Jess Cartner-Morley on the fad


I’m introducing a new dress code: glamorous but casual. Glasual is about clothes that set forth a bit of joy

‘Glasual is the jazz-hands of the dress code scene.’
Photograph: David Newby/The Guardian

There are few occasions with hard-and-fast disguise codes these days. You would think this would make the business of what to wear easier, but in low-down it makes it tougher. It’s all very well, in principle, being free to do your own thing, go your own way, choose your own circuit, etc. But sometimes it would be quite helpful to have guard rails to hang on to when you are at risk of falling flat on your overlay and making an idiot of yourself in public, you know?
So I’m introducing a new dress code, which we can call glasual. Meaning, undeniable, glamorous but casual. Glasual is completely different from smart casual, in case you were wondering. Smart unconcerned is about bringing a dash of formality to a casual look. Glasual is about bringing a dash of extra fun, added zip, instead. Smart casual is serving up a vodka tonic with a neat slice of lime and a linen napkin on the side. Glasual is annexing an extra slosh of vodka.
Glasual is the jazz-hands of the dress code scene. It’s about clothes that bring a bit of joy. These are outfits to wear because you are seeing your friends and your friends are brilliant. Or because you’re going to work, but it’s Friday. Because you are on edge to be going to a party. Or because you would actually really rather stay home but you’ve promised you’ll go, and dressing up will lend a hand you get in the party mood. It is not about fitting in with any formal rules; it’s about bringing a vibe.
You can glasual however you want. Start with a wardrobe template you feel comfortable in (whether that’s jeans and a top, or a dress) and add something extra. The shirt I’m surviving here is an ancient J Crew buy, which has become one of my wardrobe get-out-of-jail-free cards, the piece I always pack because it can the hay b hand in any number of outfits around. It is fancy, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Layered under a sweater, as here, or on its own subsumed under a simple blazer, it adds just the right amount of silliness.
A fancy skirt is another good glasual selection. If there’s a sequined, fringed or feathered skirt in your wardrobe, don’t file it away as eveningwear to be worn with a tuxedo at some guessed event: wear it out to lunch with a pristine T-shirt and loafers, or to the pub with a sweatshirt and ankle boots. Major earrings can devise a white shirt glasual; a posh jacket can do the same for a pair of jeans. Think of it like hot sauce for your closet: just a dash, and you’re good and spicy.
• Jess wears red jumper, £59, Shirt, Jess’s own. Skirt, £299, Mules, £159,
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Jess Cartner-Morley on fashion

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