1. Starting a New Job
    2. Guide to Smart Casual Dress Code

    By Indeed Editorial Team

    Updated 11 February 2021 | Published 25 March 2020

    Updated 11 February 2021

    Published 25 March 2020

    Related: What to Wear to an Interview: Professional, Business Casual and Smart Casual

    Check out Ingrid Nilsen's interview look-book for inspiration on making a great first impression.

    Selecting an outfit for your first day of work, a networking event or an interview can be a challenge, especially if you're unsure about what is considered acceptable to wear. While it is certainly necessary to follow any existing dress codes for professional events, you should also feel comfortable and confident in your clothes so you can feel the same way during the event.

    If you like to combine form and function in your workwear, smart casual dress can be an excellent choice as it combines comfort with a professional, trendy appearance. In the UK, many offices now have a smart casual dress code throughout the week.

    In this article, we provide a guide to smart casual attire that will help you learn more about this dress option for your next professional endeavour.

    What is smart casual?

    Smart casual is a professional dress option that incorporates trendy pieces into an outfit to achieve a clean yet comfortable, stylish appearance. Smart casual dress codes allow people to portray a professional image while feeling comfortable in what they wear.

    A smart casual wardrobe should include versatile clothes that are comfortable. Ideally, most pieces of clothing can work with one another to form a variety of outfits for your professional life. There is a wide variety of clothing options to choose from for smart casual wear including skirts, dresses, trousers, slacks, jumpers, collared shirts, blouses, blazers and jackets, depending on the occasion. In building your looks, pair complementary colours or choose one pop of colour to brighten up a neutral base.⁠

    Related: Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

    Smart casual wear vs business casual wear

    You may hear both 'smart casual' and 'business casual' when talking about proper workplace attire. Both styles give you a professional appearance without having to wear suits or other stereotypically 'professional' clothing. The main difference is that smart casual clothing incorporates more trendy, fashionable pieces including chukkas, patterned sweaters, polos or trainers (in some cases). Dress shoes, high heels, blazers and loafers are better as business casual options.

    Related: The Essential Job Search Guide

    Types of smart casual outfits

    Smart casual dress code spans a spectrum of formality and a variety of events. Below are two broad categories of smart casual outfits to serve as a guideline for specific situations:

    Dressed up

    In general, you should opt for the most dressed up smart casual wear in more formal situations. These formal situations include office award ceremonies and important presentations. It's better to be overdressed than underdressed, so consider a crisp button-up shirt and blazer paired with chinos and dark boots for more formal situations.

    Informal interviews, which often take place at a cafe or over lunch, typically call for a smart casual outfit. When choosing smart casual clothing for an informal interview, err on the side of caution and go for a dressier look. Dressier choices include fine-gauge cardigans, wool overcoats, blouses and button-up shirts. Choose structured handbags and satchels as better smart-casual options over backpacks at an informal interview.

    Related: Guide: How to Succeed at a Hiring Event or Open Interview

    More casual

    Many companies have a smart casual dress code in place for their daily work, particularly for jobs that aren't customer-facing, like academia and corporate work. Networking events and company training days often ask attendants to use smart casual clothing. These scenarios are less formal than interviews or meetings with company executives, and you can opt for a more relaxed look to your outfit, incorporating patterned sweaters or polos. Jeans and trainers can also work when you need a less formal look.

    Smart casual clothing for men

    A few essential pieces serve as the foundation for a men's smart casual wardrobe. These can be mixed and matched to create a number of distinct outfits. The ideal smart casual look includes a balanced combination of complementary formal and informal pieces, including:

    • Trousers

    • Shirts

    • Jackets and blazers

    • Shoes and accessories


    When building your smart casual collection, shopping for trousers is a good place to start. If possible, every smart casual professional should invest in a quality pair of non-ripped denim jeans with straight legs and a tailored fit. Dark wash jeans are best for smart casual clothing. Jeans provide a classic look that fits into numerous environments and can be dressed up as needed.

    You can also invest in chinos or casual cotton trousers in several different colours, such as navy and tan. Chinos serve as a base for any smart casual outfit and look great in many different settings. If you're going for an interview and the employer requests smart casual clothing, wear chinos over jeans to present a more professional appearance.


    Examples of smart casual shirts include short- and long-sleeve button-downs, Henleys and classic T-shirts. Because T-shirts can border on merely casual, opt for classic polo T-shirts without graphics or large, complex designs. You can also incorporate jumpers by dressing them up with the right pair of pants and shoes.  If you feel comfortable with colours and patterns, you might also invest in statement pieces that can be paired with solid basics.

    Jackets and blazers

    Jackets are a great option to help mix up your outfits, and they look great in both formal and informal settings. An unstructured, dark blazer can create a smart, professional look without being too dressy. Shop for blazers that you feel comfortable wearing both at the office and out on the town. If possible, get a tailored blazer to keep it trendy and put-together.

    Shoes and accessories

    Make sure you have a couple of pairs of professional shoes such as Oxfords or loafers for more formal occasions and a pair of clean leather, canvas or suede trainers for casual situations. To complete the look, opt for classic accessories such as a leather belt and a wristwatch. As a general rule, you can keep your look cohesive by matching your belt to your shoes.

