I am frequently asked how to put together a smart casual look (which shouldn’t be confused with semi formal or business casual dress codes). The simplest route is by dressing up smart jeans. Denim is not the only bottom option, (stretch cotton twill pants or skirts are another alternative), but it is the more adaptable choice. It can be worn with most colours or fabrics, and manages to tone down anything dressy that you put with it.
Smart casual dressing is about following a formula. Here are the components:
- Smart Jeans: get the darkest blue wash that you can find. Black and grey denim have made a comeback this season and are good substitutes – but blue is best. No holes, tears, faded areas or bleach marks. Trouser cut denim styles are another excellent option.
- Dressy top or collared shirt: select styled knitted tops in better end fabrications, woven girly tops or tailored collared shirts. Plain cru-neck T’s will not be smart enough.
- Knitwear or jacket: layer a fine-knit cardigan, pullover or fitted jacket over your first layer when it starts to get chilly.
- Trench coat or coat: top it off with a fitted trench or woolen winter coat.
- Heels: wearing smart shoes with some sort of heel is key. Fancy flats can be smart too, but are never as chic as heels.
- Bag: adding a dressy bag completes your smart casual look.
This dress code is extremely versatile. It can take you to work, shopping, date night, the theatre, PTA meetings, dinner parties, and evenings out. It’s my favourite way to dress.