The concept of ‘Casual Friday’ is office jargon that is usually undefined, which leaves employees (especially new to the workforce employees) feeling uncertain on the actual appropriateness of what ‘casual’ means to their respective employer. Here’s my guide to Casual Friday to help you defog the ambiguity of the common workplace tradition.
Firstly, if you know you have external meetings, or important internal meetings ABORT Casual Friday! At the end of the day, as great as it is to tone down your wardrobe and feel comfortable, you are at work and it’s important to remain professional. So if the day’s schedule calls for it, best to keep it corporate.
As a rule of thumb, I generally make sure one piece of my outfit is still quite corporate. For example, I might wear casual black pants, a t-shirt and then a blazer. Or, a pencil skirt with a t-shirt. But a super easy option is a neat casual dress with tights and boots (winter) or sandals with a thick heel/wedge (summer) – no more than 10cm for the heels.
I find it a lot easier dressing for Casual Friday during the colder months. During winter you can opt for nice black pants/leggings or jeans with a knit (cardigan, jumper etc.). I’ve also found that having a good selection of light scarfs with a variety of prints are good to have because you can keep the outfit very basic and neutral and add life and colour with a good scarf.
If you’re really stuck, I find that brands like Witchery, Seed Heritage, Country Road and Zara pretty much stock products that are the ideal of a good Casual Friday wardrobe.
- Good quality leggings (i.e. not thin material) with a longer cut top/jumper over the top
- Neat denim/calico style skirts
- Casual tee (as long as there is nothing offensive printed on it) but I’d always pair it with something a little more corporate, like a pencil skirt
- Skater cut dress, as long as it’s not too short as many are these days
What’s NOT Okay?
- Skirts/dresses more than a few centimetres above the knee
- Super high heels (there’s nothing casual about super high heels, not sure why women get confused on this one!)
- Low cut tops
- Super tight body con dresses
- Super tight black leggings/pants WITHOUT a long top over them
- Backless tops/dresses
- Thin straps OR strapless
- Demin shorts (any) OR short-shorts
SUMMER WARDROBE Casual Friday IdeasClockwise from left; Nautical Skirt, Sheike, $89.95, Goddess Heels, Siren, $139.95, Fontanne Stripe Dress, Atmos&Here, $59.95, Sapphire Skirt, Kookai, $150, Battlefield Vest, Sheike, Middleton Sandals, Therapy, $49.95
WINTER WARDROBE Casual Friday Ideas
Clockwise from left; A-line Skater Dress, Asos, $74, Bentley Boots, Tony Bianco, $199.95, Zip Detail Slim Leg Pant, Newlook, $29, Sommerset Cropped Knit, Thurley, ON SALE $99.99, Sheer D Ring Cardi, Witchery, $99.95, Animal Paisley Scarf, Seed, ON SALE $29.95
At the end of the day, every workplace has a different definition and expectation from their employees when it comes to Casual Friday protocol. Some of you reading this may completely disregard everything I’ve said, because your workplace is actually quite okay with you wearing thongs into the office on a Friday. But coming from a very corporate work environment myself, you can’t go wrong with the above suggestions, especially if you’re trying to create a professional personal brand when you are at work.