    Smart casual attire for women

    Women have many different options when putting together a smart casual outfit. From skirts to jeans and blouses to button-downs, choose versatile pieces you can pair with several others in your wardrobe. If you're unsure about more trendy styles, opt for basics that make you feel comfortable and confident. Examples of this type of clothing include:

    Pants and skirts

    To begin, give yourself a foundation of slacks, chinos or jeans. These pair nicely with a structured jacket or a nice blouse. You can also incorporate skirts into your wardrobe. Opt for longer skirts or those that hit just below the knee, such as pencil skirts. Such skirts come in a variety of different fabrics. Try experimenting with denim or corduroy to pair with basic tops and jackets. Dark pants and skirts that are solid in colour or have a subtle pattern pair well with a variety of tops.


    Nearly any top works well in a smart casual outfit as long as it is clean, conservative and free of holes or wrinkles. Examples of smart casual tops include sweaters, Henleys, button-downs, blouses and nice T-shirts. Be careful when mixing patterns and make sure that any graphics are appropriate for the office.


    Dresses are a good option for an easy outfit on days when you don't have much time or simply want to feel professional and comfortable. For a more formal outfit, combine a dress with a pair of low heels and simple jewellery. For less formal environments, you can pair your dress with more stylish jewellery, a denim jacket and casual footwear, such as flats or open-toe shoes.

    Gender-neutral smart casual wear

    There are also many gender-neutral options available to any person who wants to look professional and stylish. The most important thing is that your clothes fit well and you feel comfortable wearing them.

    Some of the most basic and attractive smart casual outfits can be considered gender-neutral. For example, a pair of grey slacks, a white button-up shirt and a simple black jacket with loafers look great on anyone and can be worn in nearly any professional setting.

    Here are several examples of gender-neutral smart casual clothing items:

    • Button-down shirts

    • T-shirts

    • Jumpers

    • Cardigans

    • Vests

    • Jackets

    • Blazers

    • Chinos

    • Jeans

    • Slacks

    • Oxfords

    • Loafers

    • Boots

    • Trainers

    • Watches

    With the right mix of casual and formal clothing, you can create the perfect smart casual wardrobe. Prepared with these guidelines, you're sure to look great at the office, in your next interview or at your upcoming networking event.

    What is smart dress code in UK?
    Smart Dress Code Smart means no shorts unless you're one of those guys who owns and knows how to wear a shorts suit at a day event. Smart means what it says. You don't necessarily need to wear a full suit with waistcoat, tie, and overcoat but it's probably a safe bet to wear a suit as a start. more
    Does Infosys have dress code?
    BANGALORE: Software major Infosys has done away with its dress code starting today, in an attempt to engage better with its employees. It means Infoscions can wear jeans and casual clothes all working days, instead of just Fridays. more
    Does dress code stop bullying?
    Tony Volk, PhD, Associate Professor at Brock University, stated, “Overall, there is no evidence in bullying literature that supports a reduction in violence due to school uniforms.” [85] A peer-reviewed study found that “school… more
    What is Marshalls dress code?
    The dress code at Marshalls is casual for retail and distribution employees and business casual for corporate positions. Retail employees can dress in what is described as smart casual. This includes wearing jeans or khaki pants that are clean with no rips. more
    What is smart dress code in Cuba?
    Generally speaking there is a dress code for the a la carte restaurants at most hotels in Cuba. For men smart casual is fine, therefore you should wear long trousers, collared shirts and shoes. Shorts, even dress shorts, combat trousers, T shirts and flip flops are not acceptable. more
    What is smart casual dress code?
    A smart casual dress code is an attire that combines well-fitting, polished business wear with elements of casual attire like blouses, shirts, button-downs, dress pants, dark-wash jeans, and polished, practical footwear. more
    What is smart dress code for ladies?
    What is a smart casual dress code for women? A smart casual dress code is an attire that combines well-fitting, polished business wear with elements of casual attire like blouses, shirts, button-downs, dress pants, dark-wash jeans, and polished, practical footwear. more
    Is smart contract code public?
    Smart contracts are public on Ethereum and can be thought of as open APIs. This means you can call other smart contracts in your own smart contract to greatly extend what's possible. more
    How can I dress smart?
    Bright colors are acceptable, but use color sparingly to avoid creating a look that's too casual. Avoid cotton T-shirts or tops with large-printed graphics or slogans. 2. Bottoms: Pants like chinos, silk pants, or dress pants are a great choice for a smart casual look. more
    What is Publix dress code?
    For the most part, Publix employees must wear collared dress shirts. While there are some variations, the general rule is that employees must have a green shirt with a collar. Some stores may allow for darker colors, such as black or navy, but the general rule is still green. more
    What is dress code smart?
    Smart Dress Code Smart means no shorts unless you're one of those guys who owns and knows how to wear a shorts suit at a day event. Smart means what it says. You don't necessarily need to wear a full suit with waistcoat, tie, and overcoat but it's probably a safe bet to wear a suit as a start. more

    Source: uk.indeed.com

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