What Is Casual Attire?

Research suggests that allowing a more casual dress code will make employees feel less stifled and stressed which in turn can increase employee morale and productivity. However, what constitutes casual attire will vary from company to company.

A good starting point is a pair of jeans or trousers with a stylish T-shirt. Avoid bold patterns, bright colours and anything too short or skimpy.

Business Casual

Business casual is a subset of the business professional dress code that focuses on balancing comfort and style in a workplace environment. It is a great option for many professionals who want to be more comfortable in the office while still looking polished and putting their best foot forward for meetings with internal and external colleagues, customers or executives. The specifics of business casual will vary widely based on the industry, company culture and seasonal variations.

For example, a casual workplace may allow employees to wear jeans with a blouse rather than slacks. However, a formal work environment may require more structured pants or skirts and a button-down shirt. A blazer or sport coat is also often worn with this clothing, as are flats or loafers rather than sneakers or other overly casual shoes.

Pants and skirts are the most common choice for business casual attire, as they pair well with a variety of blouses. Look for neutral colors such as black, gray and navy. Other options include dark denim, khakis or corduroys. Depending on the season, you may also select thicker fabrics such as flannel or fleece. If you’re wearing a casual attire skirt, opt for a pencil or A-line cut in a solid color or subtle pattern such as pinstripes or herringbone. Skirts and dresses that have a slit at the bottom are acceptable as long as they are modest and you can sit down comfortably.

Smart Casual

The term ‘smart casual’ is thrown around a lot, but getting this look right is tricky. Smart casual is a fine line between professional and casual, and the key is not to get too casual. Loud prints and patterns, ripped jeans or a camisole that’s too low-cut are all off limits. Flip flops and crocs are also best avoided, as well as revealing clothing like mini skirts or tank tops, especially those with a lot of details or bold colors that could be distracting in a work environment.

A dressy shirt (long or short-sleeved) with a pair of tailored pants, chinos or dress pants is the basis for a smart casual look. If you’re going for a more formal version of the look, add a blazer over your shirt. The addition of a fine-gauge knit sweater in merino wool, cashmere or cotton will add polish and a touch of formality to the outfit without making you look too dressed up.

In summer, you can replace your baggy jeans with tailored khaki chinos and a sleeve-up shirt or button-down shirt. In winter, a stylish turtleneck sweater is a perfect choice. Whether you’re going to a client meeting or just out for a casual dinner, smart casual is the way to go. It’s also a great dress code for social occasions with a more informal flare, such as after-work events or a lunch meeting with colleagues at a conference.

Formal Casual

Sometimes, invitations may indicate that the event is «casual» or «semi casual.» This style of dress gives first place to comfort and informality over convention and conformity. The clothing choices in this style are much broader and often include T-shirts (polo shirts or turtlenecks), jeans, khakis, hoodies, summer dresses, skirts, sneakers or loafers. This attire is usually worn when going on trips, shopping or brunch parties with friends.

For women, a blouse, jacket, pants or a skirt that splits at the knee is appropriate. A smart sweater, cardigan or light jacket can also be added to the ensemble. Shoes should be closed-toe, and hosiery is usually black, navy or gray. If a shirt is sleeveless, consider adding a long necklace or a wristband for a pop of color.

Casual shirts have less rigid collars than formal shirts, and they come in a variety of weaves, colors and textures. A linen shirt is an excellent choice for a summer occasion, and it can be worn alone or under a suit with a dark wool tie. T-shirts and polo shirts can be used under suit jackets, or they can be worn by themselves with pants and a sweater. For men, khakis or chinos and a tailored button-down shirt is ideal. A shawl-collar cardigan can add a formal touch to the outfit, and a pair of dark-washed jeans can replace a blazer if needed.

Party Casual

The party casual dress code calls for a slightly dressier version of your go-to outfit. For women, it may mean dressing up jeans with a cute pair of ankle boots or adding heels to flared pants. It clothing supplier may also mean taking a jumpsuit and pairing it with a collared shirt or blazer.

Swann says this style of clothing is the ideal choice for social occasions that don’t have specific dress codes, such as nights out with friends or first dates. This is a great way to elevate the most casual of your wardrobe items and add a touch of polish without having to spend money on new clothes.

She recommends that you avoid anything too ripped, stained or dirty. If you’re wearing denim, opt for slim-fitting dark or black styles that don’t show off too much cleavage. If you want to wear a skirt, choose one with a midi length that falls below the knee and add a pair of heels. For a top, try a button-up or polo-style shirt with either short or long sleeves or a blouse in a silk or satin fabric. You can also dress up a plain T-shirt with a graphic or a statement necklace or earrings.

For men, a pair of nice khakis or corduroy pants with a striped polo-style shirt or collared shirt is a good option, as are suit pants and a tailored blazer. Avoid cotton T-shirts or shirts with large printed graphics or slogans.