5 Times When Casual Friday Is Taken Too Far at Work
As casual Fridays start to infiltrate the entire week so that it’s casual Monday, casual Tuesday, casual Wednesday, and casual Thursday, too, it’s helpful to have some hard and fast rules for what exactly “casual” means — and more importantly, what it doesn’t.
According to Imprintable Fashion:
- 90% of all U.S. companies have a “casual day”
- One-third of all U.S. companies allow casual clothing every day
Still, despite the rise of casual office environments, employees and your superiors are still judging you based on how you put yourself together. If you’re sloppy in your appearance, it does give an indication of how you might treat your work.
- More than 70% of employees said they would opt for a “business casual” office environment, far beating out “formal,” “jeans and T-shirts,” “shorts and flip-flops,” and “no dress code,” which all combined to make less than 30%
- Around 55% of employees would make an assumption about their coworker as a result of their appearance
- Around 22% of employees said they have wanted to complain to HR about the way a colleague was dressed
- Appearance ranked second only to communication skills when respondents named qualities most often associated with professionalism
So what is “casual” office appropriate and what should be left for weekends?
While there are no hard and fast rules because every industry and even every individual company will differ on their opinions, you’ll be safe if you stick to these five guidelines.
1. Flip-flops are for the beach, not the boardroom
Flip-flops, on both men and women, are too casual for even business casual. You should never be hosting a presentation in front of your colleagues while your flip-flops smack around the floors. Women, if you’re not into heels, a dressier flat sandal or ballet flat accomplishes the same casual idea without sacrificing professionalism. And men? This means no Crocs with your business suit either.
2. Bare midriff is too much skin for any office situation
Even if you work in fashion — because crop tops are definitely in style — it’s too risky to expose your midriff in an office environment. Leave the fashion-forward crop tops for your nights out or dinner dates with friends. There are loads of hot new trends to capitalize on without baring it all.
3. Sweatpants are acceptable — if you literally work in a gym
Everyone gets it: they’re comfortable. But they are in no way office appropriate. When your client shows up for your business meeting wearing a suit, it says a lot about your caliber of professional standards when you great him with a firm handshake, then put your hand back in the oversized gray sweatpant pocket. Never be more underdressed than your client.
4. Yoga pants aren’t really pants
Say what you want about wearing yoga pants and leggings as pants on the weekend — it’s a divisive issue — but in the workplace, they aren’t qualified. Maybe your office has lunchtime yoga, but it shouldn’t trickle to afternoon meeting yoga attire.
5. Tank tops are acceptable, for women
If you have a classy tank-style dress or blouse, it can definitely work — especially if you cover it up with a blazer or cardigan. But men should never be wearing a tank top to work. Period.
There’s plenty of room to showcase your style and personality in your clothes without taking the idea of casual Friday way over the line. Just simply follow those guidelines so that management isn’t forced to remove casual Fridays from your organizational culture.
Worst office outfits ever?
What was the worst office outfit you’ve ever seen? Maybe a sports coat paired with gym shorts or a mesh top. Share your story in the comments below or tweet at us @TINYpulse!