Look Stylish in Casual Wear

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Eng, Lynn, estrella sacragon and 2 others

Some people like to dress casually because it is comfortable and practical.

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In addition, many people simply have laid-back, informal personalities that do not jibe well with formal wear. The problem is, sometimes it's difficult to draw the line between casual and just plain careless, or casual and sloppy. If you are the type who likes loose rather than pencil skirts, and sensible shoes rather than three-inch heels, then you probably like to dress casually. Here's how you can maintain your comfortable, casual look and still be stylish.

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What Casual Dressing Means

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In general, when people talk about casual dressing, they are talking about a style that is more concerned with comfort and individuality than formality and uniformity. Although a wide variety of clothing can be defined as casual, it would be an error to think of casual clothes as limited to rugged and unconventional.

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Casual dressing means doing away with stiff accessories. As one stylist puts it, anything that requires you to put on a girdle or a corset cannot be called casual. In recent years, the fabric of casual clothing has undergone many changes. Lace, which used to be material for rather formally constructed clothes, can now be worn any time of day. Even beads and bling have crossed over from strictly formal to daily wear. A lot of other fabrics have made an appearance on the casual scene.

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What is Still Not Casual

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As a rule, even clothing that is classified as informal is decidedly more formal than casual wear. Some outfits steadfastly remain in the corner denoted as formal wear. Included in this list are the following:

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  1. 1
    Ceremonial clothes
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    Robes of judges, habits worn by people of the cloth, and royal robes are definitely formal wear.
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  2. 2
    Full-dress military uniforms are also to be treated as formal wear.
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  3. 3
    White tie and tuxedos are definitely classified as formal wear.
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  4. 4
    Ball gowns and wedding gowns are also formal.
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Clothing That Doesn't Fall Into The Definition Of Casual

Apart from the strictly formal clothes, there are some other types of attire that don't come under the definition of casual:

  1. 1
    Semi-formal men's wear such as black tie may not be formal, but cannot be considered casual either.
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  2. 2
    Professional suits and ties, like black tie clothing, are also considered semi-formal rather than casual.
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The Casual Look And Its Variants

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Certain pieces of clothing have become the epitome of casual wear. Blue jeans, T-shirts, and flat shoes are practically uniforms for people who dress casually. Apart from these staple items, it's safe to say that work clothes are usually categorized as casual. Included in this group would be overalls, jumpsuits, and whatever is worn for manual labor.

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A few variants have entered the casual fashion scene since Madonna showed up in her hit MTV wearing lace gloves and underwear. Some of the more common forms of the new casual include "costumes" of some sort. Take note of the following trends:

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  • Punk has become an accepted casual style. This is especially true among the younger generation. This style can include multiple body piercings and multi-colored hair.
  • Goth is a popular casual look. It is characterized by the omnipresence of black, pale make-up and an attempt to look mysterious, even eerie.
  • Skin is shown freely when sporting the casual look. This goes with shorter skirts, and blouses that show some midriff or more cleavage than usual.
  • Showing underwear is no longer taboo. Conscientiously keeping bra straps hidden is a thing of the past with the casual look, as are shear bloused where the undergarments are visible.
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Definitely Casual

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Some articles of clothing are definitely casual. All sportswear, including swimwear, is definitely casual. While women may wear formal gowns and show off skin, this does not hold true for men. Men's clothes that expose their shoulders, backs, knees, thighs, or legs are considered casual. The one possible exception to this is the kilt, which can be formal or casual, depending on what is worn on top of it (we'll refrain from discussing what's underneath the kilt).

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Is there a way to be casual yet fashionably stylish?

People who choose to dress casually need not look frumpy, or sloppy. There are ways to dress for comfort and still look good. The main ingredients in the casual look are comfort, while still maintaining a sense of individual style that you can achieve by following the steps below.

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  1. 1
    Do not compromise on good fit
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    Whatever you are wearing - be it a T-shirt, a peasant blouse, a sweater, or a bolero - a good fit will make your casual clothes look good on you, and in itself, that is a hallmark of good style.
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  2. 2
    Develop a style that is all yours
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    This means more than picking up on a fashion gimmick and wearing it. It means wearing your clothes in a way that is uniquely yours. For example, everyone remembers the hairstyles of Jacqueline Onassis and Princess Diana because these were styles that were part of their personality.
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  3. 3
    Provide a good fashion foundation to your wardrobe
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    You can do this by keeping a few classic pieces in your closet. A good cardigan, a well-tailored coat, or a black skirt are all excellent timeless and versatile pieces that will give your colorful T-shirts or flamboyant blouse a stability needed for true chic.
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  4. 4
    Learn to use color
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    Black has become an extremely popular color to the extent that many people seem afraid to add a splash of color to their ensembles. For some, wearing nothing but black is an attempt to become sedately fashionable. Actually overdoing black can make an individual look dreary. Break the monotony of black by combining it with gray or some other neutral color. Better yet, add a bright coloured scarf or other accessory.
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  5. 5
    Do not go overboard with your accessories
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    Accessories are meant to complement your other clothes and help you achieve a total look. Going overboard with accessories can actually create a discordant note in your appearance. Someone famous suggested you look in a mirror just before leaving the house, and remove something. One thing...bracelet, hair ornament, belt - etc.
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  6. 6
    Good grooming is a timeless and permanent rule
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    Good grooming does not refer to a sleek, salon styled hairdo or manicured nails. It means basic maintenance - no spots on clothes, no chipped nail polish, hair combed, and make-up free from smears. Keep your casual clothes clean, well pressed, and mended.
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  7. 7
    Be casual but appropriate
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    Certain styles are simply inappropriate for certain times, places, and occasions. You can wear casual clothes to work but definitely, this won't work well if your casual blouse is extremely sheer, or has spaghetti straps and your skirt is a micro-mini. Be smart about where you work. You'll get away with a lot more if you work in a hair salon, than if you are a legal clerk in a law firm.
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  8. 8
    Select casual clothes of the best quality you can afford
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    Casual is one thing, but a cheap shirt that is ill-fitting and just a teeny bit lopsided does nothing for anybody. Poorly made clothes will look simply tacky instead of informal. If money is an issue, you can get really good quality from a used clothing store, than if you paid full price at a Target or similar store.
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  9. 9
    Mix your styles
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    Your favorite jeans and T-shirt will get an unbelievable lift with just the right well-fitting blazer or vest. An ordinary black skirt with a scarf around your waist can look very chic. Experiment without going overboard. A classy dress with a jean jacket is a great statement, and a way to dress down an outfit.
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  10. 10
    Above all, be comfortable in every way that word can apply
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    Be comfortable physically, and be comfortable with the way you look. Nothing kills the casual style more quickly than you being unsure that you look good.
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Tips, Tricks and Warnings

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There are some pieces that will be of immeasurable value as you try to carry off the casual but stylish look. Here are some of those extremely versatile wardrobe basics:

  • Well-cut dark wash jeans without too many stitches, studs, or details of any sort
  • A classic white shirt that buttons down the front. A cotton blend is more casual than silk or linen.
  • Black, wide-legged trousers in a flowing fabric.
  • A good leather jacket.
  • An A-line skirt, knee-length, in a soft fluid material.
  • A long sleeved blouse in a solid neutral color.
  • Comfortable wedge shoes.
  • A good cardigan or blazer in a solid neutral color.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please post in the comments section below.

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Article Info

Categories : Fashion

Recent edits by: Nuance, estrella sacragon, Lynn

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