Hey folks! My gal got a new job with a higher salary, more responsibility, and a more prestigious title at a larger organization. So, why is she rolling around all over the floor stressing out? Well, her last position was at a wonderful, smaller organization that had a very, very casual dress code. The dress code at her new job will not be THAT much more formal, but she will most likely have to reserve jeans for casual Fridays and adopt a more “smart casual” office look.
She’s been poking around, asking my blogging buddies what she should add to her wardrobe. And, while my colleagues have been chomping at the bit to help her out (who doesn’t love a MAKEOVER!!!???), I know that dressing dear ol’ wifey in smart casual attire is not as easy or fun as one might think.
For starters, let’s try to define “smart casual” (as compared to business, business casual, or dressy casual). I mean, is “smart casual” even a real category? It’s certainly not on Emily Post’s list of dress codes. However, more diverse definitions of office attire (e.g., “creative business casual” and “smart casual”) are now being used to reflect the differences in what is considered acceptable workwear across industries (e.g., banking vs. tech jobs). According to Primer: A Guy’s Post-College Guide to Growing Up:
Smart casual at work is widely accepted now days as we see workforces catering to a younger generation. Denim is being seen in more offices than it was even 5 years ago. Suit separates are becoming more prominent in designer lines, primarily to cater to the smart casual crowd. So yes, it can definitely be worn at work and after work. The key is to create a look that balances professionalism and social adeptness.
Here is their visual break-down:
BUSINESS CASUAL via Primer
SMART CASUAL via Primer
Got it? Good! Me neither. My point is that I feel that my girl’s style and the dress code at her new place of employment leans more towards smart casual. (Although, based on Primer’s examples, I don’t think she’ll get the boot for wearing business casual). But, here is where things get even more challenging when trying to dress her: She does not fit nicely into any category on the masculine-feminine spectrum. Heels, skirts, dresses, and make-up are out of the question! We’re also not going to get her to wear suspenders, ties, boxy suits, bulky men’s shoes, and shapeless slacks.
So, now what? Without making gross generalizations, I’d say that my girl is most attracted to gay men’s style. The designers at Marimacho described gay men’s style as being a “wonderful juxtaposition of masculine and feminine that still clearly reads as masculine of center.” That pretty much sums it up. So, now let’s head over to Closet Freaks (two guys in love sharing one closet) for some inspiration…here are the images she wants to take with us shopping:
via Closet Freaks
And some outfits I put together for her on dapperQ’s Polyvore account: