What is Casual Friday?
to Look Like You Mean ‘Business’
By Ellen York
and women look and dress for Casual Friday has become highly
debatable. For the first four days of the week, many companies adhere
to a dress code that, by some people’s standards, has become
arena of stockbrokers and financial planners, men and women need to
look professional and competent and their should dress reflect it. The
outfits worn by people in this field are meant to convey a confidence
in handling your money and investments. These professionals are
expected to be dressed in suits, dress shirts and neckties.
in more casual or creative workplaces such advertising agencies or
technology firms, the dress code may be more relaxed. Clothing is
still professional-looking but tends to be less conservative.
Professionals in these fields tend to have more freedom in wearing
colorful but casual clothing and trendy accessories.
many employers get frustrated with their workers’ dress for the
workplace may be due to a dress code that doesn’t exist or one that
lacks full explanation as to what is considered appropriate. When this is
the case, employees tend to implement their own version of “Casual
Friday” and perhaps even the rest of the week. But before you shrug
it off, it’s important to remember that a company’s image is often
reflected by their employees’ dress.
are some tips for establishing a set of guidelines for Casual Fridays:
Pants: Men can wear dress slacks with a flat front, one
or two pleats, or khaki pants of good quality, whichever will be in
compliance with their company dress code. Women should look for fabric
that is a bit more casual but doesn’t appear too young for their
age. When shopping for pants, look for a blend such as
rayon/polyester, wool/rayon, or polyester/wool. Women should look for
pants that are ankle length or slightly longer to accommodate higher
Skirts: The latest trends show skirts of various
lengths, from mini to ankle-length. Depending on whether your
workplace is more casual or not, these skirts may not be ‘right’
for the office. Check your dress code or talk to your manager. Skirts
that are fuller cut and tiered skirts can be acceptable if the rest of
the outfit is workplace-appropriate. Consider pairing a more
“casual” or “trendy” skirt with a sweater set or blouse.
Capri pants and gaucho pants: Many women are finding
these styles of pants in fashion magazines. Wearing these styles is at
the discretion of the office manager or the people in charge of the
company dress code. Capri pants can look more casual, so again,
consider pairing these styles with a dressier top. Gaucho pants with
the legs cut fuller look good on Casual Friday if the fabric relates
to a business look. Stretch fabric is commonly used and can often be
found in brown and black—possibly navy.
Tops: Women can find a variety of different tops in
retail outlets but you’ll want to save many of these for after-five
dressing because of the cut, style, and fabric. If the neckline is too
low, count it out for
work. When the blouse fabric is sheer, always wear a camisole
underneath. If the office is more conservative, you may want to stay
away from sheer tops altogether. It’s always better to err on the
side of looking more professional even on Casual Friday.
Shirts: Men have more selection today than ever before,
which can make it confusing and frustrating for guys to shop. If
you’re looking for a casual business shirt for Friday, start by:
Look at the way the mannequins are dressed with a casual
shirt accompanied with pants in cotton twill—black, olive or khaki
Select shirts that look fresh and new in fabric -
pinstripes, windowpane checks. Avoid anything like shirts with French
cuffs (too dressy) or flannel plaid shirts (too casual).
You may want to wear your shirt outside your pants.
It’s new and stylish; however, some offices require shirts to be
tucked in and worn with a belt.
No wild, garish prints. Save Hawaiian shirts for
vacations and weekends.
Shoes: Men should choose a more casual leather shoe and
avoid tennis or athletic shoes, unless the dress code allows it. The
same principle applies to women. Women should also be watchful of
backless shoes and open-toed sandals. Depending on the workplace dress
code, these may or may not be allowed. Flip-flops are rarely
acceptable for Casual Friday for men or women.
Denim: If you can wear denim on Fridays, make sure your
jeans are freshly laundered and not wrinkled. Men and women should
select shirts, polo shirts, and dressy knit tops. Avoid wearing a
are some issues that managers should consider with dress codes:
If an accounting firm writes in their dress code that
men are to wear collared shirts to work, they must describe what kind
of collared shirt. Is that a polo shirt or a shirt that buttons down
the front? What fabric is permissible in this description? Probably
not cotton flannel or a bold plaid. Make sure your dress code is easy
to understand and go over it when you hire new employees.
When you draw up a new dress code for your company,
consider your workplace environment carefully. Is it more conservative
or creative? Do you see clients often or do clients rarely stop by the
office? Also, make sure that an employee meeting follows so the new or
revised rules can be presented and questions answered.
Many young people come right into the workforce fresh
out of college and don’t know what professional dress is. They come
from very casual clothing on campus to a work environment that
requires employees to reflect the successful image of their company.
This group of men and women may want to appear hip and dress in trendy
clothing and attire. However, you will need to be clear and distinct
about what kind of clothing, accessories and makeup falls into the
workplace-appropriate category. Some of these trends, such as sheer
blouses, low-cut jeans, cargo shorts and torn denim jeans don’t meld
into the professional workplace.
If there is a particular employee who isn’t following
the company dress code, take them aside privately. Broach the topic
with them one-on-one and keep a neutral tone of voice. Some people may
take offense to what you say about their clothing or appearance. Be
sure that you keep the talk professional and offer your help and
and woman, no matter what age, can look good and businesslike on
Casual Friday. Look like you mean business, no matter what day of the week! It’s
amazing how your workday progresses when your clothing dictates
business. It’s part of your demeanor.
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