Fashion

What's the Difference Between Business Casual and Smart Casual? A Handy Guide on How to Dress. (Infographic)

What's the Difference Between Business Casual and Smart Casual? A Handy Guide on How to Dress. (Infographic)
Image credit: Shutterstock
Former West Coast Editor
3 min read

If you think black tie means Chucks with a tux, you’re doing it all wrong. Or are you? Deciding what to wear when to which event -- so you don’t end up looking clueless -- can be overwhelming for the fashion-challenged. But, with a little help, it’s not so bad.  

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a quick and dirty cheat-sheet you could refer to before hobbling together your outfit for your next important soirée, interview or meeting? A dress codes 101 decoder, for him and her? Lucky for you there is. Check the informative infographic from Mannix Marketing below. It covers everything from casual to business casual, to business formal to black tie and beyond. (Do us a favor and ignore the weird Homer Simpson reference at the top, okay? Yeah, it threw us for a loop, too.)

Related: How to Dress for a Business Meeting. Yes, Seriously. (Infographic)

So, yeah, not all dress codes are created the same. If the occasion, or your office -- lucky you! -- calls for your basic no-brainer casual, breathe a sigh of relief and reach for your favorite T-shirt and jeans combo. The clean ones, people. Not the stinky wrinkled ones in the hamper. Do we really have to go over this? We’re starting to sound like your mom.

If business casual is the mandate, classy dress pants and a crisp, collared shirt or blouse should do the trick. Top it off with a snazzy pair of dressy shoes and you’re set. The authors of infographic, notably not personal stylists, nor fashion designers or editors, suggest you slip into khakis, the safe choice, for biz casual, but we’re not so sure. Do people even wear khakis anymore? In some places, a nice pair of jeans will fit the business casual bill, as long as you dress them up with a nice top.

Then there’s “smart casual,” whatever that is, and business and business informal. And semi-formal, formal and black tie. Confused yet? Time to conveniently refer back to the handy how-to below. Running potential outfits past your best-dressed friend ahead of time helps, too. Good luck, champ. Knock ‘em dead. Whatever you wear, you probably look better than you think.  

Related: How to Set Your Office's Dress Code

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