Guide to Smart-Casual Clothing for Women and Men

It can be hard to choose the right outfit for your first day of work, networking events, or interview. Although it is important to adhere to any dress code for professional events you must feel confident and comfortable in your clothes. It is important for people to see how authenticity affects the work they do.

What is smart-casual clothing?

Smart-casual is a professional style that incorporates trendy pieces into an ensemble to create a semi-formal, but clean appearance. There are many options for clothing, including dresses, skirts, pants, sweaters or blouses, as well as blazers or jackets depending on the occasion.

Smart-casual clothing for men

The smart-casual wardrobe of men is built around a few key pieces that can be mixed and matched to make a variety outfits. A combination of formal and casual tops pieces is the best smart-casual look.


Shopping for pants is a great place to start when building your smart-casual wardrobe. A pair of quality, non-ripped jeans with straight legs in a dark wash–blue or black is a must. The classic look of denim jeans is timeless and can be worn in many settings.

You can also buy chinos and khakis in different colors like navy or tan. This type of pants is versatile and can be worn in many settings.


Smart-casual shirts can include button-downs with short sleeves, henleys, and classic t-shirts. You can also use sweaters that can be easily dressed up or down depending on what pants you are wearing. You might consider investing in statement pieces that can be worn with solid basic items if you are comfortable with color and pattern.

Jackets and Blazers

Jackets can be used to spice up your look and are great for both formal and casual occasions. Unstructured, a dark jacket can give you a professional, yet casual look. You should feel at ease wearing blazers both at work and outside.

Accessory and shoes

You should have at least two pairs of professional shoes, such as loafers or oxfords for formal events and sneakers in clean leather, canvas, or suede for casual occasions. For accessories, choose classics like leather belts that match the color of your shoes and wristwatches.

Smart-casual clothing for women

There are many options for women when it comes to putting together smart-casual looks. You have many options, from skirts to khakis, blouses to vintage tops, so make sure to choose versatile pieces that you can mix and match with other pieces in your wardrobe. You don’t have to be trendy if you aren’t sure what you like. Choose basics that you feel confident and comfortable in.

Pants and skirts

You might incorporate skirts into your wardrobe, in addition to jeans, chinos, and slacks. Long skirts are best, or ones that fall below the knee like pencil skirts. For a simple look, you might consider using interesting skirt fabrics like corduroy or denim to match with your basic jackets and tops. You can pair dark pants with many tops, including solid and subtle skirts.


Any top can be worn with smart-casual clothes as long as it’s clean, wrinkle-free and has no holes. Tops that are smart-casual include blouses, button-downs (including blouses), henleys, button downs, and nice t-shirts.


For days when you are short on time, or just want to look professional and comfortable, dresses can be a great option. A dress can be paired with low heels and simple jewelry to create a formal look.

You can wear your dress with more casual jewelry and casual shoes, such as flats or open toe shoes, in less formal settings.

Gender-neutral smart-casual

For those who want to be professional and fashionable, there are many options that can be made gender neutral. It is important that you feel comfortable in your clothes and that they fit well.

Gender-neutral outfits include some of the most simple and elegant smart-casual looks. A pair of gray slacks and a white button-up shirt, along with a basic black jacket and loafers, will look great on any person and can be worn in almost any professional setting.

These are some examples of smart-casual, gender-neutral clothing:

  • Button-down shirts
  • Henleys
  • T-shirts
  • Sweaters
  • Vests
  • Jackets
  • Blazers
  • Khakis
  • Chinos
  • Jeans
  • Slacks
  • Oxfords
  • Loafers
  • Boots
  • Sneakers
  • Watches

Add your personal style

Smart-casual is a relaxed, professional look that allows you to express your individual style. Personal style is how you express yourself. When choosing clothes for different occasions, it is important to consider what message you want to send.

We’ve now covered the various types of smart-casual clothes, so let’s discuss a few options for making it your own.

Choose your color

You can incorporate your favorite color, but keep in mind the season and the environment you are in. You might not get the attention you want if you wear bright, bold colors in winter. Instead, consider a color scheme that matches your favorite color and find ways to incorporate it into your outfit.

Fabrics and prints

You may like prints but can’t wear your leopard print pants or dress to an event. Instead, find a blouse made from a fabric with the same print. Wear it under a sweater or blazer. Men might want to add prints to their socks or pocket squares to their blazers, and let their personality shine through.

Accent pieces

Don’t be too extravagant with your accessories. Small statement pieces can bring out your outfit’s personality while still maintaining a professional appearance. You might consider a scarf, watch, or shoe with cool details.