Smart Casual - the Dreaded Dress Code No Longer!

Who else dreads it when an event invitation reads “smart casual”? it’s a very confusing dress code! Luckily, all you need to do is follow a few simple rules and you’ll have mastered the ensemble with no trouble! 

The most crucial rule to remember is to build your look one piece at a time. Today, I’ll start from the bottom up, as the most crucial element to get right with smart casual is comfort. Trainers and comfort and pretty much synonymous in the clothing world – even dad trainers are top of the style stakes right now! The trick is to find your feet and strike the right balance between comfort and style, and to aim for maximum impact with minimum effort – my favourite combination!

Starting with some statement trainers from schuh, let me show you how to create several outfits by building your look one piece at a time. I really can’t express quite how excited I am about this striped blazer from H&M - the possibilities it creates are endless! As a suit, it creates a stir when paired with an orange cami and a triple layer necklace, all of which can be found at H&M. The trainers pick up all the right tones, so pair it all together and ta-dah! You have successfully mastered smart casual! To dress up for evening or a lunch date, all you would need to do is switch the trousers for blue skinny jeans and a blush pink bag with a contrasting strap – harmonise all the colours together and that steps up the glam factor. 

Next, let’s head off to Quiz to see how well the shoes partner with wide leg trousers. This style of trousers will create to have a strong presence and they work fabulously as a smart evening trouser. To give it the sparkly casual (spark casual? I’m trademarking it) edge they would look super cute with the gold “merci” tee. Metallic tones always work so well with mustard tones – while it may not always be an obvious choice, it is a stylish one!  Pair with a cropped black leather jacket to create a supremely fun day outfit, made even better by supreme comfort.  

I’ve been waiting for this all day – and finally at New Look we hit the sequins! I absolutely cannot resist sequins, they wink and sparkle at me - I’m sure they do! I actually bought the Ciao Bella Tee for a trip to Edinburgh last weekend, it went really well with the black paper bag trousers from H&M that I’m wearing in the picture, they’re currently a strong staple in my wardrobe. The iridescent effect of the sequins means you can play about with colours to match, and I think the New Look Mustard Blazer is a fabulous match! The soft jersey of the blazer plays down the formality usually associated with blazers, and it’s ideal if you need more stretch in your jackets. One of my top tips for the best fit and to ensure a ‘skim not cling’ effect is to look for no less than 2% elastase in the label. While the schuh trainers again work like a dream, you could also pair with a pair of matching pumps. 

That’s all for today my lovelies - thank you so much for taking the time to join me! I hope you come away inspired and ready to try out the rule of building one piece at a time – feel free to share your creations with us!

In other news, last week was an exciting evening for the Eastgate Centre and Tartan Tapas, when a style evening for Highland Business Woman Club was hosted by them and yours truly! I was delighted that 47 women attended, and what a fun night we all had! After selecting some of my favourite pieces around the centre I then proceeded to share my style tips for a working wardrobe. If you fancy freshening up your office wear, we can work on that during a Personal Shopping session with me at Eastgate. We all lead such busy lifestyles, but how amazing would it be to love what you wear every day, and to feel good in the process!  

Ciao for now, Amanda x

Amanda Latham is the Eastgate Centre’s personal stylist, who provides a free personal shopping service every Wednesday. You can book an appointment with Amanda by contacting us on Facebook or by emailing

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