The truth about dress down Friday

Before you know it, it’s Thursday evening again and whilst the majority of people leave the office with a skip in their step as they fantasise about Friday night cocktails and Saturday’s long awaited lie in, others, especially the fashion conscious, turn their attention to ‘dress down Friday’.

Therefore, instead of lounging in front of the television like the men in our lives, Thursday nights for women have becoming traditionally renowned for roaming one’s wardrobe in search of an outfit that a) hasn’t been worn in the past four Fridays, b) isn’t too casual that you would look like you’d unprofessionally strolled into work from the night before or c) isn’t to formal that look like you had forgotten about ‘dress down Friday’ altogether.

For some, these trial and tribulations of ‘dress down Friday’, a phenomenon that crept its way into British offices in the early 90’s, proves too much to handle. Statistics have shown that nearly a quarter of employees turn up late to work, 15% have called in sick, whilst a fifth of employees have even gone to lengths of returning home to change whilst on route to work due the pressures dressing down. Another problem with ‘dress down Friday’ is the underlying and often unknown rules that will vary from company to company. For instance, do you dress down even if you have a meeting scheduled to take place with an external client, and if you’re new to the company, do you risk dressing down for your first Friday in the office?

In my opinion, I think this Friday fear stems back to our school days. Unlike our friends over the pond in America who have grown up wearing what they like to school every day, for a British girl who grew up wearing a pleated below the knee skirt, checked tie and uniform regulated Clark shoes, the whole concept of ‘dress down Friday’ is always going to feel unnatural, unethical and will always make you me less inclined to work.

Therefore, to avoid your weekly Thursday night panic and the frantic Friday morning, here are five simple steps that will help you to start embracing your Friday work attire.

  1. Always bring a tailored blazer with you on a Friday, this will instantly add an element of sophisticated smartness to your outfit and is perfect for the spur of the moment Friday afternoon meeting with the CEO.
  2. Never wear anything too figure hugging or low cut; remember that you’re still at work and not dressing for the after work Friday drinks.
  3. Keep accessories to a minimum. This is not the time or the place to showcase your Tiffany collection. Choose a statement piece that you wouldn’t normally wear throughout the week, as this is bound to reign in the compliments.
  4. Feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, if you don’t, go back and change as you need your mind to be focused on the day’s working activities and not conscious about walking in your skyscraper high heels.
  5. When starting a new job, never assume that they follow the dress down principle on a Friday, as the saying goes, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

 By Hattie Lee

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