Our Culture of Casual…What Do You Think?

I completely understand this is a controversial topic…our Culture of Casual is what I call it.  I believe we all will agree our world today is much more casual than it was when we were growing up.  I am sure there are some of you who love it and some who do not…and I hope we hear from both sides today.  My husband and I are always amazed at how casual work life, going out life, and church life have become.  There are two major companies locally, that I am aware of, which allow their employees to work in just about anything they like (modesty is required)…shorts and tee shirts are allowed.

I believe the main reason so many people want to look uber casual falls into these areas:

  1.  It takes too much time to dress nicer than shorts and a tee.
  2. It takes too much money to have nice clothing.
  3. It is superficial and selfish to take time to look nice.
  4. They jut don’t care…it is not a priority.

I am someone who believes we should always strive to look our best for any occasion…whether it is for work or for a backyard barbecue.  Here are my points:

  1. It takes just as much time to dress nice as it does to be sloppy.
  2. You can look amazing at any price point.  You doubt that?  Let me take you shopping on a trip to our local Goodwills and I will prove it.
  3. I know there are some obessed with their style, but I do not believe every woman who strives to look her best is superficial.  In fact, I can do more for others and be more successful at work if I am confident which comes from how I look and feel on the inside and outside.   It is difficult to hold your head up high when dressed sloppy.
  4. Looking my best helps me to radiate joy and reach out more to help others.
  5. Looking my best is a legacy I leave for my children and grandchildren.   Life is short, I do not want them to remember me in shorts and a tee!  I want them to remember my smile, my faith,  my style, and my overflowing love for them.

I do hate to see our world today dressing down so much…maybe the fabulous style of Kate and Meghan will capture the attention of our young women in the US.    But, we can do our part in stepping up our own casual style and strive to have family remember us always for how we held our heads high and walked in confidence and joy.  Sometimes it does mean we are the bet dressed in room while everyone else is more casual…but I can handle that one!  I don’t mind standing out for that reason at all.

So what do you think, are there more benefits to the Casual Culture we now have that I do not see.  All opinions are welcome…as long as they are kind!

Outfit Note:  Last week, we discussed the fun of kimonos.  Today, I am wearing a ruana from Soft Surroundings.  A ruana is more like a shawl or a large scarf.  I love the ones I own, but do not wear them out in windy weather or you battle the ruana to stay on.  But, they are fun.  I found some for you to look over below.

Please comment……………and then………………………….

KEEP SMILING!!

 

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45 Comments

  1. I am a people watcher and I find the way people dress to be fascinating. I often wonder what motivates a person to wear or buy certain items of clothing. Do they like the color, the style, the fit, the price, etc. What do they want to communicate about themselves? Fashion blogs have taught me to appreciate all manner of styles, from the clothes my mother’s generation wore to the hyper casual clothing of today. The more open my mind has become to what others wear, the more open I have become in my own choices. For me it’s all good and interesting.

  2. Hmmmm, not a fan of pajamas, slippers and scrunchies worn while buying groceries, but then again, I do not want to return to hair spray, hat, white gloves, and girdles.
    I would prefer that what I am wearing shouts out “confidence” instead of “casual”.

  3. I think our culture is too casual. I see nothing wrong with dressing up for church and for work, to show pride in how you present yourself and respect for where you are and what you are doing. I would never dream of attending a wedding (or church) in jeans, though I know there are some who do. Watching the women going to the royal wedding this weekend, dressed beautifully (and those fabulous hats!!), and like you said, Kate and Meghan dressing in classic, beautiful styles, it would be nice to see some of that rub off. Some uber casual trends such as badly distressed jeans look to me like the woman is trying too hard to be on trend, it’s not happening naturally. It’s a ‘thing,’ so she’s doing it no matter what. I see the pajama bottoms and dirty slippers in the grocery store and it looks like a lack of self respect. I know I’m old fashioned in this way. I love your statement about how you want your grandchildren to remember you – I feel exactly the same. Lately when I’m getting dressed on the weekends I find that I’m trying to stay with what is me, not trying too hard to be in the latest trends, but dressing in a modern way that manages to be casual and classic at the same time. To me, it’s about self respect and knowing what looks good on you vs. trying to be 20 again. I do remember when I was in high school and my senior year they started to allow jeans. There was a distinct shift in behavior and attitude, and it wasn’t a positive one. That stands out in my memory because it was such an obvious shift, one that you could feel. Suddenly you had one foot in the weekend and one reluctant one at school. Same with jeans to work, in my experience. Many times how we dress informs our behavior. This is definitely an interesting topic.

