The smartest casual dressing guide for women

Dress codes can be quite confusing. Smart casual is a dress code we have all heard of, sure. But do we know what smart-casual dressing is all about? 

It is time to clear the confusion because we are here to shed some light on this rather complex dress code. The following is your ultimate guide to smart-casual dressing.


Let us first tell you what this ambiguous attire is all about. The smart casual dress code calls for a sophisticated yet comfortable outlook. This polished yet relaxed dress code embraces simplicity with a touch of elegance. Smart casual is one of the hardest dress codes to get right truly. It is an exciting hybrid of casual, cocktail, and professional.  

Owing to its overall aura, smart casual wear is often confused with business casual attire. Business casual dress code is quite comparable to smart-casual dressing, but the former category leans on the more conservative side. The latter, on the other hand, is bold and fashionable

You can wear smart casual attire for various events, including formal or family dinners, engagement parties, work events, and more.


What is smart casual dressing?

The dos and don'ts of smart casual wear

Let us look at the dos first. Smart casual outfits aim towards striking the perfect balance between professionalism and comfort. A smart casual outfit should be effortless yet polished. 

We recommend opting for smooth and flowing materials like silk, viscose, and satin. Avoid cotton and denim because they are too casual for the look you are going for. 

One of the best ways to take your look from regular to smart casual is with a blazer. A well-tailored blazer always gets the job done. 

For shoes, avoid sneakers. Everything else works just fine. You want to look professional and made up but not too overdressed. 

Coming down to the don'ts, avoid too many prints. Smart casual dress code is al about muter neutral tones and simple silhouettes.  

Refrain from going super professional with your ensemble. Smart casual is not business casual, so no pencil skirts or tailored suits. A knee-length dress or a pair of chic trousers is ideal for smart casual wear. If you want to dress them up, just throw a jacket on top.


Dinner Parties

Dinner parties are excellent for smart casual wear. We recommend mixing classic staples from your wardrobe to curate the ultimate smart-casual outfit. A pair of black pants paired with a fun and flirty blouse and pumps looks stunning. Similarly, you can wear something comfortable and elegant, like a pleated skirt paired with a button-down shirt and sandals. Complete your look with minimal accessories, and you are good to go.

Wedding parties

Smart casual attire can be tricky when it comes to weddings because weddings are formal events, and the last thing you want in your life is to be underdressed for the event. Therefore, our favorite and safest bet is a dress. Dresses flatter one and flatter all. They can easily be dressed up with the help of accessories that are fit for the occasion.  

Pick out a chic form-fitting knee-length or midi dress, matching statement earrings, and a pair of fabulous heels from xylondon.com to pack on a punch. Some other excellent options for weddings are jumpsuits and tailored pants. Jumpsuits need nothing but a pair of shoes and some earrings to complete your look. As for pants, you can wear them to a wedding paired with a lace or silk blouse and complete the look with a blazer on top, pumps, and minimal jewelry.

Office wear

Smart casual attire is quickly becoming a hot favorite for office wear. Unlike business casual, smart casual attire is more versatile and has more options to play with. It is the best of both worlds. Not only does it make you look polished and professional, but it allows you to be comfortable as well. 

Put aside the pantsuit and instead style your suit's pieces separately. Pair your pants with a different blouse and sport your blazer over anything from skinny pieces of denim to a dress. This is the perfect way to make your wardrobe more versatile and effortless. Try to keep it simple with statement pieces and colors. Accessorize with a hint of color to add contrast to your look. No more boring office wear – smart casual is the way to go. 

Daytime events

Daytime events are super fun to dress up for because it is effortless and comfy. Try a pair of pants with a graphic tee and a blazer. Play it safe with a midi skirt, a button-down shirt, and a statement belt. Try pairing a pencil skirt with something cozy like a cashmere cardigan. 


Smart casual attire for different occasions

Smart casual outfit ideas

When it comes to smart-casual outfits, it is essential to build your look using one piece at a time.


For smart-casual events, opt for a dress that leans more towards the conservative side. Opt for something like a wrap dress or a form-fitting knee-length number. Neutral tones are the best because they are subtle yet stunning. Make sure that the neckline is not too revealing. If you wish to opt for a African maxi dress, that would be very attractive and effective idea. Pair your dress with heels, a statement bag, and some earrings, and you are ready. 

H&M and ZARA have a fantastic assortment of dresses ranging for all sorts of social settings. 


While jeans can be too casual for smart casual wear, you can dress them up with the help of complementing pieces. Elevating casual trousers requires a chic and sophisticated partner such as a blazer or a cardigan, perhaps. You can sport your jeans with a crisp button-down shirt and a coat too. Avoid sneakers and instead opt for something elegant like a pair of statement heels to balance the look. 

If you are on the lookout for a statement pair of jeans, we recommend shopping from tried and tested labels like Levi's, Old Navy, or Gap. 


Smart casual tops are hard to find, honestly. An excellent pick is button-down dress shirts. Another classic is turtlenecks. Long-sleeved tops work well too. Wear them with anything ranging from jeans and dress pants to skirts and palazzos. 


A jacket may seem like an unlikely pick for smart casual wear, but jackets are perfect if you wish to elevate a basic look. Be it a sleeveless blazer, a leather jacket, or perhaps a bomber jacket, and you can style it in an infinite number of ways. Just make sure to balance the lookout. For blazers, you can opt for casual items like jeans and tees. For leather jackets, you should opt for something more polished and sleek to make the overall look appear more cohesive. 

Try your luck with Skin Outfits if you are searching for a good leather jacket in the market. 


Accessories play a vital role as they can make or break your outfits. Therefore, it is critical to choose the right bag, shoes, and jewelry to bring your whole look together. 

For jewelry, it is best to keep it simple. Dainty layered necklaces, studs, and bracelets are the perfect way to add a hint of sparkle to your look. 

For bags, we suggest opting for something sophisticated yet straightforward like a clutch, a classic tote, a sling bag, or perhaps a bucket bag. Avoid casual backpacks and structured office bags. 

For shoes, anything works really. Kitten heels, loafers, pumps, mules, block heels, stilettos, and boots work brilliantly well for smart casual wear.


Smart casual dressing is all about looking elegant and classy yet laid back and relaxed. Dating back to the 1920s, the term "smart casual" has evolved over the years. We all have a different understanding of it. While smart-casual ensembles may need more thought to execute, when done correctly, they pack on a punch. Use our dressing guide to become well versed in the art of smart-casual dressing.