up your local second-hand store or going on a day trip to vintage stores or charity stores in a town or city near you. Most of my clothes are from second-hand stores, as I like sustainability, and it is much cheaper than going out and buying brand new clothes that you may only wear once or twice. That is why I buy staples like these that I wear more than once to parties and events. I am a serial outfit repeater!
So, how can you dress to the dreaded smart-casual dress code?
I’ve never bought anything from People Tree, but I really love the look of their clothes. What is awesome is how they create sustainable and ethical clothes:
Mayamiko is a brand that uses African, Italian and Asian tradition textiles. They are also an ethical and sustainable brand!
I love the pattern on the above dress, and omg the sleeves!
During my search for dresses, I decided I should probably have a look at the options they have for the curvy girls. I was surprised at how expensive everything seemed, and there weren’t a lot of options too. However, I found this brand that does ‘plus sizes’:
For things like shoes, look no further than these amazingly gorgeous heels. These ones are by the ethical brand Alterre, and they are interchangeable, meaning that you can change the straps etc.
I also shop around with shoes and see if I can find (unworn) shoes at charity or second-hand shops.
Most of the time with shoes I try to find classic styles, that way I can wear them with multiple outfits and for multiple dress codes. I like buying neutral colours, and black or white.
I always say that the dreaded smart-casual dress code is the one I find most difficult to dress for, but what dress code do you find the most difficult to dress for?
Have a read of some of my other fashion posts: