The typical business attire of dress pants, button downs, and blouses can sometimes feel more like an uncomfortable costume rather than work-efficient clothing. Luckily, many companies have adopted the common “Casual Friday’s” so employees can dress down at the end of a long week.
Casual Fridays are debatably the most comfortable you could ever be at work, but with it comes a new problem: how casual is too casual?
It’s important to consider what your daily work image is. Whether you’re one of the better dressed at work or not. If you aren’t, strive to be! Because being well-dressed projects hard-working values that employers are always on the lookout for. However, as a better dressed person in your workplace, dressing too casually on casual Fridays can be disastrous to the image you’ve worked so hard to create.
It’s all a result of the contrast. People tend to notice a well-dressed person dressing down, much more readily than someone who regularly dresses on the casual side.
Dressing too casual, with the added contrast to your weekly wardrobe, will give off the impression that your Friday self is your “true self”. As in, the person who you are when you aren’t at work. And people will see this as a highly revealing moment. It can be harmful to you because colleagues and employers may perceive your common dress as an illusion to who you really are. And they may affiliate you with common traits often associated with casually dressed workers: lazy, unmotivated, and a procrastinator (just to name a few).
This isn’t to say that if you’ve made these mistakes that you can’t correct for them. But it will take time. Similar to how a friend can break your trust with a single act, dressing too casual can impact your employee image.
But what IS dressing too casual?
There are many clothing items, that although common in everyday wear, is not appropriate at work, no matter how casual your Fridays are.
- Ripped pants
- Sweat pants, track suits, or any form of exercise attire
- Exposing inappropriate cleavage, stomach, full back, mid-upper thigh, and bare shoulders
- Translucent or transparent fabrics
- Baggy, oversized attire (that conjures up words like ‘frumpy’)
- Tight-fitting shirts
- Flip flops, exercise or activity-oriented footwear, and sandals
The simplest way to determine how much to dress down? Take a look at your Monday to Thursday wardrobe. Try to mimic the same sense of style, but dial it down a notch. Such as moving from Thursdays blouse and dress pant combo, to a business casual shirt and simple jeans. That’s all you need.
Casual Fridays are not weekly permission slips allowing you to dress however you want. Don’t fall into that trap and let your image take the hit. Keep employers impressed with smart, business casual looks and always strive to be the best dressed in the room. “Even on Fridays?!” your coworkers will say.
And you’ll flash them a grin as you saunter off, “Yes, even on Fridays.”