Warmer months bring outdoor and daytime events that often require casual, yet dressy attire. These are the occasions to pull out your lighter fabrics and more comfortable shoes. Referred to as dressed down, business casual, casual cool or California casual -- this look requires the art of putting together an outfit that is stylish but not sloppy. In fashion, mixing business and pleasure means striking the balance between comfortable and put together.
Linen in a wonderful, breathable fabric that fits the bill for putting together an outfit you can wear with a fitted T-shirt and still be considered appropriately dressed at even a semi-formal function. Men can wear a light tan linen suit with a white V-neck and a pair of huarache sandals to a beach wedding or a dressy event in a warm climate. An ankle-length black linen skirt with black high-heeled espadrilles and a black tank top with simple jewelry is a chic-casual outfit for a woman attending a similar type of event.
Dressed up Jeans
Jeans are the simplest staple piece to incorporate into a casual-cool style for either men or women. Any pair of jeans -- even recent trends in denim that have small holes around the knees -- is immediately dressed up once you add a button-down shirt. For women, be sure it's a style that's fitted at the waist, and add a pair of strappy sandals or flats. For men, try a linen gingham or a big checkered pattern and a pair of canvas athletic shoes. Cuff the sleeves once or twice, and leave a couple of buttons undone.
Jersey material dresses are a perfect choice for dressing up for a dress-down event because the material is comfortable and casual, but cut in cute styles such as a cap-sleeve, belted A-line dress with shoulder detailing. Add a pair of wedge sandals and chunky earrings for an extra bit of femininity, or wear ballet flats and simple metal hoops for an event on uneven ground or one that requires a lot of activity such as a family picnic or beach barbecue.
Casual Shoes that Dress Up
Sandals and lace-up canvas shoes are both casual in nature but can dress up to suit an occasion for both men or women. A heeled sandal adds a bit of sexiness to your casual outfit. For comfort wear the latest fashions in sandals -- gladiator sandals, T-strap sandals -- or ballet flats. Gladiator sandals are also on-trend for men to wear with dress shorts. Other casual shoes for men that can stylishly dress down an outfit are neutral -- white, beige or gray -- lace-up canvas shoes. Add a pair of dark denim jeans and a crew-neck T-shirt layered with a plaid dress shirt and you are officially styled casual-cool.