This morning I spoke to a friend on the phone and we talked about his profession. He works in the pharmaceutical business. As a product manager, he wears suits every day (he loves to wear suits). He told me that you could really see the difference between the suits and style of product managers and product-group managers. The difference in job level is also reflected in the style of the outfit; the product-group managers try to look better than the product managers. Why can’t we all look great at entry-level? There is however a day in the weekly life of people were they can be themselves: the Casual Friday (or Dress-Down Friday). Unless you have important meetings, most companies allow you to dress more casual as a first step into the weekend.
Talking about this popular Friday-phenomenon regularly with my friends, I noticed that there still is so much confusion about what to wear on Casual Fridays. We all understand that being too casual is not good, but on the other hand, wearing a suit on Casual Friday seems a bit too much. I do not want to promote shorts and flip-flops for the Casual Fridays, instead I advice the Smart Casual style. It’s an easy but still very chic outfit. Smart Casual is a mixture of formal clothing and casual clothing.
Even though you probably have a lot of freedom picking your outfit for this day, try to wear a formal shirt at all times, reflecting your professional intentions. A tie is not necessary, but could be a great detail if you wear it loose around your collar. You could wear a jacket, a cardigan, or even both. That’s your own choice.
Further, make sure that IF you must wear jeans, that the jeans look slim-fit and clean. Perhaps a little too short or a fold could do the trick? Personally, I believe pants made out of wool are more comfortable and cooler to wear than jeans, so why even bother? Other etiquette rules still apply: the belt and shoes should match in color, the shirt should not have a breast pocket, and you could still wear a pocket-square at any time.
I hope you will find some inspiration in this story, making your appearance on the next Casual Friday Smart Casual.