Casual Friday: Don’t Spoil it for the Rest of Us

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There are 52 Fridays in a year. If you are lucky enough to work in an office where on those Fridays you are allowed to dress casually, don’t abuse the privilege.

It seems so simple, the causal Friday concept, but yet, it creates more problems than any other dress code.

As Zac Early, author of The CoMoian and Building International Coalitions Through Beer and Pavement points out, just go to any public school and look around. There you’ll see casual Friday done horribly wrong by the teachers and the students.

“In the beginning, teachers wore their mom jeans and a sensible top,” he said. “Then, along comes Ms. Gonzales. Now, I loved Ms. Gonzales. She was a great kindergarten teacher. However, she wore shirts that barely covered her lower back tattoo and often revealed her pierced navel. I’m no prude (two tattoos of my own), but it was a little shocking in a room full of five-year-olds.”

Zac said it was downhill from there. Over the next few years tops climbed higher and waistbands got lower.

“Jeans were ripped,” he said. “And maybe the most egregious offense was the wearing of flip-flops to school – not exactly the safest choice. Of course, it soon spread beyond casual Fridays making everyday a perfect day to wear a low-cut shirt, plumber-like jeans (you know what I mean), and flip-flops.”

Zac’s biggest concern is an overall lack of professionalism in elementary schools these days.

It isn’t just teachers who should be concerned. Everyone can be a little more respectful and professional by dressing a bit nicer. You can be dressier in a nice pair of jeans than your co-worker can in dress pants.

Jennifer Cicero encountered someone who wore a “tube top, palm tree and sequins” to the office. “I didn’t even mention the skin-tight pink pants and cork shoes.”

I’m obviously an advocate of over, rather than under, dressing and that goes for casual Friday as well. Wear an outfit that you would be comfortable meeting an important client in. I tend to wear a casual blazer or jacket with jeans, if the weather and office temperature permits.

9 thoughts on “Casual Friday: Don’t Spoil it for the Rest of Us

  1. So what you are saying is that I shouldn’t wear skinny jeans to the office? A great post Aurora. My situation is a bit different as I’m required to wear a t-shirt with “staff” on it to work during the summer. However, during the school year, I typically wear jeans and a polo or button down shirt. I think there are certain professions and/or situations that still call for suit/tie, but I’m glad to say I didn’t pick a profession where that’s required.

    If it were up to me though, suits and ties would be banned from existence.

    1. Thanks, Matt. There are a million different office environments, and while I can’t give specifics for all of them, I’ve found generally it is better to be over dressed than underdressed, especially on a casual Friday.
      In your case, I wouldn’t wear anything you would be upset if it got ruined As for banning suits and ties, I disagree, men (and women!) can easily look super put together in a classic suit.
      If you want to ban them because you feel suits are uncomfortable and restricting, maybe it is time for a wardrobe upgrade! I own a few suits that are just as comfortable as my favorite pair of jeans. However, good for you, for knowing that suits aren’t your cup of tea and you would resent wearing one every day and finding a profession that doesn’t require them.

  2. Great post. I definitely agree it’s better to be over dressed than under. At work, in my department we are required to wear suits for any marketing event… which can happen a few times a week. It definitely takes a while to build up a wardrobe of suits, especially when you’re first starting out.

    1. Sarah,
      I agree it takes time and effort to build a professional wardrobe. I found the easiest way was to buy a few classic pieces here and there and mix them with some less expensive, trendy pieces. I also asked for work appropriate clothes for holidays. I am happy to recommend a few stores, where I’ve had luck finding tailored pants and blazers for very reasonable prices, if you like.
      Thanks again for commenting!

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