You either love it or hate it. Most of us secretly hate it, dreamt up by the über cool in the office to have a more cohesive workplace that should reflect the party life of the weekend. The reality is that it is a minefield of work faux pas and really, your suit or your standard office dress is just looking too appealing and easy now.
For some of us, it rolls around every Friday…hence the name… but for others, like me, a teacher – we only see it at the beginning of every term for Professional Learning days.
Here’s the thing, if you’re reading my blog posts, theres probably a really high chance that you care about your work dress standards and like to present yourself well – so how do you dress down now? Just because it’s labelled as ‘casual’ doesn’t mean you go from suit jacket, sleek ponytail Queen to weekend TV slob. No. You. Can’t. You have set a standard for yourself which you now absolutely must uphold. Everyone actually expects you to nail this tricky dress code of casual. And you have to do it, otherwise your killer outfits the other four days a week are going to look like its all fake and that you are just trying too hard. You want your professional dress to be classic, elegant and chic, just as you want your ‘casual’ look to be classic, elegant and chic.
It’s easier than you thought. Take one or two professional work items and build the ‘casualness’ around it.
For example, jeans, high heels and a tucked in shirt. The shirt and the heels are your existing wardrobe pieces you would normally wear to work, and the jeans are the perfect hint of casual. If you don’t normally wear heels, that’s fine, just don’t go from classic ballet flats to thongs (flip-flops for everyone who’s reading this outside of Australia). You need to keep the flats ‘work-y’.
If you want to wear a work dress thats fine, but add a touch of something that is the casual vibe. In the example below, I have added a soft denim shirt to this white corporate dress. By tying it at my waist it makes it much more casual. I have also swapped the stilettos for chunky heels.
How do you wear jeans? Blue denim is best avoided if you can unless they are really new and a perfect fit on you. The easiest way to wear denim to work is through colour, or lack there of! Wear white denim or black – they always add a touch of class to the outfit, particularly if you add some heels and a blouse. You will look put-together-chic, not I-wore-this-to-family-dinner-and-couldn’t-be-bothered-to-change.
I have included some of my favourite Professional Learning outfits for the teachers out there. These can easily be adapted for a more corporate casual Friday look by adding a blazer in the cooler months and some stilettos or strappy heels!