I spent the vast majority of the office-based period of my working life in fear of ‘smart casual’. Because, really, what does it even mean?? It’s such a non-specific dress code; and just as I’d gotten used to one workplace’s definition of smart casual, an interview or change of job would come along which meant I had to go through the whole agonising process all over again.
When you add the sourcing and wearing of plus size clothes into the ‘smart casual’ mix, putting together outfits that fulfil the criteria but still feel like your kind of style becomes really difficult. How did I deal with it? Well, I lived in cardigans and black jersey skirts: which is fine, but not much fun.
When Damart got in touch and asked if I’d like to review some of their new styles for She Might Be, I went to their online catalogue and found some great smart casual options in the collections on offer. It was also nice to see that the majority of their lines run to a size UK28, with some also running to a UK30 & 32. I’ll confess to never having browsed their clothes before, but if you’re into classic styles and shapes (as I am for workwear) then they’re worth a look.
I chose the monochrome Milano Jacket* (because I’m really into the print) and this super sleek pair of 7/8 length trousers*. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to try and wear trousers more often in 2018, and I as I have never worn trousers to the office in my entire working life I thought I’d challenge myself to wear them for this look.
The Milano jacket is so comfortable! It’s cut to be long in the body, which is perfect for wearing with trousers or over dresses. The material has a decent bit of stretch in it which I found to be super useful for my upper arms. The sizing is really generous, I picked up my usual size and found it to be accommodating enough that I could have worn a thicker jumper underneath it with no issues.
The trousers, on the other hand, run pretty small. They fit me but they’re designed to be looser in the leg than they appear on me. I’m a fan of the length and I do really like the design, but I think sizing up once would have been a wiser move. Regardless, they’re still very wearable… just maybe not out for dinner!
I’m aware that there is a strong 80’s executive vibe to this outfit but I don’t hate it at all. If I wore this outfit to a job interview I’d feel comfortable, confident and most importantly like myself. I’m really looking forward to recreating this entire look and swapping the trousers for black Mom jeans, and I’ll definitely be finding more ways to wear these black ankle grazers.
The concept of a smart casual dress code is so vague that although this look to me feels like I’ve 100% nailed it, someone else might think that this comes down way too much on either the casual or the smart size. That’s cool, because everyone views fashion and style in a different way and it would be boring if we all liked the same things!
The best way I can think of to tackle smart casual is, really, to just wear things that you enjoy wearing. Unless your workplace has a set of hard n’ fast rules for dressing, then most people at the office will be winging it too so – if you’re able to – try and have some fun with it.