Casual wear

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Parents in casual wear with their child, 2013. Nha Trang 2013-11-20 19.jpg
Parents in casual wear with their child, 2013.

Casual wear (or casual attire or clothing) is a Western dress code that is relaxed, occasional, spontaneous and suited for everyday use. Casual wear became popular in the Western world following the counterculture of the 1960s. When emphasising casual wear's comfort, it may be referred to as leisurewear or loungewear.

While casual is "informal" in the sense of "not formal", informal wear traditionally refers to a Western dress code associated with suits—a step below semi-formal wear—thus being more formal than casual attire. [1]


Modern casual fashion can be traced to fashion sportswear from the 1920s, including tweed blazers, oxford shoes, and golf skirts. An increase in the popularity of bicycling brought about a need for culottes, a forerunner for casual shorts. As the century progressed, "casual" came to encompass more styles, including denim workwear and elements from military uniforms. With the popularity of spectator sports in the late 20th century, a good deal of athletic gear has influenced casual wear, such as jogging suits, running shoes, and track clothing. [2] Basic materials used for casual wear include denim, cotton, jersey, flannel, and fleece. Materials such as velvet, chiffon, and brocade are often associated with more formal clothes. [3]

While casual dress evokes utilitarian costume, there is a wide range for expression, including punk fashion and fashion inspired by earlier decades, such as the 1970s and 1980s. Madonna popularized lace, jewelry, and cosmetics into casual wear during the 1980s. In the 1990s, hip hop fashion played up elaborate jewelry and luxurious materials worn in conjunction with athletic gear and the clothing of manual labor.

Gender expression

Casual wear introduced a "unisexing" of fashion. By the 1960s, women adopted T-shirts, jeans, and collared shirts, and for the first time in nearly 200 years, it was fashionable for men to have long hair. [2] Casual wear is typically the dress code in which forms of gender expression are experimented with. An example is masculine jewelry, which was once considered shocking or titillating even in casual circles, and is now hardly noteworthy in semi-formal situations. Amelia Bloomer introduced trousers of a sort for women as a casual alternative to formal hoops and skirts. The trend toward female exposure in the 20th century tended to push the necklines of formal ball gowns lower and the skirts of cocktail dresses higher.

Jeans, dress shirt (casually turn down collared), and a T-shirt or sleeveless shirt are typically considered casual wear for men in modern times. [4] [5] For men, the exposure of shoulders, thighs, and backs is still limited to casual wear.[ citation needed ]

See also

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Suit</span> Western business attire of matching jacket and trousers

A suit, lounge suit, or business suit is a set of clothes comprising a suit jacket and trousers of identical textiles generally worn with a collared dress shirt, necktie, and dress shoes. A skirt suit is similar, but with a matching skirt instead of trousers. It is currently considered semi-formal wear or business wear in contemporary Western dress codes, however when the suit was originally developed it was considered an informal or more casual option compared to the prevailing clothing standards of aristocrats and businessmen. The lounge suit originated in 19th-century Britain as sportswear and British country clothing, which is why it was seen as more casual than citywear at that time, with the roots of the suit coming from early modern Western Europe formal court or military clothes. After replacing the black frock coat in the early 20th century as regular daywear, a sober one-coloured suit became known as a lounge suit.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Business casual</span> Casual Western dress code

Business casual is an ambiguously defined Western dress code that is generally considered casual wear but with smart components of a proper lounge suit from traditional informal wear, adopted for white-collar workplaces. This interpretation typically including dress shirt and trousers, but worn with an odd-coloured blazer or a sports coat instead. Neck ties are optional in this category.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Formal wear</span> Class of clothing for special occasions or events

Formal wear or full dress is the Western dress code category applicable for the most formal occasions, such as weddings, christenings, confirmations, funerals, Easter and Christmas traditions, in addition to certain state dinners, audiences, balls, and horse racing events. Generally permitted other alternatives, though, are the most formal versions of ceremonial dresses, full dress uniforms, religious clothing, national costumes, and most rarely frock coats. In addition, formal wear is often instructed to be worn with official full size orders and medals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dress code</span> Clothing code based on event or occasion

A dress code is a set of rules, often written, with regard to what clothing groups of people must wear. Dress codes are created out of social perceptions and norms, and vary based on purpose, circumstances, and occasions. Different societies and cultures are likely to have different dress codes, Western dress codes being a prominent example.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Western wear</span> American clothing style associated with the Old West and cowboy culture

Western wear is a category of men's and women's clothing which derives its unique style from the clothes worn in the 19th century Wild West. It ranges from accurate historical reproductions of American frontier clothing, to the stylized garments popularized by Western film and television or singing cowboys such as Gene Autry and Roy Rogers in the 1940s and 1950s. It continues to be a fashion choice in the West and Southwestern United States, as well as people associated with country music or Western lifestyles, for example the various Western or Regional Mexican music styles. Western wear typically incorporates one or more of the following, Western shirts with pearl snap fasteners and vaquero design accents, blue jeans, cowboy hat, a leather belt, and cowboy boots.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1990s in fashion</span> Costume and fashion of the 1990s

Fashion in the 1990s was defined by a return to minimalist fashion, in contrast to the more elaborate and flashy trends of the 1980s. One notable shift was the mainstream adoption of tattoos, body piercings aside from ear piercing and, to a much lesser extent, other forms of body modification such as branding.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Smart casual</span> Ambiguously defined Western dress code

