Why Casual Friday Isn’t Unprofessional Friday

Happy Memorial Day!

While we will take some time today to thank those who have fought for and defended our freedoms as Americans, many of us will also hit the shopping malls for those unbeatable sales.

By no means would I consider myself a fashionista and I’m not really a fan of shopping. For me, it consists of finding a mannequin that looks well dressed and then finding all the pieces in the store. So recently, I’ve decided to buy clothes that will work for both work and the weekends. This way I spend less money and don’t have to feel so overwhelmed in a store.

This has made the transition from business dress during the week to casual Friday pretty easy. Just swap the pencil skirt or slacks for some nice, jeans and I’m good to go! Still professional, yet a little more comfy. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed my fellow Millenials have begun taking “Casual Friday” to mean “Unprofessional Friday” and show up in outfits that, while cute, would be better suited for a sporting event or concert – not an office.

Pay Attention to Workplace Culture

Casual Friday is a treat for most people, as it’s a chance to show off your true style. But you really need to understand the culture of your office before your decide to be super trendy or comfy. If you’re just stating the job, it might be best to wait a few weeks before dressing down on Fridays, just to get a feel for what’s common and acceptable.

Washington, D.C., seems to be a big city from the outside, but just like any other city it’s a pretty small bubble. People should always be prepared to run into a client on the sidewalk or a potential new business lead on the metro. Do you want run into someone like that while wearing ripped, too-tight jeans, a blazer that would better fit a child, and stilettos?

There are ways to be stylish and comfy on Fridays while still looking professional. I asked a few friends who feel the same way I do, and picked their brains to see what rules they follow when dressing Friday morning. Here’s what we concluded:

  1. Heels are great, but avoid the stilettos. Flats are great too, but can dress down your outfit.
  2. Stick with dark denim jeans. Just make sure they’re not too tight. And plain is always better.
  3. Button downs and collared tops are always a safe bet.  
  4. Over-sized blazers are best kept for the weekend, as they can appear sloppy.
  5. This may be a personal pet peeve, but I’d avoid leggings all together.
  6. Bold colors and accessories help dress things up.

Again, I am no fashionista, but I am trying to move up the corporate ladder. We would all hate to learn we didn’t get a promotion because we don’t understand our office culture. So while you’re out shopping today, just think, what would Stacy and Clinton say about what you’re buying?

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

You may also like...