LOS ANGELES — If sportswear is the bread and butter of the department store business, then casual sportswear is like jelly — a popular topping to the overall assortment — and department stores lay it on thick.

With casualization the most important trend of the last decade and apparently here to stay, casual sportswear has been adapting. It’s becoming sexier and more stylized. At the same time, there’s only limited evidence that more structured trends are returning, with the unemployment rate high and people job hunting.

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