I couldn't tell you how many events I have been to over the years where the dress code is "smart casual" - one of the broadest terms I have ever come across.
A smart casual wedding is very different to a smart casual 3rd birthday party, which is different again to a smart casual work function... so how the heck are we supposed to know what to wear?
A question I find myself asking again and again...
Before I begin to explain Alice's formula for navigating this tricky dress code, let me just say to all the ladies who have never turned up to an event inappropriately dressed, I salute you. To the rest of us, we'll nail it next time!
It really is quite simple, so listen carefully. You have to either take something smart and dress it down, or take something casual and dress it up.
There, you have it. Done. Dusted. Yay.
Not quite what you opened this article for? Ok, some examples might help to set you on the right track.
Take your pair of casual (and super comfortable, go-to) jeans. Grab a pair of pretty heels and slide them on too, along with your favourite blouse or shirt... Voila, smart casual!
Are you more of a skirt kind of gal? Your skirt and heels combo can very easily be dressed down with a t-shirt, tucked in at the waist.
For the ladies who love to wear a pretty dress, a pair of flats or even sneakers, if you're game, will do the trick to bring out that outfit's casual side. The same goes for a t-shirt dress... wear it with some point toe heels!
It sounds easy enough but it also take just a little bit of intuition. If you are feeling too casual, add some blingy jewellery, perhaps a pair of excellent chandelier earrings. The same goes for an outfit that feels to dressy - wear your hair down, and a little messy, or choose a nude lip over bright red.
A lot of factors like the weather, the kind of party (is it outdoors on a grassy area? If so, put down those stilettos!) will help you to choose the right outfit.
And if worst comes to worst, send the hostess a quick message and mirror her outfit!