Casual. Overused, misunderstood, and misrepresented word in the English language. While some people find it synonymous with socks-and-sandals, sweatpants and a t-shirt from a discount store, others see it as the only way to start every day. But the truth is, casual really means comfortable. And casual dressing for a man can be an art and a science.
What looks good on you, what makes you feel good about yourself, and what makes you comfortable in any situation are all key elements to keep in mind as your put together an outfit every morning. Like when to wear summer homburg hat or a pair of driving gloves, it’s all about knowing the right time and place.
And to help you better understand the casual look, we have created this guide. Think of it as a quick reference for your everyday wardrobe. We’ll discuss color and pattern, collar shape and fabric weight, fit and style for every situation you might find yourself in.
Let’s face it: The word “casual” is wildly subjective. Casual for you might be a suit and tie, while casual for the guy in the cubicle next door could mean a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. In fact, many men do not understand what casual style means to begin with because they think it means sloppy or disheveled. Not so. To us, being casually dressed simply means that you are wearing something other than a business suit or sport coat. Instead of a jacket and tie, it means a polo shirt with chinos or jeans. Instead of dress shoes, it could mean loafers or sneakers. Casual style is all about being laid back and comfortable but still looking put together and ready for whatever might come your way.
The shape of your casual shirt’s collar is also critical. If you are going to be outdoors, or in a hot climate, avoid pointed collars as they will only serve to make you more uncomfortable. Opt for a relaxed spread collar or even a button-down collar instead. The fabric weight of your casual shirt is also important – go for something light and breathable like cotton or linen rather than something heavy and synthetically based.
Experiment with patterns on your casual shirts. Because you will be wearing casual shirts more often than not, and they are supposed to be a bit more relaxed in terms of their look and feel, there is a lot more room to get creative with the colors and patterns. You can go for plaids and stripes or gingham checks or even bold prints like paisley or color blocking. You can also opt for subtle patterns and check out some of the new color combinations in prints.
If you are not too comfortable with patterns and colors and want to keep your look more sober, then you can go for shirts in solid colors. You can experiment with different shades of the same color or even go for two-tone effect by teaming a dark shirt with light pants or vice versa. Just remember that when it comes to casual shirts, less is more. So don’t overdo it either in terms of pattern or color. Some examples of casual shirt fabrics are cotton, linen, and flannel. To incorporate patterns into your wardrobe, try plaids, stripes, gingham checks, paisley prints, or color blocking. If you prefer a more subdued look, choose shirts in solid colors. Two-tone effects can be achieved by pairing a dark shirt with light pants or vice versa. Remember that less is more when it comes to casual shirts. Some examples of casual shirt fabrics are cotton, linen, and flannel.
Casual styling is and always be about comfort and ease, so make sure your clothes reflect that. Look for natural fabrics like cotton and linen in solid colors or simple patterns. And don’t forget to keep it relaxed – no need for buttoned-up perfection here!