What Is Casual Dressing?

by Mara Tyler

Casual dress can vary depending on the event or circumstances.

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When it comes to fashion, casual dressing can mean a variety of things. Casual dress can mean one thing if you're attending a wedding, but quite another at work or a dinner party. It's important to understand what type of casual dress is appropriate for different events or circumstances. In general, casual dressing incorporates a lot of basic pieces in solid colors but can vary depending on your personal preference and style.

Work

When it comes to casual dressing at work, the idea of "business casual" is a common dress code concept many companies promote. For men, this can mean khaki pants and button-up shirts with loafers. Men typically don't need to wear ties, but can add a causal blazer to make the outfit semi-professional. For women, casual dressing at work can include pieces like conservative blouses, non-denim pants, ballet flats or skirts with leggings. As opposed to formal dress, business casual dress for women doesn't usually require a suit set or high heels. Women should also avoid sleeveless tops unless this is appropriate for the place of business.

Dining

When dining out, casual dressing can be slightly less formal than "business casual" for work. Light colors tend to be more casual than dark ones and well-fitted jeans are usually appropriate as well. For women, fitted blouses or sleeveless tops with jeans, pants or skirts can be good choices. Men can wear polo or Hawaiian shirts with jeans or shorts. While some restaurants may be more casual than others, it's usually best to avoid sandals, hats or excessively-revealing clothing unless you're sure the environment is appropriate.

Weddings

At weddings, casual dressing can mean a variety of things. For a summer wedding, loose-fitting, strapless dresses and flat sandals can be appropriate for women, in addition to dressy pants and sleeveless tops. For men, khaki pants and a pressed button-up shirt with loafers is appropriate. Winter weddings might require pants, boots and a dressy cardigan for women, while men can typically stick with trousers and sweaters. Despite casual dress at a wedding, given the nature of the event, it's usually best to dress up a casual outfit with a nice accessory like earrings, for women, or a dressy watch for men. Solid colors are a good option for both men and women.

Holiday Events

When it comes to casual dressing for holiday parties, there is plenty of room to be creative. In general, wearing appropriate colors, like red and green for Christmas, is a good choice. Women can wear festive tops or party dresses, pants or skirts. Heels aren't usually necessary unless it's a business party. Men can add some flair to a casual holiday outfit by wearing an appropriately-colored polo shirt or scarf. Depending on the weather, men can wear shorts or jeans with sneakers or loafers. Blazers and ties aren't necessary for casual holiday attire.

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About the Author

Mara Tyler is a writer and public relations consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area. With more than eight years of experience, she specializes in health, nutrition, women's lifestyle and marketing. Tyler holds a Bachelor of Science in public relations.