How To Dress For Summer Casual Friday
It’s summer now, and by the time Friday comes around, people are so ready to bail for the weekend, they tend to come to work on Friday dressed for whatever activity they’d rather be doing. The office is not the golf course, it’s not a football game, nor is it your living room.
So, this seems like a good opportunity to assess what appropriate “Casual Friday” work attire consists of. Because, after all, we never miss a chance to tell people how to dress and/or behave.
Casual Friday gives us all a chance to relax, and show a little more of our personal side than a traditional suit and tie allows. The key is to not get too personal. It comes down to how casual is “casual?” I’m sure we all have our own definitions, but we need to narrow it down a bit for those that extend the definition too far.
It’s not a day at the beach
I’ll start with the obvious. Under no circumstances should you wear anything that you might wear to the beach. No flip flops, sandals, shorts, or t-shirts. You may want to show off your muscular legs, your tan, or that awesome band t-shirt you got at the concert, but the office isn’t the place. In fact, t-shirts in general aren’t appropriate. Polo shirts are fine as long as they don’t have any obnoxious logos. No country club names, vendor, or company logos.
It’s not a sporting event
Next, no sports-wear; by this I mean nothing that indicates you play for the local softball team, you’re a Jet’s fan, or that golf is planned for this weekend. Walking around the office in that football jersey may indicate you’re excited for Sunday’s big game, but it also indicates you don’t know how to dress professionally for work. Baseball caps are also prohibited since it means you were probably too lazy to brush your hair. Bottom line: any attire that you actually wear while watching, and more importantly, playing sports should be avoided since it will likely be well worn (i.e. sweat stained, faded, torn, etc.).
What should you wear?
Your shirt – Unmarked/unbranded polo shirts and dress shirts are fair game. “Sport shirts” are also fine, just don’t confuse a “sport shirt” (a less formal button down) with a shirt you might wear for sports (as discussed above). Short-sleeved dress shirts are strongly discouraged. Farmers are the only ones that wear short-sleeved dress shirts.
Your pants -
- Feel free to wear your suit pants, if you’re wearing an appropriate shirt. However, if you wear wool suit pants during the summer, you’ll likely sweat your bag off. This is where wearing cotton pants really helps. If you’re wearing a polo or more casual sport shirt, wearing more casual slacks is recommended (ie. not the pin-stripe ones that obviously are meant to be worth as a suit).
- Jeans are OK. Badly faded, ripped, frayed or baggy jeans are NOT.
- Khakis are OK. If you do wear khakis, make sure they are flat-front and fit you properly. While many will wear their giant, pleated khakis with a polo shirt tucked in… I feel like that is cliche, standard issue office wear and doesn’t really speak to one’s personal style. You know who wears that to my office? The copy machine repair guy. If that’s all you aspire to be, then go ahead.
Your shoes – Dress shoes or loafers are the smart choice here. Sneakers are OK as long as they are of the stylish sort and clean. Any shoes that you go to the gym or run in should be strictly avoided, the same goes for nautical footwear. A side note about socks… remember your socks should more closely match your pants than your shoes. So if you’re wearing light khakis and dark shoes, wear light color socks.
So go ahead, relax, enjoy the summer, dress comfortably and casually to deal with the heat, but don’t dress like a douche.