    1. As I say often, our choices send a message about us. What do we want to say?? Thanks Karen!

  4. Since early retirement I have been living a much more casual lifestyle and so my wardrobe has changed. However, I find that I miss “dressing up” and now look forward to occasions where I can dig out my more dressy pieces.
    I do confess to wearing jeans to church a few times this past winter (but always with a dressy top & sweater) but since I now have a small part-time job a the church and must make more of an effort to meet with people after services I have broken out my more dressy clothes – and it does make a difference, both in how I feel about myself when meeting new people, and in how they respond to me.
    I do differentiate between casual and downright scruffy! I can wear jeans with a classic white shirt, a sweater or blazer and casual but polished shoes and still look quite dressy. And I do think people need to be much more aware of their environment and what is considered to be “casual” within it – i.e. a tech companies head office of designers and technicians may have a different notion of “casual” vs. the head office of a bank or a large law firm and individuals need to make themselves aware of this difference.
    I do agree with you that “dressing up” doesn’t need to be expensive – in fact it can be a savings. You buy a core group of neutrals, add a few tops and accessories, a decent pair of shoes and a purse and you are set. I worked at the head office of a major bank and many of us took to dressing like our male colleagues – in that we chose a neutral (black, grey, navy) and then just mixed and matched with a few more items throughout the week. It made getting dressed easy and really, you only needed a very few pieces to get through the week. Yes, it can be a bit boring, but that’s what scarves and jewelry are for!

    1. You are so right about wardrobe building on neutrals…proper planning is not expensive at all. Thanks for your thorough comment, Margie!

  5. The photos of my great grandparents and grandparents are a treasure. My great grandparents dressed very formal. My grandmother dressed classic yet trendy. My mom was wearing gloves and a hat when she met my dad. I especially miss seeing folks dressed for special occasions. I saw a young woman wearing pajamas in a store with words on the top “It is what it is.” I wasn’t offended. Yet, it made me think she had “given up” on herself. I think there is a time and place for dressing casual. I don’t remember ever thinking someone was too dressed up! Maybe dressed too sloppy or provocative but not too dressy. I worked in an office where jeans were encouraged. I spent more money on jeans than dress pants. I didn’t look or feel good. I have learned it doesn’t cost more to dress nice. The hard part is to pass up so-called bargains in lieu of better quality garments. The “dressing down of America” saddens me. I admire countries where women young and of a certain age close the gap. These women have style!

    1. I love jeans…and wear them often. I think dark denim is as nice as a trouser. But I don’t put my jeans on with a big sloppy tee shirt and flip flops and go out…I did when I was a stressed mom with children at home…but no longer. I love wearing jeans to work with a nice jacket and fun accessories. Thanks so much, Linda!

  6. I can’t tell you how much this resonates with me. You know my mom…the 80+ model on my blog, still loves dressing up, so of course that has trickled down to me. And when people say someone is trying to hard? I don’t get that. When is it a bad thing to try hard?
    I think it’s better to take pride in our appearance—it isn’t any harder or more expensive!! We are visual animals, so it’s only appropriate!!
    XOXO
    Jodie

    1. You are so right, Jodie…it is not harder or more expensive. It is a choice…a choice to put our best self forward. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I think that the culture has gotten way too casual bordering on a sloppy/I don’t care attitude, under the guise that its superficial or vain to care what others think. I believe in raising the human tone
    (this doesn’t mean I am always dressed up)even in my casual attire. When I see people dressed well even casually, It makes me feel good. I believe we should dress well for work, church etc.and especially our husband. We set an example for other women and even younger ones when we take the time and care to dress well and to be groomed well. The overall tone in society is better as well and an act of charity towards others. My mom and dad dressed well up until the time they died, so I guess you can say it’s in my DNA!

