As all fashionistas know, defining and detailing a particular dressing style is a no-brainer nowadays. We have the know-how and the experience precisely to determine the differences between “boardroom attire,” “black-tie outfits” and boho fashion for instance. But when it comes to describing the “casual-smart” style things get blurry. Not even the dictionaries can pinpoint an exact definition, as they go along the lines of “neat, conventional, yet relatively informal in style” – and this is just the Oxford Dictionary. All in all, the casual-smart style is still ill-defined, suggesting a mash-up of formal and informal clothes usually worn in office environments and looking not too uptight but not too laid back either. However, today we will take a look at some leading smart-casual clothes and accessories and see how we can pull off such an outfit without much effort.
1. The Blazer
One of the essential elements of this style, playing on the “smart” side of things is a blazer. When taking your blazer to the office or a meeting, make sure you follow some of the next tips:
- Your blazer should always be tailor-fitted – as compared to loose or boxy. It will flatter your waistline and bust and will comply with the definition of “neat” and “composed.”
- Pick a blazer in a neutral color that is versatile enough to be paired with other nuances and pieces of clothing. If you choose a jacket in a bolder, more vivid color, than make sure it becomes the focal point of your attire. You can always tone it down a notch with your other pieces.
- You can always wear black, white or a classic English pattern on your blazer – just make sure you manage to match the rest of your clothes, so it doesn’t become noisy.
- For a more masculine look, pick a blazer sporting a patch pocket – this is an iconic element of the classic Italian fashion.
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2. The Shirt
When it comes to shirts and blouses, women have plenty of options to achieve a composed outfit without going over the top. Here are some tips:
- You can wear the brightly colored shirt or blouse whenever you want – provided you chose a blazer in a neutral color or an earthy down-toned one.
- Your shirts, blouses, and tops should be fitted and not slouchy even if they are made of light and flow-y fabrics like silk
3. The Skirt & Trousers
Dressing the bottom part of your body is probably the easiest task when you go for a smart-casual outfit. If you already picked up a blazer and a blouse, you can wear a pencil skirt, skinny jeans, flared jeans, slim fit trousers, and even maxi skirts if properly balanced by a jacket. Let’s see a few more tips:
- While denim is timeless and always appropriate, you should stick to a darker blue nuance or even black.
- Pick a skirt or a pair of trousers in a neutral shade if you blocked color or pattern on your upper part of the body.
- You may feel compelled to wear cropped pants – make sure they are fitted, slim, slick and don’t push you into a beach mode.
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4. The Shoes
A smart-casual outfit allows you to wear high heels and flats but makes sure they are always closed-toe in design. Whether you want to emphasize on the “smart” by wearing heels or on the casual by wearing flats, your shoes need to match the rest of your attire.
- Fashion experts recommend you to wear nude shoes (high-heeled or flat) – they are versatile and go great with any outfit no matter its color scheme, and they complement your body by making your legs look longer and slimmer. Make sure you pick a pair of nudes in a shade that matches your skin tone. And if you sport a summer tan, make sure the nudes also work together with your golden bronze skin.
- While you should always keep your trainers for your gym class, you can be bold enough to wear some cute sneakers for more informal occasions. You can wear even brightly colored ones if you want to add a dash of the laidback style and the rest of the outfit allows it. Some novelty prints and shoe graphics are also welcomed in less informal environments.
- Oxfords and close-toe slip-on are a good idea as well.
5. The Accessories
The casual-smart style allows you to wear a myriad of jewelry and accessories as they are the ones completing the outfit and styling it up or down.
- One statement necklace should be enough to make you look stylish and trendy without overwhelming the “casual” side of your attire.
- You can sport an entire collection of stylish canvas backpacks as they are feminine, versatile and work great with the jacket and slim-fit trousers or even skirts.
- If you watch celebrities’ fashion choices, you will find that a large classic black office bag goes insanely great with sneakers as long as the jacket and the trousers fit in the overall scheme.
- Try pearls as jewelry – they can turn a genuinely casual outfit into a very smart one in a second.
- In summer, you should always wear some modern and cool sunglasses.
- Other feminine accessories like scarves, gloves, a hat or some hair accessories are allowed for a more composed look.
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Before trying some or all of these fashion tips, remember that there are a very fine line and the difference between business-casual wear and smart-casual wear. Depending on the dress code of your company and your personal style, you can mix them without much fuss. However, keep in mind that the smart-casual style is all about looking good and feeling good – and your personal comfort should always be a priority.
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Dana Hughes is a fashion blogger who finished the Creative Writing program at Florida State University. Dana does what she most enjoys: writing original fashion articles that inspire readers to showcase their individuality and bring out their personal style.