Don’t you just love Friday? One last stretch before the weekend, the feeling of accomplishment that comes with it and everyone else just seems to be in a better mood…
Yes, Friday is by nature a laid-back day. Casual or dress-down Friday is a corporation’s way of acknowledging that nobody really means business on the last day of the working week, and therefore not bothering with formal business attire.
The concept first originated in Hawaii in 1947, when Aloha shirts became acceptable in offices on Fridays only. The idea as we know it today, however, became a movement in the late 1990s, with internet companies such as Google making it official, mostly in California. Globalisation took care of extending the habit worldwide.
In countries of warmer climate, casual can include shorts and t-shirts, while in more formal cultures workers don’t even get away with jeans. The concept is relative – very clear in some corporations, blurry in others and non-existent in many. You probably already know by now what the deal is in your own workplace.
But with that said, dressing casually without the safety of a uniform isn’t easy. It’s almost like you need another safe wardrobe selection or formula just for that day.
STICK WITH A DARK DENIM.
Jeans are an excellent alternative to slacks or dress pants, which are typical in professional attire. Be mindful of the sort of jeans you wear though. Choosing a dark wash of jeans, as opposed to a lighter wash, looks more professional since the darker color mimics dress pants. Distressed jeans, jeans with holes in them or those covered in paint splatter are generally unacceptable as they look messy. Fit is important too.Very baggy or skinny jeans are not going to cut it; boot cut or straight-legged jeans are going to be the most professional option.
DRESS DOWN YOUR ACCESSORIES
Why not swap your formal watch for a more casual bracelet, change your professional spectacles for brightly colored frames, or even ditch the pearl earrings for something with more fun and bright.
AVOID OBVIOUSLY BRANDED ITEMS
Logo buckles, printed t-shirts, external tags or any features you might adopt in your free time to instantly affirm a certain lifestyle doesn’t necessarily send the right message in the office. You don’t want your colleagues wondering if you’re making more than they are, or be that girl who is overcompensating for a lack of personality/genuine style credentials.
BUTTON DOWNS ARE ALWAYS A SAFE BET
You might be tempted to throw on a cute, fun top, but if you want to maintain a professional air stay with your button down shirt. Instead of wearing your button down shirt with a matched suit or a pencil skirt as you might normally do, pair it with a sweater, a pair of khakis and a stylish heeled bootie.The crisp shirt will add structure to your casual outfit, creating a more polished look.
We’d love to hear from you: what are your casual Friday quirks? Anything you’d like to try at the office but haven’t had the courage?