A friend sent me a fascinating article recently called The Problem With Casual Fridays. Now I’ve written about Casual Fridays for this series before and have talked about how to even make jeans work appropriate if your office allows them. But this author makes the assertion that you should opt out of casual Fridays altogether and treat Friday just as you would any work day. I recommend reading the entire article, but the author suggested when her approach to dressing for Fridays changed, she was given additional career opportunities: “I always looked like I had somewhere important to be, and my employers didn’t have to work as hard envisioning me in more prominent roles.”
IF you do decide to stick with casual Friday attire, there was a great quote from the author of How to Get a Job: Secrets of a Hiring Manager. First, she says never show more skin than you would any other time of the week. Then, “Stay away from flimsy materials or anything that looks like what you’d wear hanging around your house. When it comes to jeans, always stick with a dark wash, preferably in a trouser cut. It gets tricky with shoes, especially flats, which for many women are a casual Friday mainstay. I’ve interviewed countless women CEOs, founders, and top-level execs over the years-not a single one in flats, which exude a kind of demure good-girl quality that rarely telegraphs power.”
Isn’t that fascinating? Skip flats! I’ve written an entire post on flats and I’ll tell you, I wear them often on Fridays. The author recommends kitten heels instead if you need a lower heel. Such interesting food for thought.
So with this concept in mind, I’ve telegraphed some alternative casual Friday outfits that (1) do not involve jeans, and (2) don’t paint you as a “good girl” instead of someone with promotion potential. Note, if the picture shows jeans, imagine the outfit with gray or navy trousers - it’s nearly impossible to find casual Friday images now that DON’T involve jeans. But I really LOVE the concept of some of these power colors, like bright reds or yellows, and they are perfect for a casual Friday – you can skip the jeans and get the same feel with a higher degree of sophistication and execuitve-savvy. (And don’t you just love those first two handbags???)
I did try to find some skirt outfits, but the reality is the skirts were either length inappropriate or they telegraphed that good girl feel with sweaters and flats (particularly the full skirt). One idea is a panel dress with a bright sweater. The black and white outfit has some of that feel but I would pair it with a shorter sweater and a heel. Or the gray would work with a blazer. But the reality is, skirt/dress ensembles are sometimes harder to pull off.
It’s worth considering, before you walk out the door on Fridays, if you look like you fit into the position you eventually want to have if you happened to bump into the CEO that day. I know I’m guilty of telegraphing comfort over power on some Fridays, but Fridays should warrant as much consideration as Monday through Thursday.