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How to dress for Casual Friday at work?

The unspoken rules for Casual Friday at work

Man wearing casual Friday clothes with pink hat

Do you have a culture of Casual Friday at work? Do you embrace the Casual Friday tradition? Do you look forward to Casual Fridays at work? Are you excited to shed the usual work attire and embrace a more relaxed dress code for the day? Casual Fridays, also known as Dress-Down Fridays, have become a popular tradition in many workplaces. It is the one day when the usual dress code rules get a bit more lenient. But how casual is too casual? What are the unspoken rules for Casual Friday attire? Let's dive into this relaxed work tradition.

What is Casual Friday?

Casual Friday, or Dress-Down Friday, is a Western dress code trend that began in the late 20th century. It is now a global phenomenon. On Casual Fridays, many offices relax their typical dress codes, allowing employees to opt for more informal attire. It is a way to provide a one-day break from the usual corporate attire.

Some organisations have even taken it a step further with "Fancy Fridays," where employees are encouraged to dress up and showcase their fancier side.

Is casual Friday good for business?

The impact of Casual Friday on business can vary. While many view it positively, others see it as the demise of formal office attire. Here are some pros and cons:


  • Personal expression: It allows employees to showcase their individual style.

  • Morale boost: It can improve employee morale and workplace relationships.


  • Reflects poorly: Sometimes, overly casual attire can negatively affect a company's image.

  • Work performance: Relaxed dress codes can lead to a more laid-back attitude, potentially impacting productivity.

For most companies, the benefits of Casual Friday outweigh the risks. However, more conservative organisations may maintain a stricter dress code to balance things out. For all companies, reinforcing the formal dress code policies is offering a good balance to casual Fridays.

Casual wear, not casual performance

In organisations offering a casual Friday dress code, an emphasis should be put on performance and behaviours. As our personal presentation and style are influencing our behaviours and attitudes, the casual Friday divides again. When some people will see an opportunity to be natural and authentic, others will see an invitation to inappropriate behaviours and poor communication styles.

Casual wear on Fridays should not link to casual attitudes and performances. It is essential to remain professional and focused and to offer your best professional behaviour in casual attire.

Navigating Casual Friday: Dressing for success in a relaxed office culture

So, what's the secret to nailing Casual Friday attire? Here are some general guidelines that can apply in many situations:

  • Formal dress code: If your office maintains a formal dress code, you can go casual by ditching the tie while keeping the overall formality.

  • Smart casual: For a smart casual environment, a polo shirt can replace the typical dress shirt, offering a more relaxed yet professional look.

  • Casual: In a completely casual setting, comfortable and work-appropriate attire is key. Avoid overly casual items like flip-flops.

Balancing your Casual Friday look can be a bit tricky. In addition to choosing the right style, remember to pay attention to fit, colour, accessories, and grooming. When you're new in a workplace, take time to observe your colleagues and review the company's dress code policy.

Casual Friday in Summer

Woman dressed in casual Friday clothes at work

Summer brings a sense of freedom to our wardrobes. It is a time to lighten up but not entirely let go. While summer allows for more relaxed attire, it doesn't mean you can show up in flip-flops, shorts, and a tank top at the office. Keep it professional, even in the heat.

Setting Limits on Casual Friday

How far you can push the envelope on Casual Friday depends on the company and industry. Here are some general tips:

  • Creative vs. corporate: Creative industries often allow for more creativity in attire, while corporate sectors maintain stricter dress codes.

  • Avoid the extremes: Stay clear of clothing that's politically or morally offensive, overly revealing, or overly worn.

Remember, your personal brand does not take a break on Fridays. You are always representing yourself and your company, so make sure your attire aligns with your professionalism and personal brand.

Casual with a Purpose

In the end, whether it is Casual Friday or any other day, your choice of attire reflects your attitude toward work and contributes to your personal brand. Even in a casual environment, take pride in your appearance, dress appropriately, and make a great first impression. Your personal brand never takes a day off; it is a continuous representation of who you are.

While the dress code may have changed over time, your professionalism should always remain intact. After all, you still want people to take you seriously, whether it's Monday or Friday.

Monday is the new Friday: Business Casual' as the New Norm

Monday is the new Friday quote

Many organisations have embraced the concept of "business casual" as their standard dress code. But what exactly does "business casual" mean, and how do you define what's appropriate and what is not? The shift from formal attire to business casual has led to some confusion among employees.

Navigating the world of business casual can be challenging. To help employees make the right fashion choices, some companies provide clear guidelines on attire. For those without such guidelines, understanding what is considered appropriate in a business casual setting can be perplexing.

It is crucial to remember that your company's image depends on its employees. You represent your organisation, and your attire and behaviour reflect how the business is perceived by clients. Maintaining a professional, consistent, and appropriate image is essential.

In conclusion, no matter the dress code, remember that you are still at work and representing your workplace. Your outfit should always reflect a level of professionalism and pride. So whether it is a casual Friday or a regular Monday, make your attire work for you and your company.

Maud Vanhoutte

Last updated: March, 2024.

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