Knowing what to wear for different dress codes can be difficult and seeing "casual dress code" on an invitation is especially difficult! Everyone's idea of casual is very different, and what counts as casual can vary enormously depending on the situation. But don't worry, there are plenty of guidelines to make sure you end up right!
What is casual dress?
A casual dress code is about exactly what it sounds like – the opportunity to wear your favorite clothes without looking out of place! That's essentially it opposite of a dress code, with no requirements on what to wear. Jeans and sneakers should be good for most casual events. Of course, feel free to wear something a little more formal if super casual isn't your thing, and you should also avoid showing up in your pajamas! Here are some basic guidelines for what type of clothing can work for temporary events:
- A comfortable dress like a sundress
- A skirt (either long or short is good)
- Jeans, khakis or other casual pants
- Plain t-shirt, polo neck or turtleneck
- Relaxed button-down blouse
Everything really old and worn is probably not ok – the fact that the organizers of the event have entered a dress code suggests that you should at least be reasonably smart! Temporary dress code does not quite means "have what you want," but it means you should dress for comfort without worrying about formality or regulations. Another tip is to avoid slogan t-shirts, as they can make an outfit a little too casual.
Casual dress code for a party or special event
If you go to a party or other special event that sets a casual dress code, it can be a little tricky! Obviously, you have to dress a little more than if you just sat at home, but the host obviously doesn't want the event to be too formal. A backyard BBQ may have a casual dress code, for example, where you would be good to pop up in jeans, sneakers and a nice blouse or plain t-shirt. A sundress and comfortable shoes would also work. If you are worried that this may be a little too informal, a good compromise suit is ankle boots and fitted pants or a beautiful but casual dress.
Casual dress code for the office
If your office has a casual dress code, or maybe casual Friday, you should be a little more careful! You have to find the right balance between casual and professional. Don't wear anything you want to sit at home – workout suits, yoga bags and hoodies aren't ok! Instead, choose a discreet and comfortable dress, or wear a blouse with jeans.
Casual dress code versus business casual
When you think of casual dress in the office, it is important to remember that there is a big difference between a casual dress code and a casual dress code for business! The "casual" of business casual is really just to distinguish it from business formally – it still requires smart, office-appropriate clothing, just with a little more freedom in things like color. If you are asked to wear casual casual clothing, you need to look for much more formal clothing than a casual dress code requires. Be sure which dress code to follow!
Summer casual dress code
When trying to follow a casual dress code in the summer, you want to stay cool while still dressing properly for any event you attend. Shorts are probably a good bet, either denim or a nice liquid fabric. Loose maxi skirts are also a great comfortable way to wear a casual dress in the summer, as well as loose pants. If a casual dress code has been entered, you probably shouldn't wear anything for skimpy, like a bikini top, but pretty short shorts or a high slit skirt should be just fine! However, each event will be different, so think about who will attend before deciding how much skin to show.
Here are some suggestions on how to dress relaxed in the summer:
- Denim cut-off shorts
- Plain white, loosely fitting t-shirts and tanks
- Flowing maxi skirts
- Fitted or tailored shorts
- Lightweight cardigans or jackets
Winter casual dress code
Dressing relaxed in the winter is obviously very different from sleeping in the summer! If it's cold outside, chances are you can get away with an even more casual outfit. Feel free to stock up on your warmest and coolest sweaters and add a great scarf. Casual hats like hats are great with a casual outfit, so take the chance to keep your head nice and warm! Boots are the ultimate winter shoes, and investing in a good pair will ensure that you are well-dressed all winter, regardless of the event. If it is a really cold and wet day you may need a pair of waterproof boots and a good weather resistant coat. A casual dress code is by far the easiest to follow during the winter months, so enjoy being able to keep yourself nice and packed!