Smart Casual Outfit Ideas

A reader recently wrote to ask me for smart casual outfit ideas – she was going out to a weekend lunch with friends and wondered what I would suggest.

Smart casual outfits are tricky – it’s SO open to interpretation and there’s a huge number of possibilities and outfits that it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed.

In today’s post, I’ve got some smart casual outfit ideas for some of the most common occasions we attend!



An Afternoon Lunch With Friends

Smart Casual Outfit Ideas

This is always tricky. One doesn’t want to be over-dressed amongst girlfriends but then again no one wants to be the one that’s underdressed either!

The first place to start is what KIND of lunch it is – a high tea for example, will be different to a pub lunch. Usually, a smart pair of jeans or a pretty skirt teamed with a nice blouse will never fail you.

If you are feeling adventurous though, try something like a maxi dress or even a playsuit! I’m wearing a navy playsuit in the picture above, but to keep it more casual I’ve paired it with some flats rather than heels or wedges.



A Backyard BBQ

Smart Casual Outfit Ideas

The backyard BBQ is typically a casual affair – lots of cami’s or tee’s. To dress up my tee-shirt above, I’ve worn it with a little summer skirt – something feminine and pretty – to smarten up the look of my very casual tee.

A few accessories thrown into the mix and voila!! Ready to slip on some flat sandals and tuck into a lamb kebab.



The smart casual work event

Smart Casual Outfit Ideas

One of the most dreaded smart casual events is the one for work… especially if your work doesn’t normally have a business casual dress code. If you’ve got an after work event such as hosting clients or going to the boss’s birthday, you want to still keep it professional but not formal.

In this outfit I’ve gone with some casual taupe pants, with a blouse + nice blazer. It’s still professional without looking like I should be at the office.



A school event

Smart Casual Outfit Ideas

The school event where all the other mums are, is always a pressure-filled moment. You don’t want to be the “frumpy mum” but equally, no one wants to be the mum the other parents whisper about for rocking up in too-high heels 🙂

So long as it isn’t a formal fundraiser, a pair of well fitting jeans, a nice shirt or blouse, one statement accessory and shoes you can walk comfortably around the school in are always great options.


No matter what the occasion is, remember that the most important accessory we can have is confidence. If you feel great in your skin and comfortable with your body, there’s nothing that could stop you from conquering the world — or in this case, making it to brunch. 🙂


Stylishly yours,






By | 2017-09-08T08:37:07+10:00 April 12th, 2016|Fabulous Fashion|4 Comments


  1. Bay Royce April 13, 2016 at 2:33 am - Reply

    Dear Wendy,

    Please do not encourage women to wear torn jeans to teacher conferences. Jeans with a nice shirt are fine, but torn jeans will be talked about in the teacher lounge. We try to tell our kids to wear clean jeans with no holes to school; when a parent shows up in torn or stained jeans it’s a bit like a slap in the face. Its like saying “Your values don’t matter. We pay you.” You don’t really want to send that message do you? Teachers on the whole do not work fr their measly pay checks; that kind of message will help push the better teachers out of your schools. I know it seems like a small thing, but when teachers are asked t enforce dress code all day- every day- holey jeans are not a cool look anymore.

    • Wendy Mak May 7, 2016 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      Hi Bay, I totally respect and hear you. If you’re working to encourage a certain dress code on your students I can understand you wanting the parents to reflect that. Thanks for the work that you do as teachers 🙂

    • Leintje May 1, 2017 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      Sorry to say I agree. All the outfits in this post are super and make you look beautiful and stylish as always but I personally have a thing against torn jeans. (For the record I am an independant creative and don’t work at a school). Torn jeans are great for a 20 year old at a rock concert to show the world that they a rebel who couldn’t give a monkeys. (Although, really? When every single high street store sells them) but for anyone else they are just not stylish. If you need to look more ‘cool and edgy’ why not wear a more subtle and sophisticated leather cuff bracelet, biker boots or leather jacket. Or get some aviator sunglasses. I just don’t get the ripped denim look. Especially not when it comes to a school or work event. For me this look would have been much better with a smart dark wash denim. Those lovely ankle boots give it enough edge already. By just being there at the school event you already show the world you do care and you are not some ‘dont give a monkeys’ rebel. Why pretend to be something you are not?

      • Wendy Mak May 8, 2017 at 1:15 pm - Reply

        Thank you Leintje for sharing! Absolutely hear your view point. Perhaps the torn jeans may not work best for a school event. I personally do wear them for weekends and casual days but that’s what I love about style – everyone has a different view point, and the beauty with fashion is there is never a “right” or “wrong” – simply what we individually love and feel comfortable in. Thanks again for reading!!! 🙂

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