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The Horror: "Smart Casual"

(11 Posts)
FreezerBird Tue 16-Feb-16 22:44:03

Going to a birthday do in The Big City in a couple of months. It's a daytime thing; buffet, cake, young children there too, in a posh-ish venue. Birthday is of a friend from years back who I'm in contact with a lot but rarely see. Email with final details has arrived and the dread phrase 'smart casual' has been used. Not that there's an actual dress code, they hasten to add, but they'll probably make an effort to dress up a bit, and although jackets and ties would be too much, it would be a shame to just be in jeans.

I am a country mouse. I own formal wear for weddings, and jeans for all the rest of the time.Really very little middle ground. I don't need anything smarter for my work. For going out I'd probably wear decent (i.e. not visibly stained) jeans and heels with a jersey top and jacket.

What would you understand 'smart casual' to mean? I feel quite outside my comfort zone - I scrub up really well for weddings etc (if I say so myself) but I am befuddled by this.

BackforGood Tue 16-Feb-16 22:55:36

Can't go wrong with a pair of black trousers and whatever style o top you feel comfortable in.
Black trousers can take you most places - can look quite formal, quite dressy, or quite relaxed, so if you ever aren't sure, they are a great 'fall back' choice.

Stripeybeachhut Tue 16-Feb-16 22:58:06

Anything really that's not jeans or a ball gown.

mrsvilliers Wed 17-Feb-16 07:42:45

What do you like wearing OP? I usually wear a day dress with opaques and either heeled ankle or knee high flats for smart casual, however I have a friend who would totally wear jeans to smart casual with heels and nice top and jacket. And she would definitely look more 'smart' than casual so I think jeans can work if dressed up well.

mrsvilliers Wed 17-Feb-16 07:43:30

flats = boots obviously

homebythesea Wed 17-Feb-16 07:46:27

Dark dyed jeans with NO distressing of any kind with a top and jacket perhaps with some slightly more sparkly than usual jewellery are very suitable for this type of "do". But I agree black trousers would be a great investment as they can be dressed down/up and will never date - go for ankle grazer or 7/8 tapered style

vitaminC Wed 17-Feb-16 12:23:53

To me, "smart casual" means jeans are fine, but with a nice top and shoes, not trainers.
No jeans would be "business casual" or "smart".

tkndnv Wed 17-Feb-16 12:35:20

I would say "smart casual" means no jeans (unless possibly with the exception of smart black ones). I think black trousers and a nice top and shoes that aren't trainers will be fine.

ChristmasEvePJs Wed 17-Feb-16 14:57:16

DH and I went to a 'smart casual' birthday lunch last weekend. I wore smart black ankle grazer jeans (more like trousers), a smart white shirt, black jumper, gold beads, heels and my essential woollen coat.

I felt smart but me.

louloubelle2 Wed 17-Feb-16 15:39:10

Things that make it too casual would be trainers, scruffy or distressed jeans, slouchy or chunky knitwear, fleeces, sportswear of any kind, including leggings.

No to actual sparkly jewellery, its a day event. More jewellery than normal if you like although it's not really the thing at the moment. Ditto "nice" scarves. Bit dated.

Black trousers are the best bet, whatever cut suits you. Coated or dark jeans with no distressing would also look good - I bet you anything that despite what she says, people WILL wear jeans, and I actually think jeans are part of a smart-casual dress code if they are smart jeans. Some men will definitely wear jeans, so why shouldn't you?

I'd personally wear coated jeans or skinny black trousers, ankle boots with a small heel, a thin crew neck sweater if its still cold or a shell top if not, with a fitted jacket.

FreezerBird Wed 17-Feb-16 16:17:58

I am massively reassured that even in the hallowed halls of s&b there's not consensus on what 'smart casual' actually means.

I tend not to wear black as it does nothing for me, but trousers should be okay, so I'll think about that. I wear a lot of grey rather than black.

I'm losing weight at the moment so I don't want to go and buy anything now (and I'm reluctant to buy stuff I might not wear again, but I think smartish trousers are a good bet), but I think I'll have a good old go through my wardrobe and see if there's anything suitable, and have something in mind for shopping nearer the time, if necessary.

Good point as well that some of the men will be wearing jeans - I haven't broken the news to DH yet about the 'not a dress code' totally a dress code...

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