Casual Fridays – How casual is too casual?

Guilty as charged.
No, I may not have gone as far as Latesha…but before really understanding the whole ‘work wear’ scene, I can definitely admit to committing more than one “too casual Friday” blunders …. (and probably not just on the Fridays either). Let’s just say silly ironic t-shirts were a bit of a staple.

So what does “Casual Friday” really mean? Well, the answer is that it really depends on your workplace.

If you work in a law firm where you are required to wear a suit in most cases, then you’re looking at “business casual’ for Fridays (usually still involves a collar (at least for men) and DEFINITELY no jeans for either men or women).

On the other hand, if your workplace is “business casual” usually, then you can drop it down a small notch on the Fridays (if your workplace does operate on the “Casual Friday” policy at all – check if you are unsure, it’s usually buried deep in the HR policy manual.

Either way, you always want to keep in mind that Casual Friday is not a licence to come in wearing your Saturday morning special (pajama pants and flip flops). It’s still the workplace and needs to be treated as such. You always want to look sharp and put together because you never know who is going to walk in the door.

If you’ve followed past “Faux Pas” editions of Style Fix then you are schooled in the notion that the following are ALWAYS off limits at work – Casual Friday or not:

  1. Weekend jeans – faded, ripped, worn jeans that you wear to BBQ
  2. Flip flops or any sandals – pool party only
  3. Sweatshirts & sweat pants – DO NOT think that black yoga pants can pass as dress pants. They don’t.
  4. Hoodies – repeat after me: “I am not a teenager anymore”.
  5. Hats – ball caps, beanies or anything hat related should be off limits at work
  6. Running Shoes – unless they are super awesome, funky kicks and they are consistent with your style, and your name is Ellen……then stay far away from them.

So what SHOULD you where then?

Law Firm/Ultra formal work environment:
Keep in mind that jeans are always off limits. This kind of Casual Friday is more about breaking up the suit and not wearing a jacket or blazer or even a collar in some cases. Something a bit more relaxed and playful…not so stuffy and serious…but still super chic.

Colour and pattern and a super mod shoe. Definitely a departure from a pin striped suit.

Button down shirt with grey cigarette pants (still casual but not as casual as jeans)

These outfits are still fairly dressy for a normal workplace but would
be just right for a more suited up venue on a Casual Friday.

Business Casual work environment:
In most cases, Casual Friday is the green light for jeans. Again, people have a wide interpretation of what it means to wear “Jeans” but suffice it to say the only way to go is with a dark wash, with no embellishments or worn spots. You can go any colour you want from white to green to traditional and you can go any style you want from skinny to wide leg to boot cut. Keep in mind though that you still want to look put together and dresses are always a great option. Just be sure to cover your shoulders or have a strap that is at least 2 inches wide at the shoulder (halter necklines are in appropriate unless worn under a jacket or cardigan).

Jean with a work appropriate blouse and stylish/well though out accessories

Cord Blazer with jeans and silver flats

Open button down shirt with a pop of colour underneath & hair accessory
Fabulous stripped T with rolled skinny jean and cardigan sweater.
You can’t tell me that’s not comfortable!
L.O.V.E. This outfit. Need to find out where it’s from.

OK – and here are some DON’Ts for Casual Friday.

Too sloppy and the hat is inappropriate.
Too sloppy.
Everything from the hair to the torn jeans to the sneakers make this a weekend only look.
Rock T-shirts are tricky – sometimes kitchy but mostly just sad looking.
The only way these may work is if you have a Ph.D. in Fashion
and have some other fairy god mother working on your side.
Just too casual, always faded and not appropriate even on Fridays.

Straps too narrow & hemline too short
and just far too juvenile a print to consider wearing for work.

Close… but leave the jean shorts at home.
Go for a jean skirt instead with a hemline no shorter than 2 inches above the knee and you’re golden.

A definite NO.


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