Smart Casual Dress Code

What is Smart Casual Dress Code?

Smart casual is best described as a casual dress code that is neat and tidy. Casual may be some ripped jeans, tee shirt, and flip-flops. Smart casual would be a clean and neat pair of jeans, button-down shirt, and clean loafers or sandals. It’s just a slight difference and feels like you are “dressing up” your casual attire. This is a hard dress code to define as many people interpret it differently. Your best bet is to always confirm with an organizer or management what is appropriate for smart casual.

Smart Casual Dress Code for Women

We highly recommend avoiding any clothing is ripped, holey, or dirty looking for the smart casual look. Button-down, polo, our blouses are perfect additions with a pair of jeans. Sandals are preferable over flip-flops. Boots or low heels can certainly take place of the sneaker for a smarter look. Makeup and minimal jewelry also add to the feel of “dressing up” your outfit.

Smart Casual Dress Code for Men

It’s almost the same for men as it is for women. No ripped, torn, holey, or dirty looking clothing. Polo’s, solid color tees, and button-down shirts all contribute to the smart look. Footwear could include Birkenstocks rather than flip-flops. Sneakers are accepted if they are free of grime, dirt, and smudges. Loafers are your best bet and you can opt for a clean boot in the cooler months.

What Should I Wear if the Dress Code is “Smart Casual”?

Firstly, it depends on the environment you will be in. Smart casual is great for an afternoon date and the sky is fairly unlimited. Avoid ripped clothing and your footwear should be appropriate to the season and the locale of the date. Picnic in the park? Sandals and Birkenstocks are perfect and heels or dirty sneakers should be avoided. Smart casual at work may come with more details for the office environment. Some offices do not allow for tee shirts or sneakers to be worn as smart casual. For the office, we recommend dark jeans or pants, a button-down or polo, and loafers or low heels. Any environment that dictates a dress code should be clarified by management or an organizer. Smart casual is defined differently across the board and is one of the most confusing dress codes out there.

Smart Casual Dress Code Trends in 2018

For both men and women, 2018 is the year of the blazer. Blazers are simply a great addition to any outfit to dress it up a bit. Most people equate blazers with professionalism and intelligence. Hence why it’s a popular trend for smart casual.

Shoes for the gentlemen lean heavily towards boots, loafers, and Oxfords. The important thing is to be sure that the shoe you choose is comfortable. For the ladies, it’s all about comfort and style. Heeled loafers are a fantastic option for the office or dinner. Sandals with a wedge heel add a lot of spice to your outfit. Low heels for a date or shopping trip are a great way to add extra “oomph” to your attire.

Shirts for the men rely heavily on a button-down shirt because of it’s simple and perfect aesthetic. 2018 is about breaking away from the classics so we encourage you to break out of the shell and add some pizazz. Denim, gingham or tartan patterns, and even chambray materials spruce things up and show off your sense of style. The ladies have always had lots of dressy options in the shirt department. This year we see lots of women opting for brightly colored or patterned blouses that reflect a personal style. Or ladies are opting for the feminine version of the button-down and exalting their inner strength through style.

Accessories for the gentlemen have always been a piece to the puzzle that men have struggled with. Ties are always optional and are a classic staple in every wardrobe. 2018 is the year of the pocket square. Yes, that item that was popular in the 50’s is making its way back into style. Rather than opting for a tie, pick a nicely colored or pattern pocket square to spruce things up a bit. Ladies have a wide range of accessories to choose from and the one thing we notice this year is the rise of the belt. Back in the 80’s, everyone incorporated belts into their outfits and ladies are doing the same in 2018. Don’t be shy, have fun with it!

Companies That Have Smart Casual Dress Codes

Newer companies have been jumping on more casual dress codes for employees. Many employees now view more formal attire as anxiety-ridden and unnecessary to get the work done. There is also a rise of remote workers who may only communicate through email and phone calls, calling for more flexibility in their attire needs.  Younger employees just love to work in an environment that focuses on their work rather than on their attire. The following are a few companies that have incorporated casual and smart casual dress codes.

  1. Google – A company that hires plenty of millennials and attracts them with relaxed clothing requirements
  2. Zappos – They have seen a rise in productivity when employees aren’t worried about their clothing
  3. Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg has always worn jeans and hoodies and his employees follow suit
  4. Electronic Arts – they want to make a mark on the gaming world, not the suit market
  5. Twitter – minimal human contact means wearing what you want
  6. LinkedIn – It may be a platform for the career-minded but it doesn’t dictate what to wear.
  7. Quicken Loans – Finances is there concern and why may employees spend more on attire?
  8. Genentech – They work to save lives, the dress isn’t of any concern
  9. Apple – The turtleneck and jeans are most equated with the company, of course they would be relaxed about dress codes
  10. Buzzfeed – a millennial company that is designed for the younger generations. It’s just natural that they would dictate a relaxed environment clothes-wise.

Dress Code With Jeans

Smart casual and casual are the only dress codes that permit jeans. Depending on the environment will dictate if jeans are a yay or nay. Offices may prefer that you wear dark jeans rather than light denim or stonewashed. Always opt for neat and tidy jeans and avoid anything ripped or torn. Ripped jeans are great for at home and a night on the town, not in the office.  Shoes can also get tricky. Sandals may be alright for an office setting but if you work somewhere around heavy machinery or in a kitchen, no slip shoes are far better and safer option. When in doubt, speak with your employer or event manager to find out if your attire is appropriate.

Does Smart Casual Require a Tie?

No! You can opt to wear a tie or a pocket square with your smart casual look but it’s never required.  If you do opt to wear a tie with your outfit, you can opt for a skinny tie or something with a wild pattern. Wild patterns tend to be frowned upon in business formal settings but when it’s smart casual, you have a lot of options. Take advantage of the ability to express your own personal style with a little flash.