    1. I think it is an I DON”T CARE ATTITUDE, Susan…I agree with you. At least, that is what they are communicating. I always remember DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT AND NOT THE ONE YOU HAVE! I do not see how some of these young adults expect to move up the ladder dressing as they do at work. We do set that example and that is what I always try to remember. Thanks!

  8. My husband & I were having this discussion a few days ago. Our older granddaughter’s high school graduation is in a couple of weeks, & he was wandering what was appropriate to wear. While we have attended many graduation open houses over the years, the last graduation ceremony we attended was for his younger daughter in 1990. For that, he wore a jacket & tie, & I wore a dress. We seriously doubt that anyone does that anymore, as they don’t to that for church or weddings.
    I am retired & were shorts & t-shirts at home & admit I wear mostly slacks to church. It has become increasing hard to find dresses or skirts for me, as I am short & chubby. I don’t own a pair of sweat pants or pajama bottoms, & none of my jeans have holes in them. When I am out & about, I wear nice jeans, dress slacks or in summer, skorts, as I cannot stand to be hot & sweaty. My t-shirts are not faded, shapeless, or stained, even those I wear at home.

    While I am glad we no longer are expected to wear, jackets & ties & hats, gloves & heels to the ballpark, I think the pendulum has swung way to far in the other direction. There is a definite distinction between casual & the anything goes, I just put on the first thing I grabbed look many are sporting today.

    1. I don’t wear many dresses and skirts either, Becky…but it sound like you always look nice!

  9. Taking the time to dress well is a form of self respect. I feel better and am treated better when I look nice. It’s a shame so many don’t understand or care about its value.

    1. I agree, Jennifer. I think it can be a sign of depression and low self esteem when women just give up. That’s why I hope to inspire and help them to have that self respect!

  10. My style at work is “business-casual”, which really is an oxymoron, I suppose. But after 40 years in the “office environment”, I for one am happy things have relaxed from what they used to be! My 1st job had strict rules; hose and closed toe shoes, no pants that are even “jean-style” (even though they would not be denim), no sleeveless tops (sweater or jacket required), etc. etc. My 2 pregnancies saw me with dresses, pantyhose and low heeled dress shoes! Talk about uncomfortable! I think a person can be casual and still well-dressed. And it depends largely on how everyone else is dressing that can dictate how casual you should be. For example – When headed to church, my husband wears khaki or nice jeans, a button up long-or-short sleeved shirt (depending on weather)& his “Sunday” boots. (Southern term) I myself do not wear dresses, but shop (mostly the sales) at Talbot’s (outlet), Dress Barn (outlet)& Belk – I feel like my choices there are stylish&comfy and I’m appropriately dressed in my slacks, tops, kimonos, & yes even capris! As everyone likes to say, accessories make the outfit! There is a fine line between “comfy” and “tacky”, but I believe casual to mean I am confident and comfortable when I feel I am appropriately dressed, even though it may not be as “dressed up” as it used to be!

    1. Well, I think everyone who rads my blog knows how I feel about accessories! They are my favorite way to make my style! Thanks so much, Shirley!

  11. This is perfect topic. I am very old school. My husband and I discuss this topic quite often. We are both appalled by the manner in which society has adopted. Women wearing pajamas, slippers, men with their ball caps on where they shouldn’t be wearing them. It has become a culture of slobs. I am a marriage officiant and you would not believe the costumes the attendees wear!! I should write a book, a comedy of errors. Men leaving their ball caps on in restaurants, during the National Anthem. Good grief. And ladies, just because it comes in your size doesn’t mean you should be wearing it!! As I say, it might be 2018 out there, but in my home it’s 1940. And manners, what manners. Please, thank you, and pardon me never go out of style. Stay classy, not trashy.

