What does the word "Casual" mean.

    What does the word "Casual" mean.

    post #1 of 12
    Thread Starter 

    The word "Casual" is very often used, and I want to touch on that because there's no written definition, and it's largely cultural and contextual. It's also relative and subjective, just like rich/poor, dry/wet, etc. What is casual to a CEO might be really dressy for a college kid. There's no written manual on what makes something casual or non-casual, but there is still expectations in society.

    So, I've basically written up a 5-point scale to explain the different kinds of casual, based on what I observed.

    1 is most casual, and 5 is least casual. And there are gray areas.

    1 - Kiddy Casual

    Hoodies, t-shirts with logos and designs, abercrombie or other clothes with explicit brand names shown, fake jewlery, sandals, sporting clothes, sweatpants, baseball caps. Flamboyant shoes like air jordans. Shorts. This includes stuff like "punk/goth" and "ghetto". Basically stuff that's cool in high school, but after college - not so much.

    2 - Average Joe Casual

    Jeans, solid color t-shirt, maybe a casual button-down or a polo shirt, shoes that are casual but more mature like Polo shoes maybe. Good for an adult going out to the supermarket or a movie theatre or anywhere without a specific dress code. A windbreaker maybe.

    3 - Night-Out Casual

    Jeans (only dark blue - not light colored), but also trousers, khakis, slacks are acceptable. A long sleeve buttoned shirt that's solid colored or has minimal designs. a sports and black leather slip-on shoes. Maybe a trenchcoat or a quality leather jacket. Good for going to a night club or fancy restaurant.

    4 - Work Casual

    Depends on the job. Lots of jobs nowadays are in between 3 and 4. But for an office job at Bear Stern let's say. But solid color work shirt (only worksafe colors like light blue). Tasteful tie. No jeans - slacks or trousers instead. Dress shoes.

    5 - Formal

    Even what diplomats and presidents/leaders often wear are technically 4.5's. Formal is what you wear at a wedding or funeral. Black and white only. Suit (no blazers).

    A lot of men's style blogs say men should dress like a 3.5 to 4 wherever you go, but you will stand out and you don't need to. Most Americans dress like a 1 or 1.5, maybe a 2. To look sophisticated, clean, professional and not too overdone, it's probably best to dress like a 2.5 to 3 on a day to day basis. I think people in Europe are naturally better dressed. You'll look a little bit better than the average Joe, but you won't overdo it. And then, 3.5 to 4 on work or special occasions. Like on a date, I wouldn't be an over-impressor and try to be a 4, or be too casual at a 2, but a 3.

    Sorry if this was long, but it just irritates me when people throw around the word casual without any specific meaning.

    TECHNICALLY, everything that is not a 5 is casual. But some things are more casual than others. And something that is too casual for Obama to wear at a cabinet meeting might be really classy to wear on a night out to new york.

    So, was my guide helpful or total nonsense? I'll let you decide. Do correct me where I'm wrong though.

    post #2 of 12

    I don't see anything objectionable about what you wrote. For me, casual means feeling relaxed and comfortable in an informal situation.

    post #3 of 12

    Clothes for everyday use, not formal. There's also smart casual, of course, and business casual, etc.

    If there are sub-divisions when it comes to certain types of casual, say jeans and t-shirt and track bottoms and wife beaters...who knows. Perhaps one is lower or extreme casual the other more middle casual.

    post #4 of 12
    Thread Starter 
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RsselView Post

    Clothes for everyday use, not formal. There's also smart casual, of course, and business casual, etc.

    If there are sub-divisions when it comes to certain types of casual, say jeans and t-shirt and track bottoms and wife beaters...who knows. Perhaps one is lower or extreme casual the other more middle casual.

    Yeah. As I said, basically 1 to 4 is casual. 5 is formal. Anything that is not formal (aka suit only, black and white only) is casual. A person may think that a blazer and dress pants is far from casual. But in fact it is casual. Just not as casual as what most people wear.

    Business casual (which is essentially a 4 on my list) has gotten very loose as well in American society, to the point where it borders smart casual. And smart casual would be a 3.

    post #5 of 12

    Sounds good to me.

    post #6 of 12
    I think there are at least two or three more steps between your definition of "Work Casual" and "Formal". And all of the steps have been confused by the existence of very high-end "streetwear" -- much more so for women, of course, but for men as well. In certain areas, I see guys wandering around in the same silhouettes as your "Casual 1" -- except that each item costs hundreds of dollars, and they will take those five hundred dollar shredded jeans into places that would normally demand much more apparent effort.
    post #7 of 12
    Thread Starter 
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CompassRoseView Post

    I think there are at least two or three more steps between your definition of "Work Casual" and "Formal". And all of the steps have been confused by the existence of very high-end "streetwear" -- much more so for women, of course, but for men as well. In certain areas, I see guys wandering around in the same silhouettes as your "Casual 1" -- except that each item costs hundreds of dollars, and they will take those five hundred dollar shredded jeans into places that would normally demand much more apparent effort.

