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The Food & Wine Awards: What To Wear When The Dress Code Says 'Smart Casual'?

The ever-burning question: what does smart-casual actually mean?

Is choosing what to wear to a daytime awards ceremony more stressful than choosing an outfit for a first date? 


The scenario – which, in essence, will almost certainly be more fun than the agonising first two hours of your debs – means you have to navigate the trickiest dress code of them all: smart casual. 

But, what’s smart, what’s casual, and do the two mix?

Thankfully, things aren't as difficult as they seem, because we’re here to decode all your fears, queries and questions about that dastardly sartorial genre. 

The event in question is that of the Food & Wine Awards, taking place in The Shelbourne Dublin on Sunday 25 August.

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Throughout the awards ceremony, there will be (you guessed it) both food and wine flowing as well as a number of speeches and presentations highlighting the best in the business.

Another thing to consider when choosing your ensemble is that you'll be in the presence of Michelin star royalty, as three-starred chef Pierre Koffman is set to join the team on stage to present the two overall awards for Ireland’s Best Chef and Restaurant 2019. 

Taking everything into account, your outfit should exude both comfort and style as well as a little flair – it is an awards ceremony, after all. 

Now, we're not usually ones to climb the construct of gender binaries, so we're leaving the interpretation of such suggestions entirely up to you. 

The difficulty of a 'smart casual' dress code is that no one is entirely sure what it means. The Macquarie Dictionary defines it as “well-dressed in a casual style”, while the Oxford defines it as “neat, conventional, yet relatively informal in style”.

In essence, it's an elevated day look; one step up from trainers and one step down from cocktail dresses.

Aim for something polished yet relaxed that's comfortable enough to wear all day. 

Perhaps consider wearing: 

- A shirt, blazer and good jeans

- A day dress and heels

- A silk dress with ankle boots

- A full suit with a t-shirt underneath

- A full-length dress with ballet flats

- A smart look embellished with accessories

Note: Consider the above as a mere guideline – the real choice is yours. 

To book a ticket today, click here to get a seat at the event of the year.

We hope to see you there!

Main image by @lilyrosedepp

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