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How to Dress for a Smart Casual Event

Smart casual is a common dress code for events that don’t require formal dress, such as weddings or christenings. When first met with the prospect of a smart casual dress code, it can be challenging to work out precisely what it means, as these two words are contradictory. In this article, we look at some options for smart casual outfits and tips to help you look great at your event. 

Consider the season

Your smart casual outfit should reflect the season. Choose colours and fabrics that match the season and current weather. Avoid wearing summer dresses in the winter or autumn, as you will feel cold and look out of place. If rain is forecasted, ensure you carry an umbrella or a coat to keep you dry. When you wear an appropriate outfit for the season, you’re less likely to stand out and draw attention to yourself for the wrong reasons.

Dress down a smart look

An easy way to dress for a smart casual event is to pair a smart outfit with more casual items and accessories. For example, take a smart, fitted dress and pair it with boots and a cardigan for a more relaxed look. If you feel too underdressed at the event, you can take off your cardigan and put on a suit jacket; a great tip is to keep a spare suit jacket in your car or store it in the coat area at the event. In the summer, you can dress down a smarter outfit by pairing it with sandals instead of boots. For those who like to wear suits, opt for skinny jeans instead of suit trousers to transform the outfit from smart to smart casual. 

Dress up a casual outfit

You can also take the opposite approach and choose one of your favourite casual outfits, but make some tweaks to dress it up for the smart casual event. You can dress up jeans and a t-shirt by switching the t-shirt for a blouse and combining it with a pair of smart heels or flat shoes. A casual shift dress can be transformed into a smart casual outfit by adding a belt to bring in your waist and pairing it with a smart, tailored jacket and a pair of business heels or flat shoes. 

Keep things simple

When dressing for a smart casual event and unsure what to wear, you should keep things simple and muted. Avoid too many loud contrasting colours and prints that will draw attention, especially if you feel uncomfortable. 

Try on several looks

The key to picking an outfit you love for an event is trying on several different looks. The first place to start is with your wardrobe, you might already have something that works well, or you can use pieces from your closet and purchase extra items to complement them and complete the look. Visit a clothing store where you can mix and match items to create a look you feel comfortable in and can’t wait to wear. Getting a second opinion from a friend or family member can help if you struggle to choose between different outfits.


Accessories are a great way to create a smart casual outfit from casual pieces of clothing. The right level of jewellery dresses up any outfit, but avoid wearing too much jewellery as it can look messy. Opt for a few pieces of jewellery that compliment your look. If you’ve chosen muted or neutral colours, you can add patterns and textures through your jewellery for an alternative and more interesting look.

Go smarter

It’s much better to feel slightly overdressed than underdressed at any important event. If you’re unsure, opt for a slightly smarter look with layers you can remove. A tailored jacket is a great extra item you can simply take off if you feel a bit overdressed. Looking smart will give a good impression, especially if you’re attending a work event or on the first day of your new job. How you feel in your outfit is also critical; when you feel confident and well dressed, you will portray confidence and positive qualities to the new people you meet at the event. 


Womens Clothing – Ameba Ownd

Clothing Shops – Hype.News

Women’s Clothing Australia – Matters

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