How to Dress APPROPRIATELY on Casual Friday

Casual Friday, two words that are often a source of frustration for employers and confusion to employees. What once began as a means of feeling more relaxed at the office prior to the weekend has ended in horror for some businesses and refused completely by others. I have been asked my opinion on what is appropriate on a casual Friday. The question is often followed by stories of past coworkers showing up in mesh tops, mini skirts and logo tee shirts. While many businesses have become okay in allowing a casual Friday, many have yet to enforce a dress code for it. The end result is far from desired or what the original message was intended to be.

Furthermore, the business game has changed, especially in terms of fashion. Twenty years ago, most dressed in a suit and went to work. Business was more formal. It required people to be more polished during the day. Today’s market has vastly changed. The number of people working in creative job fields is constantly growing as are the number of individuals working from home. While this should not effect how professionals get dressed in the morning, it unfortunately does. Magazines and other media outlets are constantly creating work inspired outfits that allow us to reflect our personal style. While articles like these can be a great piece, the readers will not look at an article like that and know if the outfit in question is one that is appropriate for their job in particular. Recently, I had seen a blog post about the best interview outfits. I have to admit to being horrified with the results. While the pictures were attention grabbing, the outfits themselves were far from appropriate for the office.

So what is appropriate for casual Friday? The answer varies depending on your employment. The first thing many businesses need to establish is a dress code. While many say they have one, they are often very vague and almost never enforced. Secondly, you need to establish what level of dress your day to day business requires and what type of field you are in before a more casual mode of dress can be established. Generally speaking, if you are in a traditional business role such as an accountant, lawyer, or banker, you should wear more traditional business outfits such as suits, or business casual modes of dress from Monday to Friday. The higher your position, the more formal you need to dress. Those in creative industries such as fashion, graphic designer, PR should opt for a business casual mode of dress, but would be able to style themselves with more creative leniency because of their field.

In terms of casual Friday, the rule of thumb is to style yourself a business level lower than how you would normally dress from Monday to Thursday. For example, someone that wears a full suit during the week would dress business casual come Friday. It does not mean that you automatically jump into denim. Those that dress business casual during the week could choose to dress smart casual at week’s end. The more casual you become, the more you can incorporate your personal style, whatever that may be. Make a note, if you are going to be in meetings or seeing clients on Casual Friday, then that attire is out for you.

Here are a few general rules and things to keep in mind for casual Friday:

1. If you are going to wear denim, remember no rips and no wild washes.
2. Putting a blazer over casual items such as a tee shirt or jeans instantly makes you look more professional.
3. No sandals. If you are looking for comfort on Friday, opt for flats or loafers.
4. No mini skirts or short shorts. They just are not appropriate.
5. If you are going to wear a sheer shirt, make sure a camisole or tee is underneath.
6. No gym clothes (including yoga pants, ladies) at work. Ever!!!
7. Your neckline should never be lower than the top of your cleavage.

The key is to remember that when you enter the office, no matter what field you are in, you represent yourself and the company you work for. How you dress says something about who you are. Reflecting your personal style while still being appropriate at work will not only make you feel good, but your employers will too.

HOT Outside ~ You can still look cute!

If you legitimately consider jumping in every fountain you walk by, it is officially gotten too freakin’ hot. Before you succumb to hibernation and let a little heat squander your should-be-endless summer nights, I have a few tricks that will allow you to leave your house without morphing into an uncomfortable, sweaty mess.

Invest in inexpensive sleeveless cotton dresses. The only good news about August is that it is a GREAT time to invest in a summer wardrobe for this season and next. Every store is offering deep discounts right now on its summer stuff, and that is why I generally hit up LOFT  or Loft Outlet each August for a bunch of cotton dresses for the days when I am running around showing property.

Splurge on a pair of cute and super-comfortable sandals. Each summer, I have learned to spend up if I have to in order to find sandals that are both pretty AND very, very comfortable. Honestly, if you feel like you are walking on air…. the price was worth it!!

Beat the heat in a stylish maxi dress. I love, love, love maxi dresses when it is hot outside. They work during the day and at night.

Try out the summer trends with a pair of shorts. Floral’s hot this season. Why not rock the look in a cute pair of floral shorts ? They are much cooler than a dress or skirt.

