Casual Friday is one of the greatest innovations in office fashion. We all look forward to it. The one day we can dress for comfort as well as appearance at work. But casual Friday doesn’t mean anything goes (despite what the guy across the partition is telling you).
Know the Norm
Acceptable work attire varies from job to job. Knowing the daily dress code is a good clue to acceptable casual wear. Is a jacket and tie the norm? For a casual look lose the jacket and maybe the tie. With a good pair of slacks and loafers a polo shirt might even work. Polo shirts are a good choice for business casual. Sometimes you have to wonder, will the polo shirt ever lose its mojo? If a polo shirt is normal wear, a nice (no slogans or logos) t-shirt might be acceptable – but not if you are the only person wearing one.
Dress for Success
Where do you want to go in the company? If you are happy to stay where you are, casual Friday can be more casual for you than if you hope to get a promotion. Even on casual Friday what you wear is noticed. Make sure that what your casual wear tells your boss that you respect the company and your position in it.
Casual, Not Club
Again, this will depend on the workplace, but in general, if your casual Friday clothes are the same clothes you wear to the club, you probably need to rethink casual Friday wear. Men, excessively tight shirts and pants should be saved or the night life. Ladies, too much (maybe any) cleavage doesn’t belong at work, and skirts should probably be mid-thigh or lower.
Represent Yourself and the Company
Your company has an image it wants to present to the public. Hopefully, you have an image you want to present to your boss and co-workers. Your casual work wardrobe should reflect a relaxed version of that image. Different colors are one way to do that – keeping your desired image in mind. Ladies might change their nail colors and the amount and/or style of jewelery they wear to match their casual clothes, keeping it all in line with their desired image.
Follow the Leader
What the boss wears may be your best indicator. If he dresses down for casual Friday, he is the best indicator for what is acceptable. If you dress more casually than the boss, do not do it by much. If the boss does not take part, still dress more casually than normal, but only a little bit. Lose the tie, or if button down shirt sans tie is the norm, wear a polo shirt.
Casual Friday relaxes the dress code, but it is still a day at work. Remember that when choosing the clothes and accessories you wear.