Unpacking The “Smart Casual” Dress Code

Brunette woman wearing a red leather jacket over a white shirt

When getting ready for certain events and occasions it can be increasingly frustrating when the dress code is “smart casual”, because what does that mean? Smart and casual feel like polar opposites in terms of wardrobe choices.

So, what does “smart casual” mean and how can you incorporate it into your wardrobe for an appropriate outfit for the occasion?

What is “Smart Casual” and Where to Wear It

“Smart casual” is a dress code that is often applied to everyday occasions such as work wear, after-work socials, weddings, christenings or job interviews. Generally you will be informed of a smart casual dress code before the event, allowing you plenty of time to come up with an outfit that matches your style and the dress code accordingly.

Smart casual can be made up of any combination of clothes, think “jeans and a nice top”, pairing nicer ‘high’ clothing items with a slightly more casual ‘low’ item, reducing the formality of the outfit. Knowing how to incorporate a smart casual style into your wardrobe is the ideal way to be prepared for any occasion you may be invited to.

Men’s Smart Casual Style

Express your style with a smart casual wardrobe incorporating your favourite wardrobe pieces. Men’s smart casual looks do require a formal element to what would usually be a casual outfit, without appearing over the top.

Whilst smart casual may seem like an event-only dress code, nothing is stopping you from incorporating it into your everyday style.

At Hidepark we have found some of our favourite Men’s Smart Casual looks for you to try out.

The Shirt and Jeans Look

Brown leather jacket, the John Chestnut Leather Jacket from Hidepark

The easiest smart casual look is taking jeans from your “casual” wardrobe and a shirt from your “formal” wardrobe and putting them together. Designed for both comfort and style, this look is ideal for those that regularly wear trainers over brogues, keeping it casual on the bottom with that formal element from your shirt.

Add some extra depth to your smart casual style with the addition of a stylish leather jacket. With this look, a brown leather smart casual jacket like the John Chestnut Leather Jacket brings the whole outfit together for a smart casual look all of your friends will envy. Comfortable, warm and stylish, what more could you ask for?

Say it with Suede

Suede is a versatile material that feels slightly more informal than its leather counterpart, perfect for the smart casual look. 

A simple way to add an element of “smart” to your smart casual look is with footwear. Dress down your outfit with trainers or dress up a casual outfit with some suede oxfords.

Pair your suede shoes with chinos and a matching suede jacket for a put-together smart casual look that will be as comfortable as it is good-looking.

That Leather Blazer Look

Brown leather blazer, the Brook Men's Brown Leather Blazer from Hidepark

Blazers are a great addition to a casual look to add a slightly more formal touch, bringing any jeans and t-shirt combo firmly into the smart casual bracket. A balance of cool leather and smart blazer, a leather blazer oozes charm whilst leaving you feeling confident in any situation. 

Leather Blazers have been prominent in men’s fashion for years, providing a sleek leather look that steps away from the casual look or other leather jacket styles. The Brook Men’s Leather Blazer is a great smart casual jacket choice, available in four colours, ideal for pairing with any outfit choice as a statement piece.

Women’s Smart Casual Outfit Ideas

Smart casual is all about balancing your style with a mixture of clothing items to create a look that will work in semi-formal settings. Mix ‘high’ and ‘low’ pieces to create an effortless style that can be worn anywhere, from the office to brunch with the girls.

At Hidepark we have found our favourite women’s smart casual combinations that you can put together with ease for a stylish outfit.

Jeans and a Nice Top

Blue Leather jacket, the Sophie Women's Blue Collarless Leather Jacket from Hidepark

The classic outfit choice for a girl's night or dinner out, jeans and a nice top are exactly what smart casual embodies.

Pair your favourite jeans with a stunning blouse for the perfect smart casual outfit, or add heels and a stunning leather jacket to complete the look. Choose a colourful leather jacket like the Sophie Blue Collarless Leather Jacket for a bright, eye-catching look that takes smart casual to a new level.

A Tea Dress for Afternoon Tea

Eating out is the perfect time to get your smart-casual wardrobe ready, and a tea dress is a cute semi-formal dress choice that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

Create a cute, daytime look with a floral or block-coloured tea dress, paired with the Beth Cognac Fitted Leather Blazer and matching heels. This look will be great for an afternoon with the girls, a semi-casual reception or after-work drinks.

Blazers are a smart look which can be toned down slightly with a leather look, the epitome of “smart casual”.

Co-ords Are In

black leather biker jacket, the Trudy Women's Black Leather Biker Jacket from Hidepark

Co-ords are when your top and bottoms match, creating a uniform look that can be worn to any manner of occasion. Bridge the gap between smart and casual by pairing your choice of bottoms with a fun top or jacket for an obviously thought-out look that also oozes effortless charm.

At Hidepark we are big fans of the leather look, but why not double up? Grab your favourite leather look trousers or skirt, a simple white or black t-shirt, then top off your outfit with a jacket like the Trudy Leather Biker Jacket to finish off the look. Similar to a formal suit set with an informal leather touch, this outfit mixes high and low pieces with ease.

Discover Your Smart Casual Style With Hidepark

Looking for a smart casual jacket to add to your wardrobe? Grab your new go-to for any smart casual occasions from the full range at Hidepark.

If you don’t know where to begin or which style to choose, get in touch with our helpful team for more information, or check out our measurements guide to ensure you find the perfect fit.