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Dress Down Friday

These three words can strike fear into the heart of many competent businessmen and women!
It’s the one day of the week on which you don’t have your formal business attire to rely on. But dressing casually for work doesn’t mean you should appear to be any less professional.
While wearing a suit every day can give you confidence, authority and credibility, Dress Down Friday can lead to a lot of work wear ‘mistakes‘, revealing cracks in your authority, credibility and your ability to command respect.
Learn how not to cast your professionalism aside when you are dressing casually for work.

What are Business Dress Codes?

The three main dress codes for the office environment are Business Formal, Business Relaxed and Business Casual.
Standards will vary depending on the type of job or industry you are in. A legal firm may insist on Business Formal at all times, whereas a software design company will have a relatively casual dress code.
Dress Down Friday falls into the Business Casual category.
Your Business Casual wardrobe should reflect your level of professionalism, your career plans and your respect for your employer and place of work.
Dressing down on Friday is optional. Looking neat and professional is not.

Why is Dressing Well at Work Important?

A company’s employees are a reflection of its corporate image or brand, and the way its staff dress is a powerful means of presenting that brand.
Work places with untidy, scruffy staff give potential clients the impression that the company operates in the same way.
Even on Dress Down Friday you need to command the respect and trust of your colleagues and clients. Dressing inconsistently with your usual business style may make people think they have misjudged you.
Always dress appropriately for your situation. If you have a meeting you may still need to wear a suit; the way you dress and present yourself is one of the first things people notice about you.

Ask yourself:

What image does my company want to portray?
Is my professional image in keeping with the image and brand of my company?
Would a colleague or client spend more time focussing on what I’m wearing or what I look like than on what I’m saying?  

 What is Not Appropriate Office Dress?

Let your personal style sparkle, not scream!
Your work wardrobe should express your style and personality and should complement your colouring, shape and scale.
Inappropriate clothing for Dress Down Friday includes

Dated, scruffy, torn or stained clothing.
Slouchy pale blue denim jeans.
Sweat pants or gym kit.
Clothes you would wear to a football game, a party, or on holiday.
Revealing tops and clothing that is too tight.
T-shirts or tank tops with a logo or slogan.
Flamboyant jewellery or accessories.
Avoid showing too much flesh or chest hair, and keep body piercings, tattoos and underwear under wraps.
What is Appropriate Business Casual or Dress Down Friday Wear?

Even on Dress Down Friday the old adage - dress for the position you want rather than the one you’ve got - holds true.
Follow the lead of the managers or other professionals in your firm. Do they always wear suits rather than business casual clothing?
But you don’t have to wear designer brands just because your boss does. Rather buy good quality separates and mix them with moderately priced tops, shirts and accessories and invest in a quality handbag or briefcase. These are the details people notice.

Acceptable Business Casual dress for men includes:

A shirt with a collar.
A short or long-sleeved top - a good quality fine knit or jersey is acceptable when not meeting clients.
Co-ordinating separates - not your business suit with an open-necked shirt or casual shoes.
A good quality single breasted sports jacket in your neutral colour palette - perhaps keep a jacket or blazer in your office in case you are called into an unexpected meeting.
Chinos or trousers in corduroy or moleskin.
Shoes that complement the whole outfit.
Choose good quality plain, striped or checked shirts from shades in your colour swatch.
Shirts darker than your usual business shirts, with a button-down collar, work well for Business Casual.
You might not wear your jacket much on Dress Down Friday, so ensure your shirt is well pressed and keep it tucked in.  

 Acceptable Business Casual dress for women includes:

A softly tailored suit with a plain t-shirt style top.
A dress with a fine knit cardigan or softly tailored jacket.
Tops with subtle patterns or textures in shades from your colour swatch add impact.
Sleeveless or strappy tops are acceptable under a jacket or cardigan.
Court shoes, loafers or boots. Avoid footwear that is very on-trend or high-heeled.
Always wear understated make-up.
Skirts should always be of an appropriate length.
Always ensure your underwear is not visible.
Approach your company dress codes with common sense, but be aware that

You should always be polished and neat.
Hair should be clean and neat.
Men should be clean shaven or beards neatly trimmed.
Jewellery and accessories should be subtle.
Shoes should be polished and in good condition.
Cologne or perfume should be used minimally.  

Business Casual dress codes need to be clearly defined in every company. Having simple guidelines in place helps to ensure employees are appropriately dressed at work.
If your company does provide guidelines for Dress Down Friday don’t assume they‘re definitive - some rules may be unwritten, so follow the leaders.
But pay attention to the guidelines if you value your career success.
If you or your work place could benefit from some dedicated instruction about professional image, contact Personal Best today.

Personal Best can provide bespoke workshops, demonstrations and talks on image-based topics for a wide range of professional audiences.
Call me now on 0208 878 2235 to discuss your professional image needs.

Personal style is not a luxury. It’s an investment in your success.

As always
Style Never Goes Out of Fashion

To read more about the services I offer, see my website:
Call me on 0208 878 2235 / 07799 270560
Or email: [Link Removed]

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