While the answer may seem quite a simple one, putting together an outfit for casual dress code might prove to be a more difficult feat than a verbal answer. 

There are many dress codes and it has become one of mandatory and ethical norms for us to know, and follow. 

Casual attire in turn has so many further types to suit different occasions, that require a dress code more upscale than casual, but less rigid than black tie or even semi formal events.

So, what is casual attire? What are its different types and how is it different from other dress code types?

What Is Casual Attire?

The dress code you use everyday to put together an outfit is what best reflects the casual dress meaning. It is your individual style that you opt for informal activities, mostly opting for outfits that are  comfortable to you.

The attire includes jeans, shorts, t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts and sweatpants as well as athleisure, a more sporty type of casual wear where it is a mix of casual and athletic. 

The dress code is appropriate for settings like home and situations around people who are close to you, allowing you to accomplish your tasks in comfort. 

Fashion norms are constantly evolving, the attire being applicable to more situations than it initially was, ever since the workplaces allowed a more relaxed dress code to its employees. However, the casual attire you’ll opt for your office won’t be the same as the one you choose to take your dog out for a walk.

A little more effort is required to put together an outfit that is appropriate for your workplace where casual attire enters a new dimension; business casual dress code.

Business Casual Dress Code

Business casual dress code refers to the more relaxed attire opted for workplace settings than business formal, but maintains a level of sophistication to suit the professional surroundings.

The level of formality opted, depends on the dress code outlined by the company you are working for, which varies from company to company as well as your profession. 

Business casual men includes chinos, dress pants, polos, button up shirts including oxfords and office shirts, as well as blazers, sports coats and loafers. 

Work casual dress code for women includes pencil skirts, blouses, dresses, and button up shirts with pants like khakis and heels. The length of the dress or skirts should be maintained below the knee, cleavage should be avoided and minimalist accessories should be opted.

Some workplaces allow jeans to be worn in the office, while others don’t. Consider the dress code of your company before experimenting with your wardrobe. You don’t want to get into trouble simply because you did not dress up properly.

Apart from being worn at the office or workplaces, there are different levels of dress code that makes it appropriate for different settings.

So, let’s carry on, shall we?

Dressy Attire

Dressy casual attire refers to the relaxed yet stylish dress code opted for occasions like dates, or an informal dinner at a restaurant. 

Often called the smart casual dress code, the dressy casual attire is opted with casual wear items. These include jeans and different types of jackets like denim, blazer and leather, with accessories and footwear that complement the outfit.

The dressy attire would also be appropriate for small, informal gatherings after work so you wouldn’t need to do much to hit the bar. Just freshen up your hairstyle a bit and maybe switch your formal pants with jeans and you’ll be good to go.

Here is an overview of the dress code for both genders.

Smart casual dress code men 

The smart casual dress code for men includes clothes like jeans, chinos, polos, button down shirts make up the dressy attire. 

Stylish footwear like oxfords and loafers are worn with smart casual outfits. Ties are generally kept at bay while belts are encouraged and a classy wrist watch proves to be the finishing stroke in completing a nice dress casual outfit.

Smart casual dress code women 

Dressy attire for women follows a similar pattern as men, with nice tops and jeans and skirt outfits with fun accessories to liven up the mood of your outfit. Do incorporate heels or dressy sandals into your dressy casual outfit, to add a little more bling.

Always dress nice casual when you are going out to such gatherings and be prepared. The smart casual dress code fits perfectly in situations where a little more effort is required.

Semi Formal Attire

Undulating on the line between formal and casual wear, semi formal attire is a more relaxed version of the black tie attire, but more formal than other dress codes.

It is also referred to as cocktail attire for these very reasons, and is worn at semi formal events held typically at afternoon – evening time period. If it’s an early evening event, it is best to lean your attire towards the formal side, to avoid any wardrobe mishaps.

Semi formal attire, men includes clothes like chinos, khakis, button up shirts and polos with blazers and dressy shoes like brogues or derbys. Suits are also welcomed where they can be worn without a tie, but belts are a must.

Cocktail dresses are popular among women for semi formal events, where it’s best to stick to longer lengths, ranging from midi to maxis. A classic LBD also makes a good semi formal outfit. 

Apart from dresses, you can also opt for dressy separates or a nice jumpsuit. Paired with the right accessories and shoes, you’ll be the star of any event you walk into.

Resort Casual Dress Code

The dress code applies to a person on a vacation, to lay back and enjoy the view in style. However, this may differ from day to night, weather, the settings, and the formality of the event. 

If you’re on a vacation, check in with the native style of people beforehand, so that you don’t stick out like a sore thumb. Keeping tabs on the weather will help you pack accordingly. 

Resort casual dress code usually comprises relaxed clothes, where it’s safest to stick with basics rather than trendy items as well as a few layers for an unexpected change in weather. 

T-shirts, jeans, sneakers and bathing suits with convenient and comfy flip flops are all acceptable options in resort casual dress code. 

However, it would be good to pack a dress or two for emergency situations, with jewelry and shoes to go along with them, just in case the resort you are staying at has a dinner or something more formal planned.

FAQs- Casual Dress Code

How Do You Dress Casual?

Dressing casually means dressing in a way most comfortable to you. However, it’s important to take your settings into consideration when putting on a casual outfit. Casual dress code comprises clothes like jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, shorts, athleisure outfits as well as different types of sneakers.

What Does A Casual Outfit Mean?

It could be anything that you pick on the go, however a little more effort and thought would be expected from you. A casual outfit could be t-shirts, jeans and sneakers, a hoodie with sweatpants or a blend of formal and casual like a dress with sneakers or Henley instead of a regular t-shirt. 

What Is The Difference Between Casual And Smart Casual?

Casual refers to relaxed, everyday clothing. Smart casual is a more upscale version of casual wear. It is a dress code that you’d acquire for going out, like a movie, a casual date or an informal dinner. Most of the casual clothes are appropriate for smart casual. Polos, Henley’s for tops and khakis or chinos as trousers are suitable alternatives to the former, for smart casual dress code.


Casual dress code has many dimensions and we have seen the most worn ones, including dressy casual and business casual. 

Dress casual is a bit less formal than business casual. However, that’s just a matter of rules for different corporations and professions, some that require more formal means of dressing than others.

There needs to be a balance in your wardrobe which is brought about by the different levels of dress code. Dress up according to the formality of the occasion, taking into consideration the settings, time and weather. 

Just a little tip for precaution… If you’re not entirely sure about the dress code, lean towards the formal, so that even if you do err, you will err in style.