During the month of August myself and my colleagues are allowed to dress in a more casual manner than in any other month throughout the year which means that the guys in the office aren’t wearing ties and the women look pretty much the same. I’ve always thought that is one perk of being a women in that we have a variety of different clothes that we can wear in the office in winter and in summer that means we can be kept warm or cool depending on the temperature – poor men have a suit with or without a tie!
When I first started working in London we had casual Friday, which meant you could wear pretty much whatever you wanted, but over recent years I’ve noticed this practice is becoming less common. I worked at one company that phased the practice out over a period of a year, in other words the guidelines became more ridged every other month until the choices of clothes you were left with were the things you would wear every other day of the week anyway.
If you are still lucky enough to have casual Friday there are a few clothing principles I would stick to regardless as to how casual your office is:
Sweat pants, tracksuits, hoodies and trainers (sneakers)
Do you want to look like you’re working at a gym or have just rolled out of bed? This isn’t a good look regardless of what you are doing in the office… for that whole day you will not be taken seriously or professionally. Casual Friday isn’t chilling on the sofa Saturday – always try to appear groomed and observant of your appearance. It really does matter.
T-shirts with ‘funny’ logos
Is the logo funny… really? Knowing what I know about work you will always find people that don’t have the same sense of humour as you so I wouldn’t risk offending anyone with your personal statement fashion. I once work a FCUK t-shirt into the office on a casual Friday when I was still in my early twenties – the looks and remarks I received made sure I didn’t wear it again, simply because I felt unprofessional and seemed to be courting unwanted attention.
I sometimes walk to work in flip flops but I’ll always change out of them into high heels, no one needs to see my feet! I also don’t like my footwear making a continuous noise as I wander around the office! Again here I think flip flops and strappy sandals are clothes that look great outside of the office but not inside. If you want to wear something comfortable then a pair of ballet pumps or loafers will do the same job and look much smarter. In the summer a smart pair of wedges are great as well.
Short skirts, low cut tops and midriff exposure
I’m partial to a short skirt and there have definitely been times I’ve questioned the appropriate length of my outfit… but as long as I can bend down and walk around the office comfortably I’m okay with my choice of short skirts and dresses. I wouldn’t wear a low cut top or expose any other bits of skin though. This is a personal choice and I don’t think there is any harm in showing off your best bits as long as you look professional. I’m in the Ally McBeal school of thinking on this one!
So what should you wear? I think casual Friday gives you a chance to look a bit more fashionable and show off your personality. I tend to take advantage of wearing jeans if I have a casual Friday policy at work and pairing that with a nice top and jacket always looks good.
What do you wear to work for casual days? Do you even get casual days any more? Let me know your thoughts