  12. Interesting to read the comments about the US becoming more casual. My daughter returned home to NZ recently after a year studying in Idaho. She was also lucky enough to travel all over the States. She says that people dress nicer than they do here; she thought they took much more care over their appearance. Kiwis are a very casual lot and in Wellington we wear a lot of black. But I very rarely see anyone in the supermarket in pyjamas. I guess it’s all relative.

  13. This is a great topic in which to share opinions. I’m of an age that I recall my sweet little grandmother wearing (fake) pearls, earrings, a dress, hose, and painted nails for everyday. Dressing up meant a suit, heels, and hat for church, regardless of the weather. Jeans were not even allowed on my college campus!

    As others have stated, taking care in our appearance absolutely shows respect for the people or the occasion. Clean, neat, and appropriate.

    At church I can only hope my example rubs off on the youth in ripped blue jean shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops. Our pastor has spoken on this topic from the pulpit, but some must think it doesn’t apply to them. Men of all ages in shorts, women of all shapes and sizes in skin-tight pants…Makes me sad.

    I resist teen trends with jeans and other styles. For pants I look for cotton blends, and nicely fitting tees. Preppy with a twist? It’s hot in Dallas.

    Pam, your talent in assembling beautiful outfits – even with jeans – is helpful and inspiring! Yes, to the ruanas. Beautiful and feminine.

  14. What an excellent topic. I am so tired of the “fell out of bed and have not had a shower in a week” look. Alas, I don’t think things will change so all we can do, if we care, is to look as clean and attractive as possible.

  15. My husband and I were in Europe earlier this spring and realized the “dressed down” look is strictly an American thing. During our 2-week stay, both men and women were approachably chic in every way regarding office/work attire, social get-togethers or running errands. We noticed work attire was classic and no-fuss, but tailored and attractive; social or casual situations were the same. We Americans think we must make a statement of individuality with every whim of fashion, but the rest of the world eschews trends (like this dressed-down phase, jeans with rips and tears or whatever) for chic understated classics which are always smart, regardless of the situation.

  16. Love your style and way of thinking! Thanks for your blog~>I look forward to reading it! You are a classy lady who embraces life with grace and enthusiasm just like my mother did. We Boomers get it!

  17. I agree, there might be a little too much casual going on in society, today. When I think back, as a preteen, my parents made me wear a SKIRT to Disneyland! (Because it was proper.) That was the most uncomfortable trip to the Park I can remember. Forever grateful to wear jeans every trip after that, (we only go about once every 10 years.) I remember my grandmother wearing a dress, hat and gloves to go grocery shopping, when I was a wee little girl. So, yes, we do dress more for comfort but I do put limits on myself. I like slightly distressed jeans, but I only wear them around the house, to the beach, ….grocery shopping (my grandmother is probably turning in her grave!) However, I think I’m too old for the really hole-y distressed look, …actually, I think everyone is too old for that more severe look. There’s style and then there’s tacky. (I know someone will contradict me, …it’s ONLY what I think, I’m not making fashion rules for everyone.) When I wear the distressed jeans, I wear sandals or some sort of tennis shoe with them. I don’t try to make a purse out of a sow’s ear by matching them with heels. When I am more dressed up but still in jeans, I wear dark blue or black jeans, (no distressing) and that is when I will wear a some sort of heeled shoe, jewelry etc. Living in SoCal, it is more rare for people to get any more dressed up than that. There are dresses and nice pants, but far more ‘nice jeans’, …because you know, we’re laid back. 😉

  18. Quite honestly, Pam, I think that people are generally resistant to rules and standards; and that dress, etiquette, and grammar are the primary indicators of this. While I do not expect that everyone has the time, money or inclination to dress well, I do think that dress reflects respect, both for oneself and the place and occasion.
    Even in a society where everyone gets an award for just showing up; inexpensive khakis, clean and wrinkle free, show more respect than expensive jeans. Period.

  19. PS Your post today, got me thinking. Does anyone have old photos of their great-grandparents at the beach or a lake in say, the 1920’s? The men are dressed in a suit and tie and the women in long dresses. (Those not in the water.) I think I could safely call that over dressed for the event. We seem to have swung too far the other way in many of today’s settings. (Next to naked at the beach.) I think what we are missing is balance. I appreciate what other women have written on here in their comments, it seems everyone at least tries to look put together rather than haphazard. (Which is probably why we all joined your blog!)

