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Exploring Casual Style: History, Evolution, and Key Sub-Styles | A Fashion Deep Dive

Casual style is the epitome of laid-back elegance, offering a blend of comfort and chic that epitomizes urban sophistication. It’s the fashion sweetheart that we’ve all embraced, renowned for its adaptability and easy-going vibe. This blog post takes you on a journey through the captivating history of Casual style, delves into its fundamental elements, and reveals its diverse sub-styles.

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Teddy Boys, skinheads, and football fans

Dive into the rich tapestry of casual style, which unfurled its comforting embrace in the first half of the 20th century, painting its early strokes with the bold colors of the suffragette movement, the innovative emergence of women’s sportswear, the shift towards uncomplicated and functional workwear post-war, and the revolutionary concept of ready-to-wear fashion.

The casual style as we relish it today took its definitive form in the late 1940s to early 1950s, flourishing alongside the edgy Teddy Boy subculture. The term ‘Teddy Boy’ came to life in 1953, encapsulating the essence of young, spirited men from the working class who boldly mirrored the aristocratic ‘upper class’, cloaking themselves in the sophisticated allure of the Edwardian era. Their style was a parade of finesse – flaunting meticulously tailored, tight, cropped trousers, suave jackets with velvet collars, meticulously slicked-back hair, refined brogue shoes, and a color palette that danced between shades of grey, beige, brown, and black, often adorned in tasteful check patterns.

Although initially a masculine trend, the Teddy Boy charm quickly captivated women, who embraced the trend, intertwining men’s tailored suits with the rock ‘n’ roll flamboyance of Elvis Presley-inspired hairstyles. Fast forward to the 1960s, where the mod subculture took the baton, subtly refining the casual style with their streamlined, understated elegance. While Italy’s cinematic glamour is often credited for inspiring the mods, echoes of this style resonated throughout France, stirred by the avant-garde French New Wave cinema, further enriching the casual style’s diverse heritage.

Style snapshot from “Stylepedia” by FASHIONARY

The Beatles, that iconic British band, didn’t just gift the world with their music; they turned the mod look into a global sensation. As the 1970s unfolded, the mod scene split into two distinct paths: the suit aficionados and the burgeoning skinhead culture. Initially, skinheads were the working class’s vocal opponents of the bourgeoisie, their style a badge of defiance, but their narrative took a nationalist turn in the subsequent decades. Their disdain for mods wasn’t just about fashion—it was a clash of class ideologies, with their own style deeply rooted in their working-class identity.

By the late ’70s, Britain witnessed an unexpected trend: football matches became the runway for fashion statements, igniting the rise of the hooligan fans, many of whom embraced the skinhead look. Their unique style, emblazoned with the logos of their beloved football teams, became a symbol of their allegiance. To dodge the ever-watchful eyes of the police, they adopted a more subdued wardrobe, merging quintessential British sportswear with timeless classics. This fusion eventually coined the term ‘casuals,’ a style that transcended the football terraces to become a mainstream fashion phenomenon, blending the rebellion of the stands with the sophistication of everyday attire.

Loyal fans weren’t just cheering for their teams; they were on a global fashion expedition, scouting the continents and bringing back a trove of fresh brands to England, each aiming to stitch their football club’s spirit into unique brand partnerships. The British fans’ casual style became a showcase of more than just team loyalty; it was a parade of polo shirts, the perfect jeans, cozy jumpers, stylish parkas, and the coolest sneakers and trainers, all chosen with an eye for comfort, impeccable quality, and solid brand identity.

Iconic labels like Cp Company, Stone Island, and Fila transformed into the emblems of the terraces, synonymous with the spirited hooligan culture. Meanwhile, brands traditionally celebrated on the tennis courts, like Diadora, Sergio Tacchini, Lacoste, and Fred Perry, found a new home in the heart of British football fandom, trading their tennis whites for the vibrant palette of football casuals. This fashion evolution blurred the lines between the sports, as tennis brands seamlessly merged into the football scene, shedding their court-specific identities to embrace a broader, more versatile appeal in the world of fan fashion.

So, the British fans’ style didn’t just leap over the local fan club fences—it vaulted across international borders with flair. Thanks to the die-hard loyalty and trendsetting tastes of football enthusiasts, the casual style scored big, becoming a worldwide sensation. By the mid-1980s, this wasn’t just terrace wear; it was hitting the high fashion runways, with luxury labels like Burberry, Cerruti, Armani, and Ralph Lauren weaving everyday elegance into their collections, inspired by the stands but suited for the streets.

Once this fan-inspired fashion strutted onto the catwalks, it transcended its football origins. For over forty years, the casual style has been in a league of its own, continually reinventing itself while staying true to its roots of comfort and effortless cool. It’s a testament to the timeless appeal of dressing down while keeping it classy, proving that true style knows no bounds, be it in the bleachers or on the boulevards.

