Casual Fridays may sound like a fun opportunity to show your personality off to your colleagues, but beware of getting too comfortable and, alas, one Friday you find yourself walking into a meeting in yoga pants and a hoodie.
The first step in putting together an outfit for Casual Friday (CF) is understanding the culture and expectations of your office so I’d suggest getting your hands on a copy of the corporate handbook and dress code policy. An office where suits and blazers are part of the everyday uniform will have higher expectations for their employees on CF. In some offices, it may never be appropriate for a woman to wear ballet flats or for a guy to wear a shirt without a collar.
A good rule of thumb is to incorporate one or two pieces from your normal work wardrobe into your CF outfit. For instance, wear jeans, but add heels and a blazer from your Monday- Thursday garb. A guy can wear the same button-down shirt from a Tuesday, but paired with khakis. If you choose colored jeans, pair them with a collared shirt and sweater set or a silky top.
The waters tend to get a bit murky when you put together a CF outfit consisting solely of pieces you would not consider wearing the rest of the week. It can be tempting to throw on that oversized sweater, your “lazy” jeans and UGG boots, but does it really look as good as it feels?
During the work day, you want to be seen as a professional and you never know who you will be introduced to or what last minute meetings or lunches might pop up. Focus on appearing “clean and neat.” This is what we recommend to our candidates when they go on interviews; looking sharp and put together, in whatever you’re wearing, goes a long way. You might also keep a spare blazer in your office in the event one of those impromptu meetings does arise.
Don’t be afraid of color and fun prints on Fridays (or anytime if your office environment allows), but be sure not to overdo either feature. If you wear a leopard print scarf, steer clear of animal prints elsewhere! If you aren’t sure about your CF outfit, look in a full-length mirror and ask yourself, “If I saw myself on the street, what would my first impression be?”
“Let’s talk about jeans bay-bee, let’s talk about you and me”… okay, you’re probably too young for that, but jeans are the heart and soul of CFs. The first rule for jeans in the office is that they should be free of rips/holes, severe fading or distress and patches. Your jeans don’t have to classify as “mom jeans” (no offense), but they need to be a solid, medium- dark shade and well-fitting. Regardless of gender, it is unprofessional for your jeans to have that “painted on” look. Jeans that are too baggy, ill-fitting or worn out should also be kept out of the office.
Check out our “Casual Fridays” board on Pinterest for some quick and easy visuals that might help you bring together elements of your wardrobe for a fantastic CF look. Have fun exploring the options of your next CF outfit!