How To Create A Smart-Casual Capsule Wardrobe: 10 Pieces / 9 Outfits
In recent years, a style has emerged that is growing in popularity, especially in the workplace. It’s called “Smart Casual”. The term can be kind of confusing, since is a mix of two words that are opposites of each other! So what is “Smart Casual” style and how do you wear it? Let’s define what “Smart Casual” is, where you wear it and look at a capsule wardrobe with several outfits.
- What Is Smart Casual?
- What Pieces Do You Wear?
- Smart Casual Style Tips
- Where To Wear Smart Casual
- Do I Need To Create A Smart Casual Wardrobe?
- How To Create A Smart Casual Wardrobe
- Step 1 – Choose A Base Color
- Step 2 – Select a Few Layers
- Step 3 – Select Several Tops
- Step 4 – Select Several Bottoms
- Step 5 – Select a Few Pairs of Shoes
- Step 6 – Add Accessories
What Is Smart Casual?
Smart Casual is a blend of two styles. The “Smart” is refers to business workwear style and the “Casual” refers to everyday, comfortable style. Smart Casual gives you more flexibility with your outfits and is suitable to wear more places that just the workplace.
Smart Casual style includes well-fitted, neat and office-appropriate pieces that are slightly less formal than a business-casual or business-professional dress code. Smart casual is much more elevated and put-together than just casual wear.
What Pieces Do You Wear?
When you put together a Smart Casual outfit, you want to include both “smart” and “casual” pieces.
Here are a few “Smart” example pieces you include in your outfits:
- tailored blazer
- sweater blazer
- trench coat
- structured bag or work tote
- simple leather belt
Here are a few “Casual” example pieces you can include in your outfits:
- t-shirt / tee
- non-distressed jeans
- button-down shirt
- casual sneakers
Smart Casual Style Tips
- Opt for well-fitted, polished casual pieces (slim tee rather than a baggy tee, avoid distressed jeans for the workplace, avoid baggy clothes).
- Rather than flashy and too trendy styles, focus more on foundation essentials that are timeless and classic.
- Use at least one piece from both smart and casual in your outfits.
- Neutral colors look best in smart casual, but colorful pieces are acceptable, depending on the occasion and event.
- Avoid wearing chunky jewelry, but opt for simple jewelry.
Where To Wear Smart Casual
You can wear Smart Casual style mostly anywhere! Here are a few places to wear your outfits:
- Workplace – Some workplaces allow smart casual in their dress code, so check to see if you can wear smart casual to your workplace.
- Events – like luncheons, conferences or meetings.
- Weddings and Graduations
Do I Need To Create A Smart Casual Wardrobe?
Your answer depends on how often you will wear the outfits. If you need an outfit just to wear to an event, then you can pull a few pieces from your closet to put together an outfit using the example pieces listed above. But, if you plan on wearing Smart Casual outfits to your workplace throughout the week, you will need to create a wardrobe.
Number of pieces to include: The amount of clothes and shoes to include in your wardrobe again depends on how often you will wear your outfits. To have a Smart Casual wardrobe to wear to work everyday, you should include 20-25 pieces for a season.
black reversible horsebit belt
cap toe pumps
clothes rack (similar)
wood hangers (similar)
How To Create A Smart Casual Wardrobe
Step 1 – Choose A Base Color
Black or Navy: Black and navy are the two most commonly used colors in capsule wardrobes, but you can use other neutral colors as your base color, like brown, gray, tan or camel. Black is an all-around great base color to use because it goes with so many other colors. If you would rather not use black, then navy goes well with several other colors as well.
Step 2 – Select a Few Layers
Start with your layers first, since those will be the statement pieces of your outfits. Choose tailored blazers, sweater blazers, trench coat and structured coats/jackets.
Step 3 – Select Several Tops
Choose several tops like slim tees, button-down shirts, blouses and sweaters.
Step 4 – Select Several Bottoms
Add several bottoms like jeans, casual pants and trousers, skirts.
Step 5 – Select a Few Pairs of Shoes
Add a few pairs of shoes like pumps, flats and loafers.
Step 6 – Add Accessories
Complete your outfits with simple jewelry, belts and scarves/bandanas.
Smart Casual Capsule Wardrobe
Here is a mini capsule wardrobe using smart casual pieces. The majority of the pieces in this capsule are from the spring season wardrobe, The French Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe: Spring 2022 Collection available in the Capsule Wardrobe Store. The Capsule Wardrobe Store has several ready-made capsule wardrobes available in several styles. If you need essentials for your closet, there are the Simplified Style® Foundation series. If you are looking for a capsule wardrobe for a season with both foundation and trending pieces, you may like one of the Season series collections!