  20. Oir first home was a 1920s bungalow with absurdly small closets. In wondering where on earth they put their stuff (while trying desperately to find a home for mine in a 3 foot wide closet), it finally dawned on me that they didn’t have, need, or even think to want so much. In other words, having “set” styles for life’s major occasions was a whole lot simpler. A couple of house dresses, an apron, a good dress and coat, a pair of oxfords and a pair of heels, and you were one hat, string of pearls and gloves away from good to go for every day of your life.There is no force on earth that could convince me to wear a girdle and pantyhose again, but following the rules was easier, if not as exciting.

  21. I love this topic! I in the group that thinks things have gotten just a little too casual. I’m all for comfort, especially as I have gotten older and my body has changed, but I do think there’s a difference between comfort and sloppiness. I often wonder when I see some people at work wearing yoga pants, t-shirts and shorts if they think they look professional. I think the way we present ourselves to the world says a lot about who we are. I think your pjs are for home, not for shopping in.

  22. I agree — you see anything everywhere. I try to always look my best and I do remember leaving a theater once and the actors had gathered outside in the back, as four of us passed by we commented on the great performance and one of the cast members also commented, “thank you ladies for dressing so elegantly for us today”. And that comment meant a lot, because it recognizes that we dress up to honor, not ourselves, but those in whose presence we will be. “You were worth dressing up for.”

  23. Enjoying the comments! I agree with everyone. My mother would have never left home without a girdle (foundations) complete with pantyhose and a very nice dress or skirt with blazer. Where as I grew up in the 70-80’s jean era. As I have moved into my 50’s I am trying to dress more appropriately for the occasion. Although, when I was 20 and worked in radio and tv we had to dress in a very professional manner every day. The jeans were for after hours.

  24. I also agree that you can look nice in casual clothes. I do like to get up and get dressed nicely each day. For me. And it’s casual, because I have a casual lifestyle in New Zealand, where I live. But, I did love the times when we got dressed up more elegantly.

  25. I worked for law firms when the “transition” was going on. I remember when one of my first bosses broke down and said the female employees could wear dressy pants instead of dresses and skirts if they wanted to. Since I had a long walk in cold weather to my commuter bus stop, I was one of those pushing for the change. Then came “Business Casual Friday,” where khaki pants and polo shirts reigned–no denim allowed any of the places I worked. Then Casual Friday gave way to “Business Casual Summer.” So polo shirts, khaki pants and skirts and sandals were OK every day–no spaghetti straps or shorts, mind you. The men were happy to give up ties in our scorching summer heat. Eventually, the dress code gave way to “Business Casual” every day–except the attorneys and paralegals and specialists would dress up for meetings, conferences, court dates and functions with clients. My position rarely put me in contact with clients, so I was happy with the change. No jeans were allowed, no flip flops, no sneakers, no spandex or athletic wear. I think they found a happy medium that let me dress for the weather, and spared my budget from having to scrounge for wool suits at sales and thrift stores and uncomfortable shoes with heels. It also spared the environment and my little paycheck having to take my professional attire to the cleaners. Now I work in an elementary school, and many of the young teachers will wear leggings and tee shirts. Though they have the figures for it, they look more like they are going to yoga class than to teach a class. They also frequently wear jeans. I think dressy attire is not practical at school because I am frequently on the floor with the kids. However, the students don’t wear jeans, or tees with leggings, or flip-flops. They wear uniforms and closed-toed shoes. The male teachers usually wear the business casual attire I remember from my law firm days. I think the teachers who sport flip flops, tees, and leggings should at least try to look as nice as the students. Nice tunic tops with the leggings and comfortable flat shoes would be more appropriate. You can be casual at work without looking sloppy. All depends on the kind of work you do. In some places, shorts and tees and sneakers would be just fine.

    1. Thanks Leslie…you are right about the progression…where we started to get to where we are today. Thanks for reminding us.

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