Smart Casual Dress Code: What To Wear

It’s the party dictates that’s the most puzzling… The smart casual dress code… but which part is smart? How casual is casual? While a black tie or cocktail dress code is far clearer (you need to dress up) a smart casual dress code could leave you sobbing into your wardrobe in bafflement. Instead, step away from dress code confusion and follow GLAMOUR’S ultimate guide to nailing the smart casual dress code for any event this Summer.

What does the smart casual dress code mean?

As wider society moves towards more casual attitudes and casual outfits (blame WFH and lockdown loungewear) dress codes are a far more flexible affair than even just a decade ago. It’s also worth noting that some traditional establishments are abolishing dress codes entirely to ensure they are more accessible and inclusive. We are here for it.

You’re most likely to encounter a smart casual dress code request for daytime events. While you might think adding a dress code to an invitation as restrictive or old-fashioned, they’re meant with good intentions, namely to help guests navigate what’s appropriate and narrow down the options in our over-flowing wardrobes.

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How to tackle a smart casual dress code?

First up, work out what the event is for (is it a work to do or your cousin’s baby shower?) Then consider where it’s taking place… will you be in the ballroom of a posh hotel or a country garden? Did you get invited via a stiff piece of card engraved in copperplate font months ago, or via text the previous weekend? This will give you clues as to what level of formality is expected so you can decide what would be right for that invite.

Work colleagues, with maybe a mix of older age groups, might be more to the smart end of the spectrum. But at the family baby shower you’ll likely be among the people you can dress more casually with. A venue in the country – and outside – will call for a more informal take on styling yourself. If you’re in doubt, message the host and ask them what they’re wearing to get a guide for your own outfit.

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How to plan a smart casual outfit

There are a few ways you can get the dress code absolutely bang on…

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