SMART OR CASUAL

SMART OR CASUAL

It’s the dress code that’s guaranteed to confuse ... but what exactly does smart casual mean?  Lisa Piddington, from Harvey Nichols Birmingham offers advice.

Whether it’s a business lunch or a garden party, “smart casual” is more often than not the directed dress code ... but does that mean you veer towards casual or play it safe and go smart? Some interpret the term as meaning they can wear what they like, while others will turn up feeling a little overdressed. The definition of both “smart” and “casual” are quite different – one calls for a suit and tie while the other suggests comfy jeans and a favourite T-shirt. So, is it casually smart or smartly casual? The easiest way to get it right is to plump for a great selection of wear-anywhere basics and then add a final flourish with your choice of accessories. A blazer or sports jacket should be your starting point as this is the easiest way to take any casual outfit over the smart threshold, adding an instant dash of style. Invest in a great pair of brogues or loafers in suede or leather – they work with a suit, a pair of chinos or designer denims and add an air of English eccentricity. Feel free to leave the tie in the office and instead go for an open collared shirt teamed with a plain jumper or cardigan for an on-trend preppy feel.

SMART OR CASUAL

1: Alexander McQueen Prince of Wales check blazer, £2,595  |  2: Dior Homme trousers, £580  |  3: Gucci GC Supreme wolf backpack, £1,170
 4: Gucci suede loafers, £455  |  5: Harrys of London brogues, £525  |  6: J Lindeberg wool and silk blend cardigan, £155  |  7: John Smedley cardigan, £170
  8: Larsson & Jennings watch, £275  |  9: Moncler polo shirt, £140  |  10: Paul Smith cotton scarf, £65  |  11: Paul Smith printed shirt, £195  |  12: Polo Ralph Lauren chinos, £120