Years ago, some inspired soul came up with the idea of Casual Fridays in the workplace. Why are they The Bane of My Existence? Because people – too many people – confuse “casual” with “appropriate for yard work.” Seriously.
If you’ve read any of my earlier posts, you know I believe clothing is a powerful aspect of the first impression we make on others. This is truer nowhere more than at work. If you show up looking as if you don’t care about your appearance, the message you send is “I don’t care.” Period.
So, how should you dress on Fridays? First, those oversized Tshirts? <shudder!> They only add volume, making you appear larger. You can find more form-fitting options that are casual and flattering. Like this, this or this. You want a fit that skims your figure but does not cling to you. Plain form-fitting Tshirts are fine, but choosing something with a print, an applique or other detail makes for a more visually appealing outfit. Also, if you want or need to, a form-fitting top is easy to layer under a jacket or cardigan.
Jeans. I know. I hate shopping for them, too. It takes time, patience and a lot of trial and error to find jeans that flatter your shape, but it is SO worth the effort. I always thought it was more difficult to find them for a curvy figure until I met someone who has no curve whatsoever and she has difficulty, too. So, we all have our challenges. But throwing in the towel and setting for jeans that do nothing for you or, worse, detract from your appearance, just isn’t necessary.
I have had good luck with Lucky Brand so I get all my jeans from them in different styles – “skinny” (as in, “not really”), boot cut, flares, lower rise. Different styles for different looks and heel heights. My advice is to skip the acid wash because this isn’t the 80’s. No pleats because, again, increased volume around your mid-section is to be avoided at all costs. No tapered legs because they make your rear and hips appear larger by comparison. No whiskering because only 15 year olds get away with that. [I’m assuming you’re not 15.]
Finally, unless you plan to get in some mileage between meetings, leave your running shoes at home. Running shoes make your feet look bigger, which no woman wants, and there are so many other options available, like any of these cute, casual, comfortable shoes .
It doesn’t take a big investment or even much creativity to look casual and professional at work. My rule of thumb: if you look at yourself in the mirror and think to yourself “I can totally mow the lawn in this after work”, change. Please.