    Good points.

    Occupations, generally, have loosened their dress code over the years. What people think is work casual (or i should say business casual), is actually just Smart Casual. Or even more casual than that. The U.S. has become so casual (unlike some of Europe) that someone who actually dresses business casual may seem formal. If you are a college kid or a high school kid (who wears a lot of the flamboyant, but immature clothing), you may think what a waiter (in a very high end restaurant) wears is formal, but it's just business casual. Even a lot of United Nations diplomats now are business casual.

    I guess the difference between formal and casual is objective. Formal dress code has specific standards, whereas the differences between smart casual and business casual (in all honesty) are a bit blurry.

    post #8 of 12

    I think that climate makes a difference as well.

    Here in Florida, business casual for men (asdefined in policy everywhere I've worked)is polo or button-up shirt, short or long sleeve, and neat khakis, nice work shoes. For women it is pretty broadly defined, but we don't have to wear pantyhose, that's for sure.

    post #9 of 12

    casual to me is simply a relaxed environment

    post #10 of 12
    Nicely put!

    There is definitely a spectrum rather than a defined steps when it comes to dress style. I think I would go with a two axis scale, one for casual-formal style and one for hot-cold weather/environment.
    post #11 of 12

    I dig the spectrum. I wish you had touched more on streetwear and minimalist styling as well. Especially with an outfit like a leather jacket, raw denim, leather boots, where would that even fall? It isn't really 1, 2, or 3.

    post #12 of 12
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noirdrakkarView Post

    Anything that is not formal... is casual.

    Agreed. The rest vary with social situations/dress code.
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    5/18/13 at 10:22pm

    noirdrakkar said:



    The word "Casual" is very often used, and I want to touch on that because there's no written definition, and it's largely cultural and contextual. It's also relative and subjective, just like rich/poor, dry/wet, etc. What is casual to a CEO might be really dressy for a college kid. There's no written manual on what makes something casual or non-casual, but there is still expectations in society.

    So, I've basically written up a 5-point scale to explain the different kinds of casual, based on what I observed.

    1 is most casual, and 5 is least casual. And there are gray areas.

    1 - Kiddy Casual

    Hoodies, t-shirts with logos and designs, abercrombie or other clothes with explicit brand names shown, fake jewlery, sandals, sporting clothes, sweatpants, baseball caps. Flamboyant shoes like air jordans. Shorts. This includes stuff like "punk/goth" and "ghetto". Basically stuff that's cool in high school, but after college - not so much.

    2 - Average Joe Casual

    Jeans, solid color t-shirt, maybe a casual button-down or a polo shirt, shoes that are casual but more mature like Polo shoes maybe. Good for an adult going out to the supermarket or a movie theatre or anywhere without a specific dress code. A windbreaker maybe.

    3 - Night-Out Casual

    Jeans (only dark blue - not light colored), but also trousers, khakis, slacks are acceptable. A long sleeve buttoned shirt that's solid colored or has minimal designs. a sports and black leather slip-on shoes. Maybe a trenchcoat or a quality leather jacket. Good for going to a night club or fancy restaurant.

    4 - Work Casual

    Depends on the job. Lots of jobs nowadays are in between 3 and 4. But for an office job at Bear Stern let's say. But solid color work shirt (only worksafe colors like light blue). Tasteful tie. No jeans - slacks or trousers instead. Dress shoes.

    5 - Formal

    Even what diplomats and presidents/leaders often wear are technically 4.5's. Formal is what you wear at a wedding or funeral. Black and white only. Suit (no blazers).

    A lot of men's style blogs say men should dress like a 3.5 to 4 wherever you go, but you will stand out and you don't need to. Most Americans dress like a 1 or 1.5, maybe a 2. To look sophisticated, clean, professional and not too overdone, it's probably best to dress like a 2.5 to 3 on a day to day basis. I think people in Europe are naturally better dressed. You'll look a little bit better than the average Joe, but you won't overdo it. And then, 3.5 to 4 on work or special occasions. Like on a date, I wouldn't be an over-impressor and try to be a 4, or be too casual at a 2, but a 3.

