Ask the Bean: Workin’ With Casual Fridays

October 7, 2006 • Magazine

Ask the Bean: Workin' With Casual Fridays

Ask the Bean: Workin' With Casual Fridays

Sat, 2006-10-07 10:00

Dear Bean,

I feel that lately Casual Fridays at work have gotten a bit too—well—casual. Some of the outfits I see my co-workers wearing I would only wear lounging around my apartment. I want to take advantage of dressing down on Casual Fridays, but I don’t want to fall into the realm of frumpy. What are some guidelines I can follow?

Friday = Frumpy?

Dear FF,

You are absolutely right! Casual Fridays have simply spun out of control!

The primary rule on Casual Fridays is this: Always remember you are at work. You are not at home. You are not out on a date. And you are not at the gym.

Now there are mainly two types of Casual Fridays: denim or no denim. Whatever your office policy, there is a way to take advantage of these special days we working women look forward to after a hard week’s work.

The fine line between casual and all-out sloppy is easier to cross if you are allowed to wear denim. Here are some tips to avoid tripping to the wrong side of the tightrope. First of all, wear decent jeans—translation: no holes, not stonewashed, not frayed, and not so low as to reveal a midriff. Secondly, pair your jeans with a button-down shirt, a jacket and blouse or a pretty sweater set. Do not wear tank tops.

It’s also tempting to go a little lax with footwear when wearing denim. Rule number one, never ever wear flip flops. In fact, ex out any attire you would wear to the beach. One of my friends termed the necessary Casual Friday attire in relation to going to a family picnic with judgmental in-laws. So get out of the sand and back behind the desk. Also, no sneakers. Keep to stylish flats and loafers. They are casual and comfortable without that unprofessional rubber sole.

When denim isn’t allowed but you are allowed to “dress down slightlyâ€? for the last day of the week, stick with your work-week slacks and skirts, but feel free to leave the jacket at home. Wear solid shirts, turtlenecks or sweaters. Again, not too casual on those tops, but don’t feel obligated to wear the blouse either. Fridays also might be a great opportunity to sport those gaucho slacks you’ve been dying to wear.

I have two final words of advice before you walk into work this coming Friday in your casual garb. First, I always feel twice as productive and energetic in the morning if I take care in how I look. Make sure that whatever you wear gives you the same sense of accomplishment as does that great black power suit. Friday is still a work day, so make sure you’re dressed to work, not to play. And lastly, before you decide to wear something that might be a dress code risk, consult with your boss. That may save you an embarrassing trip to the office, and you might even discover a few loopholes you can work with!

1. Max Studio Silk Chiffon Blouse

2. Cowl Neck Tunic Sweater by Shy Girl

3. Outfit by Banana Republic

4. Outfit by La Redoute

5. Calvin Klein ‘Nysa’ Flat

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