The concept of Casual Fridays started around the 1950s, when conservative attitudes about careers and the workplaces were changing. Over time, some Singapore jobs like call centre jobs and IT jobs have relaxed their dress codes even more by adopting a ‘smart casual’ dress code every day.Though professional attire is by default compulsory in all workplaces, what constitutes as appropriate casual attire can vary in extremes, depending on your profession, employer and location.
Here are some dos and don’ts that apply to most Casual Fridays:
- Still look your bestWearing track pants, pajamas or shorts would only serve to make you look sloppy. These clothes are typically not made to be worn to the office so a good rule of thumb is to never wear anything to work that you would wear lounging on the sofa at home. Professional attire is designed to help instill confidence and allow you to look your best, so try not to shake the confidence of others in the workplace.
- Wear jeansThe fit of jeans are important for the ones you’re going to wear to the workplace. Choose a darker wash of jeans with a fit that mimic dress pants for an excellent alternative. Very baggy or skinny jeans, jeans with holes in them or those with paint splattered on them look too messy for the workplace (unless you’re a model for designer wear) and are generally unacceptable. Bootcuts and straight-legged jeans seem to be the most professional options.
- Wear appropriate shoesSlippers, flip flops are generally not allowed to be worn in the workplace since no one wants to look at their colleagues’ exposed feet. Sneakers are also not ideal as they can make you look too casual in the office. For ladies, ballet flats, Mary Janes and loafers are good alternatives to your usual court heels, blending both style and comfort. Men can wear loafers as a casual alternative to their more restrictive selection of shoes.
- Neglect your appearanceCasual Fridays are still normal workdays; so even though your wardrobe is relaxed, your grooming shouldn’t be. The just-rolled-out-of-bed look isn’t casual – it’s messy. If you normally put on makeup but skip it on Casual Fridays, you wouldn’t look as polished and clean as the other days of the week. Do wear a look that still says, “I’m a professional.”
- Ignore your workplace cultureEach workplace has its own set of norms, so pay attention to what everyone else already wears. For example, Google, Apple and Facebook are widely known for their jeans-wearing culture. Everyone – including their top leaders – adopts the corporate style but their image is not synonymous with sloppy. A good way to take hints from is from the person doing your performance review: your boss. What does he or she wear on Casual Friday? Try to match their level of formality.
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