Jeans and a T-shirt: When the most casual of outfits is perfectly acceptable, you might as well go with it.

Khakis, modest shorts, day dresses and skirts

Anything cotton or linen: In the summertime especially, it’s more pleasant to wear breathable fabrics, and these can easily be dressed up or down.

Basically, you want to dress like any of the characters on your favorite sitcom routinely do: in comfortable clothing that is neither ostentatious nor schlubby.


Graphic T’s: Plain T-shirts are great, but ones with inflammatory words or images might be better left at home. The Emily Post Institute, whose mission is to educate people about etiquette, advises against shirts that bear slogans altogether.

Anything clearly ripped or stained: It’s a matter of self-respect more than anything, but it also shows respect for your host and fellow guests when you dress in clean clothes. Intentional distressing on denim is fine.

Uncomfortable clothing: This is always a don’t, but there’s no reason to dress outside your comfort zone when the dress code is casual. The idea is to come as you are.

Where Casual is Appropriate

  • Friendly gatherings: BBQs, housewarming parties
  • Informal dinner outings
  • Traveling