Does your office have casual Fridays? Since many businesses have adopted casual Friday dress codes, but may not detail exactly what is expected, there are some inappropriate choices that employees should avoid in order to maintain their professionalism while dressing in a relaxed fashion.
Dress Factors to Consider
Just because other employees in the company are wearing inappropriate clothing on casual Friday does not mean everyone should do the same. Consider your role with the company as well as if you will be meeting with anyone outside of the company on Fridays. The way someone dresses for work can often give an impression on what type of job they will perform.
For example, when it comes time for a promotion, a man should think about whether he wants his boss to remember that beer-stained T-shirt with the hole in the armpit or the crisp white dress shirt he wore the day before. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be nice to present a clean, but casual look that shows management your leadership qualities? Consider all the factors when planning your casual Friday attire.
Examples of Inappropriate Casual Friday Clothing Choices
First, use common sense. If something is scruffy or worn, then it likely is not appropriate for work, no matter how comfortable the piece of clothing might be. Again, never base your style on what other workers wear. One should always dress for the job he wants to have rather than the job he currently has.
Inappropriate casual Friday clothing might be something like:
- Shorts: Unless one works outdoors, shorts are never a good idea for work. They are not considered business casual. Save shorts for after work hours and the weekends.
- Jeans: Tread cautiously when wearing jeans to work. Make sure denim is neatly pressed, not faded and has no rips, tears or fraying. In addition, pair denim pants with a dressier, button-down shirt and loafers for a dressier look. It might be a good idea to avoid jeans the majority of the time, except in situations where the leadership in the company wears jeans regularly as well. However, if you do wear jeans go for a dark rinse, which comes across as more dressed up.
- Flip flops and tennis shoes: Footwear does matter! Flip-flops are never appropriate for work, so just don’t do it. Tennis shoes shout a message that the wearer is relaxed and carefree. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but one should consider the image he wants to present at work. Which is better, to be known as carefree or diligent?
- White socks: Avoid white socks. They should be reserved for wear at home or the gym. Instead, wear socks that match the color of the shoes.
- Anything with holes or stains: Think no one will notice that small mustard stain in the lower corner of that favorite shirt? Someone will notice as many people are very detail-oriented. It’s better to avoid the possibility and wear something without holes or stains. It comes down to how people perceive the person and whether they see that employee as caring about the small details.
- T-shirts with offensive slogans or symbols: Avoid wearing T-shirts that may be offensive. Be mindful that you do not know the political opinions, family dynamics, and other personal matters of those in your office. To that point, you should err on the side of caution to be politically correct. If you do wear a tee, simply go for one that is a solid color or a geometric graphic tee under a cardigan with slacks.
- Sports jerseys: While at the office the only team you should be concerned with are those among your staff. Simply leave your sports attire for when you are watching the game with family and friends. If you want to show your team spirit after a win, perhaps wear a button-down shirt that represents that color of your team.
- Camouflage blazers or trendy jackets: Although bomber jackets and blazers are ideal for layering during the cooler months, the office is not the place to wear camouflage print or other trendy jackets. Instead, consider investing in casual blazers.
- Tight knit shirts or sweaters: Yes, you should feel good about being physically fit, but do not wear shirts or knits that outline the shape of your muscles. While it is not suggested that you wear a baggy sweater that is too big, a knit sweater that complements your shape is ideal.
- Baggy shirts or pants: Along the same lines, while you may prefer a baggy, more comfortable style in shirts or pants on the weekend, don’t wear them for the office. It can convey a sloppy look. Your work attire shouldn’t be too tight or too loose.
- Athletic wear: Save your gym clothing for the gym. Sweatpants, athletic shirts, and performance wear are not appropriate choices even on a casual day at the office.
- Sleeveless tops or under shirts: While they may certainly be comfortable, wearing an undershirt or sleeveless tank top or muscle shirt, even in warmer weather, isn’t an appropriate office look any day of the week.
Casual Friday Clothing Tips
Always check what meetings are scheduled that day. If you have a business meeting with a client, it would be best to skip the dress-down day that week. Ask for written guidelines from the employer, so that the rules for casual Fridays are clearly understood. If a worker is still uncertain, he should speak to his boss about his or her expectations of employees who dress down one day a week and ask any questions.
Casual Friday shouldn’t mean zero effort spent on appearance. In fact, the changes should be minor, such as swapping out a button-down dress shirt for a polo and wearing loafers instead of wing tips. Armed with a little knowledge of what’s appropriate and what’s not, you can make a good impression every day of the week.