Casual Friday dress policies have become a common perk in many different industries, but confusion abounds regarding the definition of the policy. Some people misinterpret the dress code and wear whatever they want, much to the chagrin of employers. While employees want to express their personalities and be comfortable on the last day of the work week, it is crucial to remember that the employee is still at work, and therefore represents the company and herself.
Casual Friday became popular only in recent decades as a way for the employee to relax and feel more comfortable on the last day of the traditional work week. It is a job perk particularly agreeable to employees of Generations X and Y, who prize self-expression. It gives the employee a job perk that does not cost the company any money.
Shirts and Tops
Shirts and tops for both men and women should remain modest and should cover the chest, stomach, and shoulders. T-shirts and athletic or workout clothing should not be worn. The transparency of garments should also be considered, and shirts that expose skin or undergarments should be avoided. Shirts with holes or stains are not appropriate for office wear. Polo shirts and knit tops are good choices.
Pants and Skirts
Pants and skirts should also have no holes or stains on them. Skirts should not be so short that the wearer risks unwanted exposure during normal office tasks. Jeans may be permitted, depending on the employer, but should not be worn or dirty. Shorts are often not permitted by Casual Friday dress policies, and should be cleared with a manager before wear. Underwear should never be exposed. Ironed khaki pants are a safe option for most workplaces, as are fuller, more casual skirts for women.
One of the most common mistakes made by employees on a casual dress day is the wearing of flip-flops. With only rare exceptions, flip-flops should not be worn. Athletic shoes, like athletic clothing, should also be avoided. Scuffed shoes or shoes with holes are unprofessional and do not give a good impression. Leave them at home.
If there is a possibility that you may meet with clients or managerial staff, you need to be prepared. Either bring a more formal outfit with you to leave in your office, or forego wearing casual clothing that day. All clothes that you wear to work should be clean and ironed. If you wear the clothing for household chores, working out, going to the beach, or going out to a club, leave it at home. Under no circumstances should undergarments be visible. While the dress policy says casual, it does not mean unprofessional.