Monday, 13 July 2015

Sub-Categories of Comfortable Casual

Closet Content Analysis: What kind of comfortable casual?

Choices: Fitness to Business

This business of categorization is a work in progress. Over the next while, I'll be refining, adapting, substituting, combining and rearranging the organization of these categories, but here's the beginning of my attempt at creating the Comfortable Casual sub-categories. 

If you are a Comfortable Casual dresser, which one of the labels suits your closet?  

Photo Source: Aliexpress
Finess Casual: It started innocently enough, you didn't change after going to the gym one day and now you don't bother dressing differently for most of your social or even work activities. You probably don't have any pants other than the yoga variety except for a couple of pairs of blue jeans. Your mother or mother-in-law wants to say to you, "Cropped leggings are not pants". All the tops you own have been purchased in a sports running store or for your more formal outfits at Lululemon. If you do buy any clothing in a regular clothing store, you mix and match within the category of "Athleisure", a term used in Europe, to describe a mix of fitness and regular clothes. Even when you have to buy a dress or skirt you opt for various weights of "sweatshirt" fabric or something synthetic that washes up and doesn't need ironing.

For the guys: Muscle shirts and baggy sports shorts, those that belong primarily in the gym, have become your summer choices. "Sweats" make up your winter wardrobe. You have a couple of pairs of Dockers, for dress-up, and of course, jeans.

Photo Source: MailOnline
Sport (Team) Casual: If Rihanna is doing it . . . Your look includes hooded sweatshirts, brand-insignia t-shirts, and university gift shop sweatpants but when you want to get dressed up, you wear blue jeans. For the most part everything is oversized in the "tops" category of clothing. The shoulder seams hang halfway down your arm. You've stopped buying t-shirts in the women's department and are buying men's large even though you're probably a women's medium. You probably have also collected oversize workout wear, sports gear and jerseys from ex-boyfriends or male family members who were all tall and broad and you are trim and under 5' 3". Colour choices range in those of your favourite sports team or university town. Green and orange are not always the most becoming colours. And you truly believe those little football or baseball bat earrings are adorable.

For the guys: The only t-shirts you own, other than your favourite sports team jerseys, are promotional t-shirts primarily from beer companies.

Fitness Chic/Active Chic/Sporty Chic: You don't work out, for the most part, but you buy high end Stella McCartney for Adidas articles that will never see the gym. You wear these clothes to the office as well since most things you own are more upscale than fitness casual. This category reminds me of a poster I saw that read, "none of my yoga pants have ever been to yoga". When the trend dictates, spangles, sequins and embroidery embellishes what would be ordinary workout wear. You have a variety of "gym-style" shoes that never get worn out because you don't actually run or workout in them. You wear North Face proudly and well you should even though the only side of a mountain you have ever seen is from your hotel window.

For the guys: You don't golf, but you can compete with the pros when it comes to your perfectly poised golf attire. In the summer it's shorts and golf shirts, in the winter its long pants and golf shirts.

Photo Source: WhoWhatWear
Business Casual: You don't dress much differently for work or play but everything fits perfectly. Cotton, silk and linen are your choices. You cringe at anything polyester. Put a blazer on with your jeans and t-shirt and you are "dressed up" for the evening. Put a blazer on with a pair of pants and a t-shirt and you can go to work without feeling underdressed. The blazer, unstructured or fitted, is your go-to item of clothing and keeps you within bounds when the occasion is a tad more upscale or lets you remove it when everyone else is in shorts and t-shirts. The choice of footwear is what takes your outfits to the next level.

For the guys: A t-shirt with a suit or blue jeans, a t-shirt and a blazer is the basic formula for business casual. It's always a crew neck or v-neck t-shirt. Everything fits impeccably.

Casual Chic: Even though there isn't a blazer in your closet, you always look good in the well fitted casual clothing you have collected. Everything fits well in the shoulders and on the hips but most of your clothes are built to hang loosely over the body. Ellen Tracy represents most of what you choose to wear. 

Here's the problem with the all inclusive category of Comfortable Casual generally - it allows us to get sloppy and that's when it just isn't comfortable. It's all about the fit, no matter what kind of casual you are. 

Check out what I have written before on this topic:
Comfortable Casual or Business Attire
Summer Office Wear - What is Too Casual?
What is "Comfortable Casual"?
Knee-Length Shorts at Work and Play
Defining Casual Clothing
What Kind of Comfortable?


  1. Dressing comfortable for everyday is becoming more and more the norm here in Western Canada. I find because of my line of work and my personal style there's no need for me to wear a suit and tie. I do have a suit and tie but sadly it seems like I only ever wear it to funerals. I'm a huge fan of the fitness casual look. I seem to live in yoga pants around the house, to the grocery store or running errands. (don't worry, I wear a top that goes well below my waist.)

    I'm not huge into shirt that support a sport team but I do have a few.

    The only true active wear is my bike ride clothes.

    Not real big into business casual but my tastes are changing. I'm starting to like the look of wearing a scarf. It seems very European.

    Casual Chic - I'm not into tight fitted clothes, maybe many years ago but it's not a flattering look anymore.

    Great post as always, thanks for sharing.

    1. Sorry Brian but . . . I can't resist . . . you're going to have to "kick it up a notch" if you want to incorporate scarves into your look. I guess I've always thought you were more casual chic because of the flats I don't see the flats with something like sport casual. .I suppose what one wears around the house doesn't really count does it? I think it's the "look" you have at work (unless of course you have a uniform), when meeting friends casually, even shopping, and going out to dinner whether your aunt's or a restaurant. It is basically what you feel comfortable in, wherever and with whomever you are.

      It's a tough category to sub-divide and I don't know if I will ever get it right - whatever right might be.


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