Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Defining Casual Clothing

Closet Content Analysis: Casual Categories

Choices: Male or Female


In a previous post, I wrote that there were no formalized definitions or categories of casual dress. This post is my first attempt at categorizing casual clothing. 

The following are several categories of "casual" wear placed on a continuum from least casual to most formal of the casual. On the continuum, jeans and t-shirts to business casual is the range of my closet preferences when I go out. I would not leave the house in comfortable casual, which, by my definition, includes sweat pants and oversized t-shirts. When it comes to going out for a coffee, shopping, going to the bar, or doing errands many do settle in at the middle range of casual which is essentially jeans and t-shirts.

Least Formal
Most Casual

Most Formal of the Casual
Comfortable Casual   Recreation Casual                        
SportsBar Casual           Jeans & T-Shirt
Business Casual

Shopping in Business Casual.
Photo by JoyD
Comfortable Casual at home. Photo by JoyD

Comfortable Casual is what we wear at home on the weekend when we don't expect to see anyone except our very nearest and dearest. As stated, sweats, baggy shorts, oversized t-shirts or tops, and flip flops dominate this category.

Austrailian author, Sarah Turnbull, writes about wearing "comfortable casual" in her book Almost French. Her husband, Frederic asks her, "Are you going out like that, wearing your gymnastic pantaloons?" When she tells him that she is simply going to the bakery, he responds by saying, "But that is not nice for the baker man . . . " No matter the reason, comfortable casual should not be an option when we go out.

Recreation Casual is one step up from comfortable casual since it includes wearing sports gear but not in a sport situation as in, yoga pants when shopping.

SportsBar Casual includes that printed t-shirt (most often advertising a barley malt product, concert or event) and blue jeans look, which is likely of North American origin. One person's "sports bar casual" is another person's "cleaning the house" clothes. Categorize it as you will but don't wear it if you want to make a style statement, unless you are an adolescent male. To call it a "style" is to give it more credit than it deserves.

Jeans & T-Shirt is a step-up from SportsBar Casual and if you put on a blazer it is the least casual in the Business Casual look. The features that differentiates it are the fit and "artsy" t-shirts as opposed to "advertising" t-shirts. 

Business Casual is well-fitting clothing that is acceptable in a work environment that serves clients. I say "serves clients" to differentiate between those who do not have to meet the public. Therefore business casual may differ in definition from workplace to workplace so that in one business only a certain formality, albeit casual, may be required while in another business situation there is no need to wear a formalized version of "casual". Take a look at what I wrote about appropriate work choices.

NO THANKS: The "beer" t-shirt. Unless you are working for the brewing company or being paid by them to wear their t-shirts, reserve them for house-cleaning. If you have actually spent your own money to advertise their product, consider that there are better clothing items on which to spend your hard-earned cash. If you received it for free, you won't need to buy dusting cloths. Not all, but certainly some are ready for the rag bin after only one wash. 

NOTE-WORTHY: Sports bar casual can be upgraded by simply wearing a solid dark colour t-shirt. Dark colours are mandatory because sports bar outings go with drinking beer, eating salsa and nachos and having something spilled. A white or light colour t-shirt won't survive the night.

NICE: When out, perfectly fitting jeans and a t-shirt and derivations up to and including business casual.

T-Shirt NICE & NO THANKS considerations when shopping:

NO THANKS: boxy oversize printed t-shirts advertising anything

NICE: the perfect fit: not too tight across the bust/chest, long enough for your torso, sits well on the shoulders and is loose enough through the body to feel comfortable, and close enough to look like it belongs on your body and not someone twice your size.

The Joe Fresh solid colour t-shirts are one of the best and since you can buy them at the same time you are picking up your groceries at SuperStore in Canada, availability is easy and inexpensive. Ranging in price from $8.00 to $12.00, they are a good quality cotton, are available in the trendiest colours and best of all, are fitted and come a little longer than usual. See Update at end of the post.

NOTE-WORTHY: the v-neck appears to be the most flattering of all necklines for every body type

Of course, there are many favourites. So if Joe Fresh isn't your favourite, let the rest of know which t-shirts you like better for your "sports bar casual" look. See Update at end of the post.

Don't make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way to live.
- Gianni Versace

Joe Fresh No Longer a Favourite - Update: Several hours after posting, I heard the news about the factory disaster in Bangladesh - the factory that produces Joe Fresh products. The very least those employees should have had was a safe working environment and they did not have that. I also heard a spokesperson from Loblaws sending condolences to the families of the more than 100 workers who died. My proposal is that we return any Joe Fresh clothing we own to Superstore and ask for a refund. Of course we won't get a refund without a receipt so I further propose that we simply leave the Joe Fresh clothing on their counters and tell them we no longer want to support an irresponsible company owing to the factory building disaster that could have been prevented. Enough of us can make a difference.


  1. Our casual dress up shows our living. So it is important to wear the clothes that looks genuine.

    mufti online


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