Guidelines for Casual Friday

Offices can wildly vary on dress codes, some are business casual Saturday and Sunday while others feel more like you’re walking into a Best Buy than a law firm, government office, or non-profit. However your office operates, one thing that seems constant is the idea of casual Friday. Casual Friday sounds easy but it can sometimes be difficult to gauge exactly what is appropriate casual dressing. Read on for a few tips on how to dress down while still looking like you’re moving up.

In determining what is appropriate, look around the office to see what others are wearing and get an idea of the level of dress that is acceptable. Pay particular attention to what your supervisor is wearing as that should give you the best idea of what they would consider acceptable. I personally prefer being slightly dressier than the office norm, even on casual days.

When you wear jeans, always choose a dark wash. Dark jeans always look more professional than light washes (they are also more flattering) and never wear a pair that has any rips, tears, or holes (even if you bought them that way). If you can’t wear jeans and choose something such as khakis, make sure they fit appropriately (not too tight, not too baggy). Fit matters even for the most casual of clothing. Additionally, leggings are never pants so don’t try to convince yourself they are, no matter how comfortable they are.

Simple t-shirts can easily be dressed up with a scarf or bright necklace but make sure they aren’t sheer and the neckline isn’t too deep. Thin tank tops are never appropriate. When it comes to footwear choose pretty ballet flats or a kitten heel (or full on stilettos, they look great with jeans). While some offices allow flip-flops I personally think they are inappropriate, its hard to look and feel professional when your feet are smacking down the hallway. I would also recommend having a blazer or cardigan on hand in case you’re called to an unexpected meeting.

A chic belt can add polish to jeans and a button down while anything with a hood (sweater, cardigan, sweatshirt) should be saved for the weekend. If you are ever unsure of how to dress for casual Friday, just ask your supervisor. The short conversation is better then being sent home for wearing your favorite Hawaiian shirt.

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  • Ashley

    You should probably alter the outfit in your avatar before dispensing attorney fashion advice. Or at least cover up. Is that a sheer leopard print top with a red skirt? I can see your entire bra. Come on, dude. Not classy.

    • Stephanie Lee

      While I agree that fashion advisers should follow their own counsel, I think this comment would have been better made in a private message. Let’s leave the snark for Above the Law!