Smart casual might be a more relaxed clothing option for work than business professional, however, many employees can find it hard to decipher what ‘smart casual’ actually means for an office environment. True, you might not need to wear a suit, but that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to turn up for work in your favourite baseball cap and joggers.
So, what should your smart casual wardrobe consist of?
Work Appropriate Jewellery
We all love to accessorise our outfits with jewellery, especially when it comes to a night out. However, the type of accessories you may wear socially should be different from what you wear in an office environment.
For one, keep it simple. This means avoiding anything that is too blingy or oversized. Instead stick to a simple or plain bracelet, small earrings and an appropriate watch.
If you have a social engagement after work you can always bring your favourite jewellery with you and put them on at the end of the day.
Face and Hair
Like your jewellery, any make-up or hairstyles you choose should be kept basic. For your make-up, choose natural and muted tones, which means avoiding bright eye shadows or lipsticks that are more suited to a nightclub.
Hair accessories should also be kept simple. So, rather than an oversized hairpiece, instead opt for a simple hairband or hairgrips.
Facial hair should also be kept appropriate, with beards kept trimmed and professional looking.
If you need prescription glasses, it’s important to have a pair that is appropriate for your work. You might like a pair of diamanté studded red frames for the weekend, however, for a professional environment you should wear a set of simpler frames. Brands like Persol, Oakley and Versace all have frames that are suitable for an office.
To really nail the smart casual office look, you should avoid anything that is too tight or too loose. Rather, aim to wear something like a nice-fitted jacket with a basic tee or polo shirt.
For women, dresses or a skirt with a blouse is a good option. Just remember to make sure tops aren’t too low cut or skirts too short.
Keep it Professional
Although smart causal is less strict when it comes to your uniform, you should always keep professional in your mind when you choose your outfit. This means that you should never wear t-shirts that have silly graphics or cartoon characters on them. Yes, you may love Star Wars, but keep that tee for the weekend, not the office.
If there’s one thing you should always avoid in the office, it’s joggers and other sportswear. These types of clothing are just too casual for an office environment and can look incredibly sloppy and unprofessional.
Jeans can be dodgy territory, with some styles such as slim-fit sometimes being professional enough (depending on your office) although you tend to be safer opting for a pair of chinos or smart trousers. You should never wear baggy or ripped jeans to the office.