Casual clothing has become increasingly popular in recent years, appealing to those looking for comfort and versatility in their wardrobes. The New York Times has noted the rise of athleisure, casual workwear, and effortless style as mainstays of casual dressing. Brands like Everlane and COS have found success with timeless, minimalist casual collections. This guide explores the key elements of casual style and tips for wearing it well.
The number one priority of casual dressing is comfort. Natural, breathable fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk are ideal. Silhouettes can be relaxed and flowy or more tailored – whatever feels best. Details like elastic waists, drawstrings, and soft T-shirt fabrics make casual clothes easy to move around in. Consider comfort first and build looks from there.
Mix and Match
Casual style works best with versatile staples that can be mixed and matched. Focus on high-quality basics in neutral colors like denim, tees, knits, and sneakers. Then layer on casual jackets, button-downs, sweaters, and accessories to create new looks. Build a casual capsule wardrobe with multi-use pieces.
Effortless and Unfussy
The essence of casual dressing is looking relaxed and natural, not overdone. Pieces should feel uncomplicated – for example, T-shirts and jeans rather than heavy fabrics and ornate details. Aim for an effortless vibe. Pay attention to fit and quality, but keep styling looking organic.
Key Casual Pieces
Some versatile items to stock up on include:
Well-fitting jeans – lean and straight legs work well
Neutral tees and tanks – stock up on these layering basics
Knits – cozy crewnecks, cardigans, cotton sweaters
Sneakers – white or minimalist pairs go with most casual outfits
Field or bomber jackets – toss on for transitional weather
Linen or cotton button-downs – for a bit more polish
Casual Style Tips
Mix textures like knits with denim or soft tees with crisp shirting for visual interest
Cuff sleeves and pants or a roll-up shirt hems slightly for a relaxed vibe
Add simple jewelry like thin layered necklaces or small hoops and rings
Try untucked shirts with high-waisted bottoms for a laidback look
Go for low-key hairstyles like messy buns or ponytails to match the casual mood
Casual dressing is about looking and feeling your best in a comfortable, approachable way. Follow these tips to develop your modern casual style.