David’s latest guest post for the Goodwill Fashionista:
Casual Fridays. The phrase is enough to send shivers up my spine! On Fridays I see every outfit pass my store from Levis to tee shirts with beer mugs and shamrocks. In the summer, it gets even worse as some men even opt to wear (gasp!) shorts to the office.
Gentlemen, please! If you don’t think you are judged by your appearance on Fridays, I urge you to reconsider.
If you show up on Friday mornings wearing cargo pants and a Nike sweatshirt, your outfit is more suited for the gym or the grocery store than it is for the office. When your boss sees you dressing the part of a summer intern, he or she considers you to be just that.
I would bet money that many of you reading this are thinking, “I never look like a slob at work! I wear khakis and button-down blue shirts on Casual Fridays!” This outfit is what I call The Oatmeal Lookbecause of the bland, “don’t look at me” statement that it makes about its wearer. It’s what we also call “the dreaded IT uniform”. Looking like everyone else at the office will never give you a lift on the ladder of success.
So what is a Friday- loving professional man to do? Let me introduce you to Executive Business Casual. This is put-together look with well-tailored and excellent fitting clothes in quality fabrics that flatter, but don’t overwhelm. You’ll command respect; your peers will view you as a force with which to be reckoned. Management will see you as “in charge”, as someone who they could envision in a leadership role.
To use Executive Business Casual as a stylish, career-expanding alternative to dressing down at work, start with a blazer or sport coat, nice shirt without a tie (spread collar or button under shirt), nice trousers and lace-up shoes or high polished slip-ons. Go for some color and personality in the button down shirt, then add polish with the sport coat or blazer.
Business casual forces you to coordinate tailored ensembles made from different fabrics, the easiest way to pull together unmatched separates is through color. A good rule of thumb when harmonizing three different separates is to keep two pieces in the same color family.
Where are the jeans you ask? They are in the category of Creative Business Casual. If you truly feel jeans are appropriate then make sure they are dark denim, never faded. And keep the sport coat to compliment the jeans and still set yourself apart. Or use layering and start with a high quality solid t-shirt and accessorize with a pocket square and leather belt.
I know it isn’t always easy to step out of the anonymity of what everyone else is wearing, but take the time and effort to make every day, including Fridays, a day to show your confidence and capabilities. A sharp casual outfit will get you compliments and make a memorable impression.
See you at the top of the corporate ladder!