Gail Smart’s Tailored and Timeless Look

Gail Smart plans for a variety of events from basketball games to hosting alongside her husband Clif Smart, outgoing president of Missouri State University.

By Jo Jolliff

May 2024

Gail Smart
Photo by Brandon AlmsGail Smart focuses on curating a traditional style with high-quality pieces to last. Purchase Photo

Gail Smart balances a variety of looks. While at Missouri State University with her husband and president of the campus, Clif Smart, she might wear a skirt and blazer to match his coat and slacks for a board meeting or a simple dress to show their support at a basketball game.

Regardless of what she is dressing for or where she is going, she always strives for a timeless and modest look, taking inspiration from one of her favorite style icons, her mother-in-law. Her father-in-law was the dean of the architecture school at the University of Arkansas, so they also entertained and dressed for very similar occasions. “She always has something beautiful on and is very classic and timeless,” she says. “Whatever she is wearing, she always looks put together.” 

Smart strives for this same sense of style, describing her style as traditional. You’ll often find her in her favorite closet staples, simple yet high-quality pieces like black turtlenecks, dresses and pants she invested in with the intention of taking care of them.  “I would always advise people to invest in quality pieces,” she says. “I know I have had some pieces for over 15 to 20 years that are still in style or have come back in style.” 

Despite focusing on the quality of her clothing, Smart says creating a capsule wardrobe similar to her own does not have to be expensive. “I am not shopping at the most expensive places at all, so I certainly think anyone can emulate my style and find a lot of basic things even at Target,” she says.

In addition to her staple items, Smart enjoys shopping for special occasions like the inauguration to step outside of her usual style. But whether she’s finding a new stylish dress or donning a splash of maroon to show her MSU pride, these elements come together in a chic look that is unmistakably Smart’s own unique style.

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