What Is Casual Wear: What To Know

What Is Casual Wear: What To Know

Dress code informs nearly every interaction and situation we enter. Formal attire is most often seen at weddings, graduations, government events, and in the workplace. Cocktail attire is best seen in relaxed, party atmospheres with the titular drink never that far away. One of the most maligned attires, now getting a well-deserved renaissance, is casual apparel. 

The casual dress code is inclusive. It comprises many things, but at its heart means clothing that you feel comfortable in. Sometimes, people hear the word “casual” and equate it with negative terms, but that stigma is unearned. 

Looking good and feeling good have never been exclusive terms. In fact, casual wear proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the two go hand in hand. Join Paskho to find where casual wear fits in the complex pantheon of dress codes and why it’s an everyday essential.

Origins of Casual Apparel

Casual wear is the newest “old” style of clothing. The earliest ancestor of modern casual wear originates around World War II and is a distinctly American fashion movement. War necessitated the closing of many European fashion houses, and American designers had to look inward for inspiration. 

The American Look

One designer, Claire McCardell, sought to make fashion easily accessible to all. More importantly, she created clothing made for the practicalities of daily life. 

Taking the rise of recreational sport as inspiration, Claire McCardell invented the American Look. This casual style did away with restrictive undergarments and preferred comfortable free-flowing garments. This included comfortable dresses, interchangeable sportswear, and other comfort-centered garments. The clothing was slightly baggy to allow an easier fit. 

The American Look: Today

The American Look has many modern successors. The craze for casual clothes like streetwear staples — hoodies and tees — and beachwear like graphic tees and flip-flops worn in a beachy, casual setting. All of these, incidentally, are fashion movements and garments that feature significant American contributions to their development.

Arguably the most defining staple of any casual outfit is the simple t-shirt. It can be worn on its own with blue or black jeans, layered with a bomber jacket or hoodie, and be made in any color or style. Few other clothing items are as widespread. 

The identity of casual wear as a whole is complex, informed by its makers, designers, and, ultimately, wearers. Before we touch on its resurgence, we’re going to go into its primary competition. 

Business and Business Casual

Before getting into our casual wear, we’d like to acknowledge another type of dress code. Casual wear came into being in contrast to more formal standards.

The most common formal dress code rules we encounter on a regular basis aren’t in weddings or black tie galas but in the workplace. No matter the job, whether blue-collar or white-collar, there is a certain sense of style for the occasion, even if it’s “Casual Friday.”

The business dress code has long been informed by a strict sense of propriety. The standard dress for men includes a blazer or sports coat, a button-down shirt, and dress pants or khakis with dress shoes. Essentially, think of the type of attire you’d see at a cocktail party but more subdued. 

Even business casual dress, though more nebulous, has a starched, dressed-up reputation. A pair of loafers may be paired with polo shirts rather than a button-up dress shirt. Chinos may replace dress pants. A cardigan may replace other jackets. 

Some fundamentals in all business attire persist — pants or skirts. Jacket. Collared shirt or dress.

The business dress code has come under fire from many sources. In pop culture, tech monoliths like turtleneck-wearing Steve Jobs eschewed what a traditional CEO should look like.

In a post-pandemic world, more people are working from home and wearing clothing that facilitates comfort. As we return, new questions about necessity and exclusion give reason to doubt the continued relevance of strict business dress codes. 

In that world, where comfort and style can be equated, a new trend is rising. Casual wear, which is equal parts functional and practical, is becoming a new de facto style for many.

What Constitutes Casual Apparel?

Casual apparel is difficult to give a precise definition of, but you know it when you see it. 

It consists of clothing separates, which may include button-downs and dress shirts but never french-cuff garments. It also includes collarless shirts, blouses, cardigans, and other garments. The key is in the level of structure offered. Casual wear, though not all sportswear, should be structured in a way to prioritize comfort. 