    Sorry if this was long, but it just irritates me when people throw around the word casual without any specific meaning.

    TECHNICALLY, everything that is not a 5 is casual. But some things are more casual than others. And something that is too casual for Obama to wear at a cabinet meeting might be really classy to wear on a night out to new york.

    So, was my guide helpful or total nonsense? I'll let you decide. Do correct me where I'm wrong though.

    5/19/13 at 12:02am

    hednic said:



    I don't see anything objectionable about what you wrote. For me, casual means feeling relaxed and comfortable in an informal situation.

    5/19/13 at 1:26am

    Russel said:



    Clothes for everyday use, not formal. There's also smart casual, of course, and business casual, etc.

    If there are sub-divisions when it comes to certain types of casual, say jeans and t-shirt and track bottoms and wife beaters...who knows. Perhaps one is lower or extreme casual the other more middle casual.

    5/19/13 at 1:58am

    noirdrakkar said:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RsselView Post

    Clothes for everyday use, not formal. There's also smart casual, of course, and business casual, etc.

    If there are sub-divisions when it comes to certain types of casual, say jeans and t-shirt and track bottoms and wife beaters...who knows. Perhaps one is lower or extreme casual the other more middle casual.

    Yeah. As I said, basically 1 to 4 is casual. 5 is formal. Anything that is not formal (aka suit only, black and white only) is casual. A person may think that a blazer and dress pants is far from casual. But in fact it is casual. Just not as casual as what most people wear.

    Business casual (which is essentially a 4 on my list) has gotten very loose as well in American society, to the point where it borders smart casual. And smart casual would be a 3.

    5/19/13 at 5:19pm

    sjg3839 said:



    Sounds good to me.

    5/19/13 at 9:19pm

    CompassRose said:



    I think there are at least two or three more steps between your definition of "Work Casual" and "Formal". And all of the steps have been confused by the existence of very high-end "streetwear" -- much more so for women, of course, but for men as well. In certain areas, I see guys wandering around in the same silhouettes as your "Casual 1" -- except that each item costs hundreds of dollars, and they will take those five hundred dollar shredded jeans into places that would normally demand much more apparent effort.

    5/20/13 at 6:13am

    noirdrakkar said:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CompassRoseView Post

    I think there are at least two or three more steps between your definition of "Work Casual" and "Formal". And all of the steps have been confused by the existence of very high-end "streetwear" -- much more so for women, of course, but for men as well. In certain areas, I see guys wandering around in the same silhouettes as your "Casual 1" -- except that each item costs hundreds of dollars, and they will take those five hundred dollar shredded jeans into places that would normally demand much more apparent effort.

    Good points.

    Occupations, generally, have loosened their dress code over the years. What people think is work casual (or i should say business casual), is actually just Smart Casual. Or even more casual than that. The U.S. has become so casual (unlike some of Europe) that someone who actually dresses business casual may seem formal. If you are a college kid or a high school kid (who wears a lot of the flamboyant, but immature clothing), you may think what a waiter (in a very high end restaurant) wears is formal, but it's just business casual. Even a lot of United Nations diplomats now are business casual.

    I guess the difference between formal and casual is objective. Formal dress code has specific standards, whereas the differences between smart casual and business casual (in all honesty) are a bit blurry.

    5/26/13 at 4:29pm

    Robin-in-FL said:



    I think that climate makes a difference as well.

    Here in Florida, business casual for men (asdefined in policy everywhere I've worked)is polo or button-up shirt, short or long sleeve, and neat khakis, nice work shoes. For women it is pretty broadly defined, but we don't have to wear pantyhose, that's for sure.

    5/26/13 at 5:02pm

    Tony T said:



    casual to me is simply a relaxed environment

    8/14/13 at 10:06am

    MiniMasterMike said:



    Nicely put!

    There is definitely a spectrum rather than a defined steps when it comes to dress style. I think I would go with a two axis scale, one for casual-formal style and one for hot-cold weather/environment.

    8/31/13 at 2:37am

    Delicious Scent said:



    I dig the spectrum. I wish you had touched more on streetwear and minimalist styling as well. Especially with an outfit like a leather jacket, raw denim, leather boots, where would that even fall? It isn't really 1, 2, or 3.

    9/1/13 at 12:40am

    Diamondflame said:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noirdrakkarView Post

    Anything that is not formal... is casual.

    Agreed. The rest vary with social situations/dress code.





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