Long before I started Elements of Image and was living in Orange County, CA, I remember walking into a professional office and reading a sign that left me with my mouth hanging wide open. “Please excuse our appearance. Today is casual Friday.” It gave me the impression that their employees’ comfort was more important than the client or potential clients’ impression of the company and its employees.
Sure it’s easy to dress casually. You usually don’t have to put much thought into what you’re wearing on a Saturday while you’re running errands. You’re usually not too worried about who you might run into along the way.
And dressing casually is comfortable, right? But where do you draw the line between casual (for Saturday) and casual Friday?
Today’s post is all about dressing for casual Friday while maintaining the credible, authoritative image you’ve worked to achieve Monday through Thursday. Read on for some general guidelines and an outfit recipe.
Your image and clothing’s job is to communicate exactly what you want at work! Keeping that in mind, an overriding guideline for casual dress for the office goes something like this:
- If you’d wear it on the weekend for errands or hanging around the house or
- If you’d wear it for going out or
- If you feel super sexy in it…
Save it for exactly those occasions!
The key to a great casual Friday outfit is to combine casual pieces with dressier, work appropriate pieces. Let me break down the outfit for you.
Casual Friday Outfit Ideas
Shoot for jeans with a dark wash. Minimal (intentional) fading is okay, especially if it is flattering. Avoid the distressed look, i.e. rips and tears. Although skinny jeans are main stream, (as I’ve shown here,) boot cut, trouser, and straight leg jeans are more professional than super skinny or super baggy boyfriends. (If you choose skinny jeans, be sure they’re not crazy tight!)
A sharp blazer offsets the casual effect of the jeans perfectly!
Opt for something polished with a little structure, such as a woven cotton, rayon or silk. Small to medium sized prints are perfect for the office. I am a big fan of sleeveless underneath jackets; however, if you take your jacket off in your office or cubicle, there are some things to consider.
If you wear classic jewelry the rest of the week, Friday can be the time to experiment with a little color or new shapes, while keeping your overall theme tailored.
Flats are a fabulous pick for casual Friday! Choose a more tailored shoe, (i.e. pointed toes, structured toe caps, seaming, laces, etc.) over a soft, stretchy ballet flat or sneakers. The same rule applies to sandals–think tailored! Also, be sure to minimize how much skin you’re showing. If your office has a business professional or even dressy business casual vibe during the week, closed toe kitten heels with your jeans may be a better choice!
Ah, there’s a recurring theme here! A structured handbag says “work” much louder than a slouchy, hobo style bag. I mean come on, it’s called a hobo bag!
If you’ve read this blog post carefully, you can conclude that your casual Friday outfit shouldn’t really be that different from the rest of the week. You’re simply adding jeans and making a few subtle changes with shoes and accessories.
If your office environment is pretty dressy or if your personal style is on the more formal side, you may decide not to change on Friday. You’ll feel more yourself and you’ll be ready for any meeting or client event that suddenly pops up!
If you’re feeling that mid summer slump, and you’re bored with your summer outfits, learn more about planning outfits with me. We’ll do some mixing and matching, so you’ll survive the rest of the summer feeling fresh and stylish!