The Rule of Three

I know you have heard the expression “things happen in threes”. The Rule of Three is the principle that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more aesthetically pleasing, or more effective, than other grouped number of things.  Even slogans and catchphrases are regularly three words…”Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”…”Stop, Drop and Roll.”

So, how does this apply to fashion?  It is simple…the third piece in an outfit adds pizzazz to an otherwise basic outfit, making you look more stylish and put together. Essentially, it is a simple trick that creates more chic outfits.  Start with your basic shirt and jeans, then add a scarf as your third piece.  This adds visual interest and pulls the entire look together.  You could take a simple A-line skirt and blouse and add a statement necklace jazzing up your office look.  The third piece could also be a jacket, cardigan or vest as well.  The third piece just completes any look.  Try it!!

Feeling Lazy ~ 4 Easy Office Outfit Combinations

Sometimes putting together an outfit for work can be a little tricky. Of course, you will want to look gorgeous and fab, but there are certain things you cannot wear to work because of certain dress codes. If you are putting together an outfit that you will be wearing to the office it has to be chic yet professional looking at the same time. If you are someone who’s used to wearing street style chic clothes, you might have to exert a bit more effort discerning whether or not certain items should and can be worn to work and there will be days when you just do not feel like doing that. Here are some easy office outfit combination for lazy days that you can use as your go-to combos.

Button up shirt and pencil skirt – this one’s a no-brainer, really. Just throw on a crisp white button up if you really cannot get yourself to think about mixing and matching anything then slip into a figure flattering pencil skirt and your slinkiest pair of heels and you should be good to go! If you want to give it a more personal and girly twist, choose a button up in your favorite color or one that has a cute design / fab details on it. You can also glam it up a bit more by wearing stockings underneath for the look of flawless legs.

cbc4d635f3ca3c7a3b4096fe3bdb6c08

A suit – another really easy outfit to put together on lazy days is a suit. Make sure you have at least one or two matching jacket and pants suit in your work wardrobe that you can wear on days when you really do not feel like thinking about what to mix and match. On days when you are feeling a little lazy but can still think of mixing and matching, you can try doing a mismatched suit instead. Slip into a sexy cami before you put your blazer / jacket on to give your outfit a sexier twist.

74a7d18651f123d4a522568435ea3527

Shift dress – want something that is fuss-free and effortlessly chic? Wear that shift dress you have had for so long, throw on your chunky bib necklace and get your stilettos on for an office outfit that’s sure to wow everyone, from your workmates to your clients and bosses. You can also opt to add a blazer on top if you want. For a more fun and posh look, try wearing a printed shift dress.

a29b0b20c24ae359e0133dc3db8ad685

Shirt and midi skirt – here is another safe yet chic outfit that you can wear to work: a cute shirt and a midi skirt. Midi skirts are perfect for work because they’re not as short and sexy as miniskirts but also not as long as maxi skirts which have a more street style vibe. If you want to keep your look conventional, opt for a pencil cut midi. On the other hand, if you want to go a bit more glam and give your look a more girly feel, I would suggest wearing a full midi skirt instead.

SONY DSC

Inspiration from Pinterest.

Wearing Black & White Stripes

Black and white stripes never seem to go out of style because designers are continually reinventing them.  There seem to be endless ways that simple straight lines can be combined to create new and exciting designs. However, they can be tricky to pull off without looking like Beetlejuice or as if you just escaped from jail.  Here are some of my favorite examples:

Inspiration from Pinterest.

Statement Sleeves

When it comes to summer fun, the month of July takes the cake here in South Carolina with the Fourth of July followed by our local Water Festival. If I had it my way, my free time would be spent in the river with a cocktail in my hand. So, when I cannot be seen relaxing and soaking up the glorious sunshine, I want my wardrobe to reflect the best that the season has to offer. Summer has already proven to be ultra-chic and the trends just keep getting hotter. From the coveted off the shoulder tops and dresses (see my July 20th blog) to the best summer sunglasses to enhance your accessory game, there is not much by way of fashion that I am not already obsessed with.  So in today’s blog, I am going to highlight another summer trend……the statement sleeve.  From ruffles to bell sleeves and delicate lace, sleeves are having a major moment right now. Details have never been more important, whether they are subtle or make a bold pop, you cannot go wrong with a sleeve that does all the talking.

Inspiration from Pinterest.