Casual Dress Code

What is Casual Dress Code?

A casual dress code is best described as “suitable for everyday wear”. It includes outfits that are relaxed, occasional, not planned, or informal. Jeans, tee shirts, shorts, and tank tops fall under the casual dress code. Some people include workout gear since they often wear their yoga pants and sweats out in public. If you don’t feel that workout gear falls under the casual dress, you are certainly welcomed to define casual dress for yourself. This type of dress is suitable for home life, casual outings, and family get-togethers. Unless your destination or event dictates a dress code, you are safe to assume that casual dress is acceptable. If you are not sure what to wear, you should contact your host/ess or organizer regarding what would be appropriate. You’d be surprised but some backyard family get-togethers may call for casual dress but avoidance in wearing specific items because Grandma might not be happy.

Casual Dress Code for Women

The casual dress code for women are jeans, slacks, skirts, shorts, tee shirts, tank tops, blouses, flip-flops, boots, and sneakers. Do take the time to dress according to your environment. If you are spending a hot day at an amusement park, light-colored clothing and sneakers will be your best bet. If you are hiking, don’t opt for flip flops or heels! Casual is an indicator of comfort and you don’t want to be hurt or uncomfortable while enjoying your day. Casual dress can be incredibly freeing and be overwhelming at the same time. If you ever doubt if an outfit is appropriate for an event or destination, always check in with someone to get clarification.

Casual Dress Code for Men

The casual dress code for men are jeans, shorts, tee shirts, tank tops, polos, flip-flops, and sneakers. Sometimes boots are considered casual as well, depending on the nature of the rest of the outfit and where you are going. Just like the ladies, the dress should be appropriate for the environment you will be in. Comfort is the main part of the casual dress, however, make sure you understand any caveats to the dress code when engaging with other folks. Don’t be afraid to also try new items in your casual attire. Some men rely on a pair of sweats and a tee shirt as their casual attire and there is so much more out there for you to play with. Enjoy your clothing!

What Should I Wear if the Dress Code is “Smart Casual”?

Smart casual is best defined as casual but neat. Jeans that are not ripped and paired with a clean and neat polo would be smart casual. Shorts that are not denim, solid color tee shirts, and sneakers also fall under smart casual. Essentially you don’t want any of your clothing to be ripped up, holey, or dirty. Tank tops can be smart casual for women if they are paired with a nice fitting pair of pants or jeans. Flip-flops aren’t smart casual, but a nice pair of sandals will fit in perfectly. Boots are also appropriate. You should also speak with someone if you are told an event or destination requires smart casual. It is loosely defined and some people view it differently than others. It’s quite possible that the restaurant who has a smart casual dress code will deny service or employment if you wear a tank top.

Casual Dress Code Trends in 2018

Trends change often and this year we are seeing a focus on accessories and jackets for ladies. A nice tailored blazer paired with jeans and wedge heels are incredibly popular. Scarves and long sweaters are incredibly popular for the cooler weather. A white polo, black skirt, white tights, black and white striped sneakers, and a black and white checkered scarf is a very cute and functional outfit. Jewelry also helps add a little something extra to a pair of jeans. Pick a nice shiny bracelet and dazzling dangled earrings and your entire outfit will light up. We are noticing a huge trend in the ripped jeans this year as well.

For men, the smart casual is very popular. What we see a lot of is vests paired with button downs and jeans. Colorful scarves are also the trend for men. The important aspect of outfits in 2018 is the sense of confidence you exude. If a vest is not something you enjoy wearing, find those items that do make you feel good and confident in.

Companies That Have Casual Dress Codes

Newer companies have been jumping on the casual dress code for employees in the last decade. Where we wore suits to work in the 50’s, many employees now view that as an anxiety-ridden image. There is also a rise of remote workers and that means a change in dress code needs. One can work in their pajamas and wait for in-person meetings to dress accordingly.  More and more employees feel more comfortable in their work environments when they don’t have to worry about buying clothes just for work. Currently, there are quite a few large corporations who have incorporated a casual dress code, or no dress code at all. Those companies are:

  1. Google – employees are encouraged to be expressive with their dress.
  2. Zappos – they see more work accomplished since the employees are not stressed about attire
  3. Facebook – Zuckerberg wears hoodies and jeans to investor meetings, enough said!
  4. Electronic Arts – Gaming is the focus, not a dress code.
  5. Twitter – working with a social platform means human contact can be minimal
  6. LinkedIn – a professional site that encourages relaxation during the work day
  7. Quicken Loans – finances have a higher priority than your dress pants
  8. AOL – keeping this company alive will keep their employees happy, not their button-down
  9. Genentech – saving lives is their only concern
  10. Apple – Steve Jobs paved the way for those that love a nice turtleneck and pair of jeans

Dress Code With Jeans

Casual and Smart Casual are the only dress codes that allow for jeans. Several companies may follow more formal dress for the office but make exceptions for a casual day on Friday that would permit jeans. Companies that permit jeans in their dress code also desire the jeans to be neat and tidy. No rips, no holes, and nothing dirty. We highly recommend pairing the jeans with a nice button-down, a vest, and some dressier casual shoes (not sneakers). If this is a work environment, it is best to go with a pair of dark jeans. Dark jeans are often seen as more “formal” than a light denim or stonewashed pair of jeans.

Does Casual Require a Tie?

No! Ties are typically worn for Business Casual, Business Informal, and Business Formal dress codes. You can opt to wear one and go smart casual for the day. However, many people incorporate ties into their casual attire as a fashion statement and it works well. When it’s casual, you can pretty much do what you want! Some destinations or events will indicate specifics to their casual dress code out of concern for safety or ensuring someone is dressed appropriately for the environment. When in doubt, just ask. It never hurts to ask! Most everyone wants to make sure that you have the best time or experience and avoid having dress interfere with that.