Transform Your Closet!
French Minimalist Spring 2022 Capsule Wardrobe
The 10-Piece Smart Casual Capsule Wardrobe
1. black blazer
2. beige linen blazer
3. black puff sleeve tee
4. blue striped shirt
5. white slim tee
6. blue jeans
7. black jeans
8. white pants
9. cap toe flats
10. black slingback flats
gold stud earrings
gold hoop earrings
gold pendant necklace
gold chain necklace
Shop The Capsule Wardrobe:
How Fashion Influencers Wear Smart Casual Outfits
See how these fashion influencers wear their Smart Casual outfits…
image source – Fashion Jackson
Thank you for visiting the blog!
I hope enjoyed this post!
A Bit Of Inspiration For Your Day:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Thank you for all of your beautiful and inspiring posts. I live in a mostly warm to hot climate- Miami, FL. It is very hot and humid from May to November. Our “winters” are very mild and the biggest difference is less humidity. All that to say that most of the capsule wardrobes call for blazers, jackets, cardigans, sweaters… I can count on one hand the number of days I can wear a jacket, blazer or cardigan without melting. Can you provide some wardrobe ideas for mostly warm, humid climates?
Great posting!! I must point out that Jeremiah 29: 11 is only for the Jews and Saved Christians after Jesus arose from the dead!! Plus, all O.T. verses were first for the Jews and all N.T. verses to the people during Christ
‘s time and then to the Saved Christians upon His resurrection!!!
I finally have a name for the style that I love! My fantasy self would be in business casual all day but I work from home and spend most of my time running errands, doctor’s appointments, etc. However, I do my best to level up daily so I feel my best and leverage my work from home with my nicer Saturday days out. I may swap the blazer for a more structured cardigan but especially love the nicer outfit with sneakers. A fun high/low look. Please do more smart casual in the future! (I am also hoping you will do another outdoor camping/rv capsule since that was also a nice leveled up look for when I am visiting national parks. I reference those posts a lot.)
Agree with Jen & Esther! I, too, live in Florida and was thinking the same as Esther. How can these outfits be notified for the heat & humidity? Jen makes a great point. I don’t feel like I fall into the athlesiure category, as often, but feel like it’s my only option since I don’t go into a workplace. However, I lean toward business casual, but that’s not quite right either. This is the perfect mix, smart casual. Would be excited to see more capsules like this. I enjoy reading your blog frequently. The navy vacation capsule from last summer has been my most often used.
I love smart casual! I’ve used one of your French minimalist capsules, but I missed the colour. Then you did the teacher capsules and I love taking inspiration from those. I think of my style as ‘smart casual mom wear’. Could you please consider doing this sort of post for very hot and humid climates (as some of the other comments said?). I’d love to see your ideas. It is tricky when you can’t layer and long trousers etc are inconceivable. I lived in Singapore for 5 years and almost lost interest in clothes as I literally had a few pairs of shorts and a handful of tees I wore on rotation. Even a chunky necklace was uncomfortable in that humidity…. I might be going back and am already pondering options for a slightly more exciting, but still mom friendly wardrobe.
Wow – what an amazing article! You demystified the smart casual style! Fantastic image showing items that were casual and others that are smart! And you provided such great practical information for how to create this type of look! I loved the tops you created all had a different silhouette, creating some variety in the outfits!
Thank you for this wonderful post. I love smart casual!! Please keep posting them. I am clear on how to do jeans/t/blazer look for a moderately warm day but I always get lost when it comes to winter. Would love to see a smart casual winter post too.
Love the post! Every outfit looks so pulled together!
This was such a helpful post! Now I have a much clearer idea of how to create smart vs casual outfits. In the past, whenever I started trying to create smart and casual outfits, I kind of got lost in the process and always ended up with too many smart or too many casual clothing items. After seeing your smart/casual chart I now know that I didn’t have a clear understanding of what I was trying to actually create. I always ended up so frustrated. Thank you for this invaluable information.
Thank you for the great ideas for smart casual! I have purchased differejt core clothing items from the helpful links you share and I like that the clothing is always affordable and from stores I like to shop at. However, it seems like your purse budget far exceeds your clothing budget! It seems like your shoes are more expensive and your purses are VERY expensive – especially in comparison to your clothing ranges. Do you possibly have links for similar style shoes and especially purses more in the price range of your clothing? Thanks for your great ideas!
Thank you! This mini capsule is amazing!! I can easily modify it for dressy, casual, athleisure – I feel so inspired ❤️❤️❤️