The invitation says “dress code: casual.” So, you're supposed to, what — wear clothes?
Although dressing casual is easy in theory (most of us do it every day), decoding what "casual" means when it's the dress code is a little bit different. “Casual” doesn't mean “wear whatever you feel like.”
It's harder to go wrong with a casual dress code than with most others, but there are still some guidelines that can help you get it right. In this installation of our dress code guides, you will help figure out how to navigate this deceptively simple dress code style.
Casual: A Definition Casual basically means "whatever you like ̵1; as long as it's event appropriate." Like business casual, casual dress is dictated in part by the nature of the event. But casual attire offers a much wider range of possibilities than business casual attire.
You can wear anything that looks nice. This includes jeans, sweaters, t-shirts, sneakers, and much more. However, it usually includes flip-flops, sweats or gym clothes, revealing clothes, stained clothes, heavily distressed or ripped items, and graphic shirts with offensive or controversial statements on them.
Your goal is to wear your regular clothes, but with just a little more attention to presentation.
To make things even more confusing, some workplaces have a "casual" dress code. (Or participate in the slightly "casual Friday" tradition.) With a casual dress code at work, you have the opportunity to express lots of personality with your clothing – just what you might look like lazy (like sweats), or make someone uncomfortable (like certain political slogans).
When to Dress Casual
If the dress code style for an event is unspecified , you want to carefully consider whether or not going casual is the right choice.
A few examples of when you might wear casual clothing include:
But where you might want to make a good impression on the people around you.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with wearing sweats at a laid back restaurant or on an airplane. But if it's a specific event, like a friend's birthday dinner, or a flight with the wedding party to a destination wedding, you can honor the occasion with carefully chosen casual attire.
There are some exceptions to this list: for example, casual clothes won a flight if the restaurant does fine dining, and business casual will work better. True casual wear is best suited for events involving friends and family — not co-workers — unless it's a casual workplace.
- Skirts and dresses
- 19659021] For footwear, you can choose sneakers, boots, cute sandals (avoid flip-flops), or even heels.
Your accessories and makeup, if you choose to wear them, should follow the same rules as your clothing: pretty much anything goes, as long as it's not offensive or overly lazy. For example, the old backpack you have had since being a good choice, but a well-maintained, nice looking backpack is fine.
- Polo shirts
- ] Flannels and other casual button-downs
For men, closed-toe shoes are a good choice, like sneakers, loafers, or boat shoes. Accessories like belts are optional (unless your pants will fall down without one).
Even in super-casual settings, like beach parties, hygiene is also important for both men and women. If you are well-groomed and your clothes are clean and free from stains, most of you will have your wardrobe will probably work as a casual attire.
Just don’t take the "casual" concept to the extreme. When in doubt, it's always better to be a little over-dressed than the alternative.