Monday, January 16, 2012

Casual Friday Has Gone Too Far

Last Friday I took a couple of hours off to run some personal errands. I wish I had stayed home, because my retinas are forever emblazoned with the visions I saw in "casual Friday" workplaces as I went to take care of my business.

Casual Fridays were instituted as a sort of morale booster years ago, a way to let employees ditch the tie and pantyhose and wear something a little more casual. But I'm pretty sure employers never intended it to go this far and I know that as a customer, I never again want to see a grown woman at work wearing Uggs covered in silver sequins.

So, for the sake of your career, I'm going to go over some rules of casual Friday. (This doesn't apply to those of you who need to wear casual clothes every day because you assemble SUVs or work in the county landfill.)

The biggest don'ts:

1. No boots with fur on them. Leave them at home to wear when you take the dogs slushing.

2. No shirts with sayings on them. I don't want to read your chest before I can conduct my business.

3. Forget the jeans. I don't care how nice they look, they still look like jeans. You may say, "but what about my $200 pair of chic jeans that don't look like jeans?" The truth is, jeans look like jeans whether they cost $20 or $400. Don't wear them to work.

4. No sweatshirts. Especially any that say, "World's Best Nana."

5. No tennis shoes.

6. No shoes that look like you should be boating with the Kennedys.

7. No shorts. I don't care if you wear tights under them, wear boots with them or they make your butt look really cute. Shorts are shorts. (See above reference to jeans.)

8. No hats. You're not a Kardashian or Indiana Jones. It looks stupid and we all know you're doing it because you didn't wash your hair.

9. Nothing you classify as "comfie." You want comfie, work from home. When you're at work, I don't want to see you in pants you could sleep in, a sweater big enough to wrap around yourself and your desk and shoes that you "slop, slop, slop" across the floor in because they're really house slippers.

10. No stamps. Wash off the stamp on your hand you got from the club last night, or put makeup over it. I'm not doing business with someone who could possibly be hungover and/or is still drunk on Jello shooters.

The important thing to remember about casual Fridays is that you don't want to do anything that would unravel the professional image you've created during the week. You never know when a customer or potential new employer seeing you on a Friday is turned off by your beat-up sweatshirt and jeans and heads toward a more professional-looking worker.

Anything you think I should add to the list of "don'ts?"



Sierra said...

This makes me incredibly glad to work somewhere where just about everyone, including bosses, dresses like the things you said not to do. I don't think I would be comfortable in a place that was all OMG NO JEANS NOT EVEN ON FRIDAY! I'm quite content with my "comfie" shoes, hoodies, tshirts, and shoes you'd probably hate.

Sierra said...

This makes me incredibly glad to work somewhere where just about everyone, including bosses, dresses like the things you said not to do. I don't think I would be comfortable in a place that was all OMG NO JEANS NOT EVEN ON FRIDAY! I'm quite content with my "comfie" shoes, hoodies, tshirts, and shoes you'd probably hate.

Anita said...

My point is that as a customer I have a lot of trouble putting faith in a business where the employees look like they should be hanging around a dorm room instead of handling my money.
We all have to realize that jobs aren't going to last forever. Let's say, for example, that your company went out of business and you wanted to approach a customer or vendor about a job -- do you think it's wise that this person't first thought of you is about your "too casual" image? Or, is the image you want to give one of professional competence? Argue all you want...but too casual attire can brand you with a too casual work image.

Sierra said...

I mean, you have to go with your company's culture on these kinds of things. It's not going to be a big deal to wear jeans, Converse shoes, and a hoodie (Hey, that's what I wore today!) in an atmosphere that's totally okay with that. I also don't think too many people approach potential clients/employers dressed this way, either. If they do, then they must be a bit daft and probably should stick with McDonalds or something.

I just realized that the photo you used looks almost exactly like my desk at work. Creepy!

Nicky Xmas said...

Love this blog! ...but I'm not sure what there is left to wear to work that can be considered casual... chinos??

Anita said...

I understand that sometimes a job or culture calls for more casual dress. I just think that sometimes we may not be able to predict what our day will bring -- a customer walking right up to your desk or a potential employer checking you out during a visit -- so I think you always have to be thinking about the image your project.

Anita said...

I think chinos are fine, as long as they're in good shape and not wrinkled. The problem with casual dress is that too many people wear something they would put on to run errands on the weekend.

Alex Dogliotti said...

Hey, in Apple I used to to work with this girl who used to wear tracksuit bottoms with 'juicy' written on her ass. And that was everyday cos there was no dress code at all there...

Anita said...

What a thing to be remembered the girl with Juicy written on her butt. And that's exactly my point -- maybe you don't care what you wear to work today, but it may matter a great deal in the future.

Susan said...

I've seen Casual Fridays in different offices, and many people tend to choose to wear jeans. Fortunately, I've never seen anyone look like they're just heading to the mall. Now I'm wondering how casual should Casual Fridays be.

Anita said...

The problem with wearing jeans to work is that they always look like...jeans. And I've yet to see a pair of jeans on someone at work that I think look like trousers...most workers resort to their favorite pair that has holes, or is worn or faded.

Jared said...

Not all jeans are created equally. Dark jeans can look clean and classy. I dont think you have to wear slacks every day... that is the point of casual fridays... anyway what kinds of places were you running errands at that you were putoff from people in 'casual' attire? I think the function of the business makes a big difference too. I work in an area where we don't deal with external customers directly... therefore jeans shouldn't be an issue and its understood that if you are having a meeting with an outside group you dress normally. just two cents.

Anita said...

I'm sorry, but I have yet to see a pair of jeans that look classy enough for a business meeting. If you've washed them more than a handful of times, they start to fade in color, and few of us take the time to hand wash jeans. :)
I have been to banks, doctors' offices and a car dealership where I thought the "casual dress" had gone too far. You're right...they all deal with customers (me.)
But one of the points I was trying to make was that you can't always plan who you're going to see that day...maybe a client drops in unexpectedly. Or perhaps you get a chance to meet someone new ... and the first impression you make is in jeans and sweatshirt. I just think if you're going to be doing any kind of business outside of a home office, you should dress to impress.
Thanks for adding to this discussion!