By definition, all sportswear and streetwear are included in the broad spectrum of casual apparel. These garments are often worn casually precisely because their manufacture makes them appropriate for a variety of situations. Some sportswear and technical clothing may have recognizable elements like zippered pockets for greater protection for travelers or athletes. 

One of the great benefits of casual apparel is precisely how freeform it is. We are free to define and redefine it because it is formed on a rejection of rigid, uncomfortable clothing.

Companies redefine casual apparel in different ways. Some cut corners because, to them, casual and cheap are synonymous. Others instead see the opportunity to create something truly great.

Below is Paskho’s vision of everything casual wear can be.

Paskho’s Vision of Casual Apparel

Paskho’s casual apparel is designed for the traveler who wishes to adventure in style and minimalism. It is made for those passionate about well-made clothing and value quality over quantity. It’s made for those who care not only about how their clothing looks but also about what it does. 

We use performance fabrics for the comfort and longevity it offers. Simple, classically appealing, neutral colors make pairing our articles easy to do. Simply, slightly upgraded short sleeve shirts coexist with heavy-duty outerwear. The understated elegance creates a dressy casual aesthetic, perfect for those whose personal style and lifestyle keep them on the go.

Your casual outfit is for more than just going around the house. It should double as professional attire, travel apparel, and more because we go through countless social strata in a day.

We use ethically created performance fabrics and sustainable, cruelty-free wool. These create a luxe, understated sheen to many of our garments. It also gives them special properties other fabrics can only hope to replicate. Quick-drying properties, moisture resistance, and self-thermoregulating garments prepare you for any climate ahead. 

You might find yourself putting your shorts away come winter and your sweatpants away come summer. The best pants and shirts are versatile enough to impress in any season. We aspire to provide those very garments

We also aspire to bring sustainability to the casual wear market. 

Why Choose Casual Wear?

Nostalgia romanticizes the old. In formal wear, nostalgia harkens back to black tie affairs, pencil skirts, and impractically bold womenswear. This creates an almost jarring contrast behind the person-first focus of laidback casual attire. This sort of straight-laced apparel inherently places value on a sedentary life, where appearance matters above all else. 

The casual look makes no such pretensions. It aspires to elevate people by, first and foremost, making them comfortable. 

Most are aware vaguely of color psychology in clothing. The clothing you wear also has a psychological effect on your own well-being. Associations have been found with clothing items such as lab coats and wearer performance due to preconceived notions. When you wear clothing you don’t feel both physically and psychologically comfortable in, it can harm your performance. 

Smart casual clothing offers an entrance into the best of the casual and formal worlds. Carefully designed, unstructured garments offer full ease of movement and softness to keep you comfortable, whether active or sedentary. A carefully curated aesthetic ensures you look your best between exploring city streets and catching your next flight. 

The pandemic has upended everything about our old social norms and constructs relating to work. We’ve realized the amount that can be done virtually, or on the go. With casual wear, we realize that people are at their best when they can be comfortable.

The Next Evolution in Casual Wear

Paskho wasn’t just founded to bring quality casual wear to everyone whose values align with us. We also saw an opportunity to change the way people interact with their fashion. 

This includes placing jobs close to home to support the communities that need them most. It includes only using the best ethical materials available on the market. It includes providing essential guides and information to any current or would-be explorer, adventurer, and world traveler. 

Most of all, it includes putting forth versatile pieces that encourage a minimalist, anti-consumerist lifestyle. Paskho’s pieces are built to last while providing boundless style, allowing people to spend more time with each piece.

Casual wear does not have to be fast fashion, nor should it be. With the right mindset, it can be as well thought-out and well-designed as any fashion line seen on a runway. Instead, casual wear offers a window, so your clothing will elevate you while you explore the horizons you were meant to.



Claire McCardell | LoveToKnow

In a Post-COVID Workplace, is a ‘Professional’ Dress Code Still Relevant? I Global Voices

How fashion impacts our mental wellbeing | DW

The T-shirt: A rebel with a cause | BBC Culture