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Business Casual vs. Smart Casual: What's the Difference?

BY: Editors | Oct 18, 2017

Maybe you just landed a new job (Congrats!). Or perhaps you've been invited to an upscale dinner party. Whatever the case may be, it's tough to know exactly it means when you see a dress code listed as "business casual" or "smart casual." What's the difference between the two? What should you wear? To help you out, we've put together this guide, which defines each dress code and provides sample women's and men's outfits for each.

What is business casual?

Business casual attire is what an average person would wear to an average office on an average day. This will vary depending on your job and age, but think dress shirts and blouses, khakis, knee-length skirts and dresses, and (sometimes) a nice, non-ripped pair of jeans. They key is looking professional and cleaned up without looking too uncomfortable or stuffy, so there's no need for a full-on suit here.

Business Casual for Women: Outfit Example

Business Casual for Men: Outfit Example

What is smart casual?

Smart casual is a dressier version of business casual. That's it! That pretty much sums up the difference between business casual and smart casual. While the situation can influence things a bit—a cocktail hour will probably demand a slightly different outfit choice than a day at the office—in general, smart casual just jazzes things up a bit with items like blazers, scarves, and jewelry.

Smart Casual for Women: Outfit Example

Smart Casual for Men: Outfit Example