Casual sub-styles

For 40 straight years, the casual style has been on a roll, constantly evolving but never stepping out of the fashion spotlight. Why? Because it’s all about riding the wave of comfort and convenience. Along the way, several casual style directions have emerged, each one vibing perfectly with its own DNA.

Business Casual

Picture the 1980s rebels morphing into the boardroom rebels of the mid-2000s, where the spirit of the Teddy Boys meets the modern-day maverick. It’s where comfort waltzes with formality, and practicality gets a stylish twist. Imagine rocking a crisply untucked blue shirt and loosely knotted tie or a chic blouse paired with sleek trousers—perfect for nailing that big presentation or exuding cool vibes at after-work drinks.

Smart Casual

This is your go-to ensemble for mastering the art of looking effortlessly polished at work. Mix and match the relaxed elegance of jeans with the sharpness of a blazer, or opt for simple, snug dresses and sweaters. It’s about straddling the line between relaxed and refined, ensuring you’re ready for a spontaneous client meet or a casual Friday that turns into a night out.

Casual Chic

A notch down from business casual, yet it steals the spotlight with an understated allure. It’s the darling of street-style luminaries, where simplicity waltzes with a whisper of sophistication. Float through your day in light, airy bottoms paired with rich, dark tops, channeling the effortless glamor of ’60s Italian icons while nodding to the cool, collected essence of the mod legacy.

Sport Casual

Born in the electric buzz of football terraces, this style scores with its sporty essence tailored for everyday life rather than the game. Embrace the day in polo shirts, snug puffer vests, and versatile track jackets, or throw on a bomber or hoodie for that casual yet chic vibe. Paired with jeans and your favorite sneakers or canvas shoes, it’s a look that plays well in any arena where strict dress codes don’t apply.

Explore style on Pinterest

Style DNA

The essence of casual style is woven with threads of comfort, functionality, and an unassuming elegance. It’s the chameleon of fashion, adeptly fitting into nearly every scenario, which perhaps leads some stylists to simplify it as just a basic wardrobe. Yet, it’s anything but basic.


The palette embraces all hues, though it favors the serene sophistication of neutrals like beige, brown, gray, black, and white.


Think of the cozy embrace of cotton, the rugged charm of denim, the soft touch of cashmere, and the warmth of wool, along with the practicality of synthetic fabrics.


The wardrobe is a curated collection of versatility: think crisply tailored shirts, timeless denim jackets, sleek straight trousers, breezy tennis dresses, classic polo shirts, essential tees, chic shirt dresses, cozy sweaters, casual pullovers, and sharp blazers.


It’s all about the blend of style and comfort — sneakers, canvas shoes, and boots that walk the line between laid-back and sophisticated.


Duffel bags, understated tote bags, and backpacks that carry your essentials with a subtle flair.

Matching styles

In the art of personal styling, crafting the perfect look is all about harmonizing pieces that share a similar style DNA, encompassing their historical and cultural nuances, characteristics, and more. The casual style, known for its adaptability and effortless vibe, pairs splendidly with a variety of styles that resonate with its laid-back essence.

Imagine blending the understated elegance of Minimalism, the dynamic energy of Sport, the refined sophistication of English tailoring, and the collegiate charm of Preppy. Then, venture into the adventurous realm of Safari, the disciplined chic of Military, the rebellious spirit of Grunge, the timeless appeal of Mod, and the rustic warmth of Country. These styles, when mingled with Casual, create an ensemble that’s not just an outfit but a narrative of eclectic aesthetics.

Explore the style


Immerse yourself in the effortlessly cool world of casual style with our top picks of books and films that celebrate this fashion phenomenon. Begin your exploration with “The Little Book of Casuals,” a deep dive into the casual subculture that influenced not just wardrobes but lifestyles. Complement this read with “Casual Power: How to Power Up Your Nonverbal Communication & Dress Down for Success” by Sherry Maysonave, which unpacks the nuances of casual attire in personal branding. Don’t miss “Dress Casual: How College Students Redefined American Style” by Deirdre Clemente, exploring the collegiate roots of casual wear, or the visually stunning “Iconic: The Masters of Italian Fashion” by Megan Hess, celebrating the laid-back luxury of Italian design.


On the film front, let “The Devil Wears Prada” charm you with its take on fashion’s transformative allure, while “Coco Before Chanel” provides a glimpse into the origins of casual chic elegance. “The September Issue” offers a behind-the-scenes look at fashion’s editorial influence, “Yves Saint Laurent” portrays the revolution of modern dressing, and “Phantom Thread” weaves a narrative where love meets the subtle power of casual style.

Curious about one of the key elements of casual style? Checkout “Jeans: A Faded Blue Planet” –  a documentary that delves into the fascinating world of jeans, an iconic garment that symbolizes fashion, rebellion, and cultural shifts across the globe. This film explores the history, evolution, and immense impact of jeans, tracing their transformation from workwear to a fashion staple. Here’s a short snippet.

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