After one too many disastrous consequences, offices around the world are banishing dress down Fridays. Corporate casual is the one style that is too often misunderstood, so how can you make sure that you get it right?
The pros and cons of casual style are many, especially in an office environment. Remember the flip flops and Hawaiian shirt, you may choose to wear them at the weekend as they are not always appropriate for work, casual does not mean unprofessional and you don’t want to look like a tourist. If you’re not sure then put it away, being at the centre of attention is not a bad thing, as long as it’s for the right reasons. The key is to find a happy medium opting for an outfit that is casual but also crisp and well-presented so be sure to steer clear of any garments that are creased, torn or look unwashed.
A must for any casual outfit is a pair of jeans. Yes, you can wear them but try not to go for the latest rip and torn look, opt instead for a dark rinse with minimal detail and combine with a crisp shirt with cufflinks, a loose fitting tie and cardigan. Make sure your jeans fit, not too snug so you can breathe and sit at your desk comfortably but not so loose that your colleagues think your other job is working on a building site.
It is OK to wear khakis and polos as long as they are well pressed and absent of any outlandish logos that you feel make a statement about you. Do not wear shorts, the chances are your legs haven’t seen the sun since last summer, so put them away!
Don’t wear scruffy shoes, trainers or flip flops; it’s not appropriate and often leads people to make unwarranted comments about your appearance, remember we don’t all want to see your toes! Opt instead for dark colored casual loafers, smart but comfortable shoes.
If you are scheduled to have a meeting with a client and it is on a dress down day do not dress down. What might be company policy for you does not always apply to the person you are meeting with.
The key to dressing casual is to remember that you need to dress in a way that makes you and everyone else around you feel comfortable. In line with company policy casual Fridays do not mean that you can expose otherwise hidden piercings or tattoos. Don’t wear bright colors or tight fitting garments. Your appearance is an incredibly powerful thing and can give or take away your credibility in an instant. You don’t get a second chance to make a good impression so remember dressing casual does not mean that you need to make a statement about who you are outside of the office.