NEW YORK — Relax. That’s the key to healthy living, and this fall season designers are dressing the part, as casual weekender looks are becoming a staple in many collections. Last year, American women spent more than $26 billion on casual sportswear and a majority of them said they now buy more casual clothes than career outfits. Casual apparel has become a major component of specialty stores like Gap and Old Navy to national chains such as J.C. Penney and Kohl’s and mass giants Wal-Mart and Kmart. Here, Easy Spirit’s cotton corduroy jacket and skirt and Juicy Couture’s cotton velour sweater.

This story first appeared in the March 19, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.