Casual Friday is designated as a day when professionals may dress in business casual attire. Often this means employees may wear nice jeans, casual slacks, Capri pants, casual sandals (women), and nice polo shirts for men. Bottom line: appropriate Casual Friday office attire is part of good business etiquette. The goal is to still present a professional image while enjoying a day of business casual attire. However, as evidenced in an episode of The Office a few years ago, some take the “casual” in Casual Friday a little too far.
I recently witnessed firsthand how inappropriate business casual attire can reflect poorly on the image of a company. A recent Friday afternoon found me experiencing an unusually long wait at my doctor’s office. Fortunately, I am one to tote enough of my “office” in my purse that I could make use of the lengthy waiting time. I expected to answer emails, but instead found myself writing this article while observing numerous health care professionals as they scurried about their work through the hallways and reception area.
Whoa! Did I ever get an eye full–of what NOT to wear for “Casual Friday!” I was aghast! This group appeared ready to clean out someone’s attic instead of taking blood pressures and reviewing lab reports.
A few business casual faux pas I observed included:
- Jeans with holes
- Faded jeans dragging the floor, frayed at the hem
- Flip flops
- Sports team t-shirts
- Tank tops
- Dirty tennis shoes
- More flip flops
- Thin blouses with undergarments showing through
- Denim capris
- Tons and tons of tattoos and body piercings
I pondered how I might feel if I was a new patient visiting this office for the first time. The unprofessional attire certainly did not give an impression of competence and credibility. While the doctor himself is very good, the Casual Friday attire worn by his staff clearly undermines the professionalism of his office.
This office staff apparently didn’t “get” that the goal for Casual Friday is still to present yourself with a polished professional image.
You will make the right attire choices–and not commit business attire “casualties” if you ask yourself this question when getting dressed for work on Friday mornings: “Will this item make me look like I’m ready to clean the garage or go to the beach…or, will I look like I’m ready to do business?”