What is smart casual dressing?

Updated April 17, 2017

Smart casual dressing is also known as business casual and is usually the preferred dress code for most professional settings like an office, symposiums, academia, church, and some school activities. The function of smart casual dress is to make the person look well put together and professional, but in a slightly more relaxed environment.

For Men: Tops

Smart casual or business casual dress for men is a clean, ironed shirt with a collar (like a polo or button down) and only a jacket if the weather permits. Another thing to remember is that business casual also usually means no tie.

For Men: Pants

Smart casual trousers for men should be either khakis or chinos that are pressed. They can be in any colour (as long as its not too over the top), but black or tan are the preferred colours. Jeans are definitely not an option.

For Men: Shoes

Business casual shoes for men are dress shoes, either brown or black but sometimes grey. And remember to never wear tennis shoes.

For Women: Tops

Smart or business casual dress for women is a little more flexible than for men. Tops can include blouses, stylish knit tops, a nice sweater set, or classic sleeveless tops with a cardigan or jacket.

For Women: Bottoms

When choosing smart or business casual bottoms, women should wear khakis or black dress trousers, knee-length skirts, or pantsuits. Again, jeans are definitely not an option.

For Women: Shoes

For shoes, women would do best to wear either dressy flats or mid to low heels. Sometimes, chic boots can be worn as long as they have a slight heel.

In Summary

The thing to remember about business or smart casual is that it should be modest and neat in appearance, but comfortable. And remember, this dress style does not allow for tennis shoes (which includes Converse style shoes) or jeans.

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About the Author

Veronica Scott is currently a graduate student at Ohio University, studying film. She holds a BS in Film Studies with a minor in Creative Writing and Art History from the University of Idaho. She has been published in the film magazine Cineaste as well as the McNair Journal.