We recently published an informative office dress code How-To for your small business. After reading it, I knew I just had to add my two cents on a certain aspect of the article, which covered the confusing and annoying ritual known as Casual Friday.
Ugh. Casual Fridays. The bane of my existence.
Now, despite the fact that we do, as an organization, partake in Casual Fridays, I rarely feel tempted to throw on a pair of jeans and my favourite tee (it has a French bulldog wearing sunglasses on it, btw) before heading to the office. This is partly due to some of the research I read while in college on the topic of office clothing and gender biases. This research was backed by the experience of a friend who worked at a company that allowed men to wear tank tops and shorts on a casual Friday, yet women were forbidden from wearing skirts above the knees, or sleeves above the elbows. Of course times are a-changing, but it’s difficult to remove the imprint of the research and conversations of bias, so deeply embedded are they in my impressionable mind.
Much more than the long-since-formed fears of gender bias, which I don’t have to worry about in my current work environment, I simply don’t enjoy wearing casual clothes in the office. Oh sure, I might wear flats or go a little crazy with the hoop earrings (yes, I’m aware of how tragic it is that this is my idea of loosening up) but the truth is that I simply don’t feel as motivated or productive in jeans. Oh, and I’d rather die than wear shorts to the office. I might be in the minority but I know I’m not alone in my stance. Here’s a great Forbes article, Is Casual Dress Killing Your Productivity, to back me up on this.
Now, despite everything I just wrote, I do occasionally decide to dip my toes into those murky murky Casual Friday waters. Sometimes it works out. One time it “worked out” on the ONE Friday we were asked not to wear jeans. I’d like to say I missed the memo but you and I both know I neglected to read it.
Here’s how my pitiful attempt to fit in on a Casual Friday usually goes, according to my internal dialogue:
Are faded jeans okay?…What about the ones that I spent a fortune on last week…No, they’re distressed just enough that my grandmother asked if I got them second hand…Open toes? Not when my pedicure is scheduled for tomorrow morning…A maxi dress in the office? Really? Maybe if I throw a sweater over it. Or a blazer…Okay, I like the blazer but it would go better with my pencil skirt. Now add a button down blouse and voila…aaaand I’m back to what I would wear any other day of the week…Well, maybe I’ll loosen up with some chunky jewellery and flats. Wait. Is this what I wore last Friday?…
I am completely aware that this article makes me seem so 10 years ago, but the truth is I’m lucky to have an office environment that allows me to dress in a manner that feels comfortable and confident. So now I’ll open up the floor. Do you have a dress code in your small business? What dress code, if any, would you implement in your place of business? Are you team casual, team business casual or team cufflink? Or maybe you’re team Meredith from The Office?
I’m dying to know!