The Art of Smart-Casual

When it comes to dress-codes, there are no two words you want to see less on an invitation than the dreaded ‘smart-casual’. The merging of two completely opposing styles to create one confusing hybrid, causing you to put together the most bizarre clothing combinations in an attempt to somehow fulfil both sides of the brief. This task is often much more difficult than it sounds…go too casual and you haven’t made enough effort, go too smart and you stick out like a sore thumb. It’s a delicate balance.

After many years of being faced with this dress-code, I’m still unsure as to whether I have cracked it, the art of smart-casual is certainly a tricky one to master. However, I recently put together an outfit that epitomises this dress-code perfectly. I may just have found the ultimate smart casual look. I know, I’m as shocked as you are. In fact, I was so pleased with my discovery that I thought I’d do an entire blog post about it to share with you.

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So I know I mentioned bizarre clothing combinations before, and it’s true that sometimes these combinations can be tragic to say the least. But every once in a while, you find a weird yet wonderful mix. When it comes to contrasting styles, you can’t really get much more opposite than a blazer and a pair of cycling shorts. But for some reason, these two items have come together to form a wonderful, harmonious relationship in the fashion world. It’s a confusing relationship, but one that I am very thankful for nonetheless.

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In an effort to up my blazer game this season, I headed down to trusty Topshop, (aka blazer heaven). As I expected, I was met by a huge variety of colours and styles so I faced a tough decision, but I decided to take advice from one of my favourite Insta bloggers and the undisputed queen of the brown blazer, Freya Killin. So, I ended up with this beauty in my basket.

Not only is it a gorgeous cut and fit, but the colour couldn’t be more perfect for autumn/winter styling! It’s a slightly oversized vibe, but not so much that I look like I’m wearing my dad’s work clothes, and I love styling it open or closed for different occasions. If you want to see how else I have style this gorgeous piece before then check out my latest Autumn lookbook!

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So how do you make one of the most formal items of clothing that exists into a casual outfit? Well, all you need are a few little touches, starting with a simple black belt. I added this very plain one from Primark to cinch in the waist. Not only does this give you yet another way of styling the blazer, but I think by altering the waistline, it adapts the more formal tailoring into something a bit more relaxed. I often like to style blazers this way if I have no top on underneath because it gives you more shape and style!

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Next up is the cycling shorts. These are an old pair I got from Missguided and they are pretty much as basic as you can get. In fact, I may as well have kept the ones I used back in Primary school because they’re pretty much identical…

I think these shorts do a perfect job of making the blazer look more casual, and they still look like they’re meant to be together somehow. The blazer is quite long so the shorts just poke out a little bit at the bottom and compliment the black of the belt! I finished off the outfit with the ultimate casual-but-cool shoe combination. I’m starting to wonder if a chunky white trainer and white socks will ever go out of fashion? Last but not least, my favourite micro bag ever. Because, well, it’s just so cute I couldn’t resist.

I chose to wear my hair in a low bun because I really think it compliments this type of outfit, and maintains the ‘smart’ aspect of the look!

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So it appears that I have created some sort of ‘business at the top, party at the bottom’ kind of outfit? In some twist of fate, I managed to combine two of the most opposing items in my wardrobe to create one killer look that fits the dress code perfectly. I mean, this look is pretty much the definition of smart-casual. How do you think I did guys?

What’s your favourite dress-code? Are you a glam girl or a casual queen? Let me know in the comments below!

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Also, for more outfits like this check out my instagram!