How to Master Smart Casual

If you’ve ever wondered how to look casually elegant then you are in the right place. Mastering the classy-casual look is easier than you think as long as you know some key guidelines for putting together an elegant outfit and invest in a few key smart items for your wardrobe. You might also be wondering how to get that elegant look without having to always wear neutrals, with our colourful yet elegantly tailored items we’ve got you covered.

The Formula for Smart Casual

If you’re just getting started on building an elegant yet casual wardrobe then there are few key guidelines you can follow to make sure you always look polished. Once you are more experienced and comfortable with the casual-classy look you can start to mix it up and put your own spin on things.
You may have come across the 2x2 outfit formula, this formula for how to choose an every day outfit recently went viral on social media with good reason, it is a great starting point for getting that chic look every time. The formula is: Choose two formal items and pair them with two casual items.
This could be your favourite pair of jeans and t-shirt paired with a smart heeled boot and a classically tailored jacket.
dark haired plus size woman in orange short womens jacket shibumi anya jacket in apricot moon

Or you could pair some colourful suit separates like a jacket and tailored trousers with a t-shirt and trainers.

Woman in garden in bright pink silk suit with black trainers and top shibumi silk suit in hot pink

Whether its dressing up your casual pieces or dressing down your formal ones this formula is a great way to make sure you get the most use out of every part of your wardrobe, after all you don’t want to invest in a beautiful item only to have it hanging in your wardrobe never being worn!

Business Casual and Smart Casual for Work

Similarly to smart casual business casual just means combining casual pieces with formal ones to create a work appropriate outfit which is not too formal. One additional guideline to add to your formula in business casual is balancing colour and formality. Generally speaking neutral colours are considered smarter than bright ones. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear colour, but if you want to incorporate bright colours its best to do this with your formal items like jackets or tailored trousers while the more casual items in your ensemble should mostly be in neutral colours like black, white, cream and tan.

red head woman wearing black jeans and tshirt with smart tailored short jacket for work, shibumi juna jacket burnt umber

Using primary colours like blue is another easy way to make sure your outfits always look put-together as they go with any number of other colours and look great with just a plain white t-shirt layered underneath.

older ladies in blue jackets and casual outfits, anya in electric navy, nehru in midnight blue

Smart Casual for Weddings and Events

Though you may think of smart casual for work you can also bring the same ethos to dressing for an event. If you get a wedding invite with a casual or semi-formal dress code then many of the same rules apply. The main difference here for womenswear would probably be in shoes, where a clean trainer may be suitable for a casual office and everyday you will want to stick to a heel or smart flat shoe for a wedding. A shift dress is a great option for a versatile outfit piece, in the summer all you need is some accessories and that is your whole outfit.

Woman in living room holding heels in a pink silk shift dress with dark hair over her shoulder. Shibumi marilyn dress in hot pink

In the winter pair your shift dress with a smart jacket or coat for simple yet stylish layering.

Woman in garden wearing colourful cashmere coat over blue dress. Lyra coat in Venetian Red.

Wardrobe Staples for Elegant Dressing

Whether it’s to make getting your work outfits together a breeze or to polish your every day wardrobe there are a few key items which make mastering smart casual easy.

Versatile Dress

A well tailored dress which flatters your shape is a must have for any elegant wardrobe, wear it to work with a smart slip on shoe, throw on a light jacket and trainers for a dinner with the girls or dress it up with a pair of heels for a party!

Red head woman in teal floral shift dress infront of wooden doors, shibumi hepburn dress in Mineral

Tailored Jacket

A true wardrobe staple, a well-tailored jacket is indispensable to an elegant wardrobe. Use it to dress up any outfit. Or to bring an outfit from Summer into Autumn/Winter.

red headed woman sitting on office desk in black jeans and tshirt with patterened cashmere jacket. shibumi anya jacket in ebony

Staple Coat

Outerwear may not be the first thing you think of for an effective capsule wardrobe but a coat can make or break an outfit. After all you don’t want to pull together the perfect smart-casual wedding outfit only to have it ruined by a puffer coat. Invest in a beautiful coat with a classic cut like a trench coat to make sure your outfits look polished no matter the weather.

dark haired woman in dark blue floral patterned silk trench coat, shibumi trench coat in poppy

Well Fitted Trousers

A well fitted trouser can be worn a hundred different ways, with a plain t-shirt for office-casual, a blouse for business casual, a silk cami for a night out and extra points if you have a jacket to match!

blonde woman standing on grass under a tree in a bright pink silk suit. shibumi nina jacket and cigarette trouser in hot pink

Smart casual dressing is about more than just sticking to your work dress code, its about bringing out your personality through your clothes while always looking elegant and polished. You don’t have to stick to the formula completely but having it in mind can make choosing a smart outfit easier and quicker so you can feel great every day.

elegant older lady with short grey hair wearing a long blue opera coat with a blue dress in one image and with jeans and a white t-shirt in the other. Shibumi Devi coat

If you’d like some in-person advice on how to add a little elegance to your wardrobe book an appointment with us in our showroom where you will enjoy a personalised service.