Smart casual is an ambiguously defined Western dress code that is generally considered casual wear but with smart components of a proper lounge suit from traditional informal wear. For men, this interpretation typically includes dress shirt, necktie, trousers, and dress shoes, possibly worn with an odd-coloured blazer or a sports coat.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1980s in fashion</span> Costume and fashion in the 1980s

Fashion of the 1980s was characterized by a rejection of 1970s fashion. Punk fashion began as a reaction against both the hippie movement of the past decades and the materialist values of the current decade. The first half of the decade was relatively tame in comparison to the second half, which was when apparel became very bright and vivid in appearance.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2000s in fashion</span> Fashion in the decade 2000–2009

2000s fashion is often described as a global mash up, where trends saw the fusion of vintage styles, global and ethnic clothing, as well as the fashions of numerous music-based subcultures. Hip-hop fashion generally was the most popular among young people of all sexes, followed by the retro inspired indie look later in the decade.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1945–1960 in Western fashion</span> Costume and fashion in the post-war years 1945-1960

Fashion in the years following World War II is characterized by the resurgence of haute couture after the austerity of the war years. Square shoulders and short skirts were replaced by the soft femininity of Christian Dior's "New Look" silhouette, with its sweeping longer skirts, fitted waist, and rounded shoulders, which in turn gave way to an unfitted, structural look in the later 1950s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1970s in fashion</span> Costume and fashion in the 1970s

Fashion in the 1970s was about individuality. In the early 1970s, Vogue proclaimed "There are no rules in the fashion game now" due to overproduction flooding the market with cheap synthetic clothing. Common items included mini skirts, bell-bottoms popularized by hippies, vintage clothing from the 1950s and earlier, and the androgynous glam rock and disco styles that introduced platform shoes, bright colors, glitter, and satin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Informal wear</span> Western dress code suited for office use

Informal wear or undress, also called business wear, corporate/office wear, tenue de ville or dress clothes, is a Western dress code for clothing defined by a business suit for men, and cocktail dress or pant suit for women. On the scale of formality, it is considered less formal than semi-formal wear but more formal than casual wear. Informal or undress should not be confused with casual wear such as business casual or smart casual; most situations calling for “informal wear” will usually tolerate casual dress to varying extents.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1920s in Western fashion</span> Clothing in the 1920s

Western fashion in the 1920s underwent a modernization. For women, fashion had continued to change away from the extravagant and restrictive styles of the Victorian and Edwardian periods, and towards looser clothing which revealed more of the arms and legs, that had begun at least a decade prior with the rising of hemlines to the ankle and the movement from the S-bend corset to the columnar silhouette of the 1910s. Men also began to wear less formal daily attire and athletic clothing or 'Sportswear' became a part of mainstream fashion for the first time. The 1920s are characterized by two distinct periods of fashion: in the early part of the decade, change was slower, and there was more reluctance to wear the new, revealing popular styles. From 1925, the public more passionately embraced the styles now typically associated with the Roaring Twenties. These styles continued to characterize fashion until the worldwide depression worsened in 1931.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1900s in Western fashion</span> Costume and fashion in the decade 1900–1909

Fashion in the period 1900–1909 in the Western world continued the severe, long and elegant lines of the late 1890s. Tall, stiff collars characterize the period, as do women's broad hats and full "Gibson Girl" hairstyles. A new, columnar silhouette introduced by the couturiers of Paris late in the decade signaled the approaching abandonment of the corset as an indispensable garment.

This is a list of existing articles related to fashion and clothing. For individual designers, see List of fashion designers

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1910s in Western fashion</span> Costume and fashion in the 1910s

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ivy League (clothes)</span> Style of 1950s northeastern USA fashion

Ivy League is a style of men's dress, popular during the late 1950s in the Northeastern United States, and said to have originated on college campuses, particularly those of the Ivy League. It was the predecessor to the preppy style of dress.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trousers</span> Clothing for the legs and lower body

Trousers, slacks, or pants are an item of clothing worn from the waist to anywhere between the knees and the ankles, covering both legs separately. In the United Kingdom, the word pants generally means underwear and not trousers. Shorts are similar to trousers, but with legs that come down only to around the area of the knee, higher or lower depending on the style of the garment. To distinguish them from shorts, trousers may be called "long trousers" in certain contexts such as school uniform, where tailored shorts may be called "short trousers" in the UK.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2010s in fashion</span> Fashion-related events during the 2010s

The 2010s were defined by hipster fashion, athleisure, a revival of austerity-era period pieces and alternative fashions, swag-inspired outfits, 1980s-style neon streetwear, and unisex 1990s-style elements influenced by grunge and skater fashions. The later years of the decade witnessed the growing importance in the western world of social media influencers paid to promote fast fashion brands on Pinterest and Instagram.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fashion and clothing in the Philippines</span> Fashion and folk costume of the Philippines

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  2. 1 2 Clemente, Deirdre (August 5, 2015). "Why and When Did Americans Begin to Dress So Casually?". Time . Retrieved 2023-01-04.
  3. "Material Chart". January 12, 2014.
  4. "Casual Dress for Young Men: What to Wear & How to Wear It". October 31, 2012.
  5. "How To Dress Sharp Without Shocking Your Friends". November 5, 2012.