The outfit above is something I consider to be casual, but adult. A striped button down shirt, favorite vintage wool crew neck sweater and soft flannel pants. In it, I am comfortable and warm, but I also feel like a grown man to be taken seriously. A younger fellow, or someone more fashion conscious, might try the same thing with dark jeans and come off just fine. Topped with a Barbour jacket and tweed cap, this outfit saw me through taking a small child to a doctors appointment, lunch and ice cream to follow, a trip to a thrift shop, after school pick up, playground time, and a night shift at work. I was comfortable and appropriately dressed for each of these situations.
I'm not about to go on some silly rant about how "casual" means a tweed jacket and tie with cords and loafers. There was a time when this was true, but we simply do not live in that time anymore. Ranting about things like men who wear brown shoes in the city and the fact that we no longer wear black tie to dinner at home is not only pointless, it marks one as an out of touch curmudgeon with little better to do than complain about what everybody else is or isn't doing. However, it's not a bad idea to remind ourselves that casual doesn't necessarily mean sloppy. You won't see me out of the house in my pyjamas, and the older I get the less likely it is you'll see me even in jeans. For men who care about clothing, it can be challenging these days to dress in a manner they consider appropriate while not looking like a stiff. As unfortunate as this may be to some of us, it helps to remember that you can be casual and well dressed simultaneously, despite what the world at large may be telling you.
This is my kind of casual:
p.s. If only Ralph Gleason would get off the stage. It's embarrassing.