What to Wear on Casual Fridays | Paul Fredrick – Paul Fredrick
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When it comes to figuring out what to wear to work, picking out your day-to-day outfit can seem like a breeze. That is, until "Casual Friday" comes along.

What is "Casual Friday" anyways? The (unfortunate) answer is – it's an illusion. Typically, it's the one day in each week where you can let loose a bit and forgo the suit. But Casual Fridays are tricky because – without the proper style guidelines for your place of business – you can easily fall into the trap of dressing too casually and looking unprofessional.

Your company may flaunt this day as an opportunity to dress down and let your true style shine, but don't fall victim to the honey trap. No matter how casual they insist Fridays are, always keep your wardrobe at least semi-professional and well put together. That's right: There will be no Hawaiian t-shirts around here.

If you're feeling totally lost about what your company defines as their Casual Friday dress code, never fear. Here is our outfit formula to help you nail your look year-round.

Casual Friday Outfit Formula

There are a few pieces that go into the perfect not-so-casual Friday look:

  • The jacket
  • The shirt
  • The trousers
  • The accessories

Each play an important part in creating a clean and put-together ensemble from head to toe.

The Jacket

First up on our list is nailing the jacket. When it comes to your Casual Friday outfit, you should always opt for a sport coat, blazer or casual jacket. This piece can easily be taken off if you feel too overdressed – better to come over-prepared!

By default, you should always opt for a blazer out of those three options. For Casual Friday attire, you can go for an outfit that is a little more on the trendy side if you're daring, but always make sure that your blazer is well fitted and appropriate for your workplace.

If you'd rather go more casual, your second choice should absolutely be a sport coat. This piece keeps it a little more dressed up than a casual jacket and is often made of a more comfortable fabric.

Your other alternative is the casual jacket. If you work for a company where a super casual look is the norm (lucky you!), this is the route to take. Throwing on a casual jacket such as a leather bomber or a corduroy utility jacket can really up the ante on any look.

The Shirt

Next up on our list is the shirt. Here's where the bad news starts. When it comes to Casual Fridays, we say always opt for a button-up dress shirt if you want to keep it professional. This is a fail-safe way to avoid slipping into the "too casual" department.

If a dress shirt is a little much for your workplace, you can always opt for a casual button-down shirt. Pick something with a fun pattern or interesting fabric texture if you want to take it up a notch. Just be sure to keep your shirts pressed and well-tailored so you still look sharp.

In the cooler months, you can always add a sweater to your Casual Friday look. Look for one with a luxe cashmere blend that is well-fitted. We highly recommend rocking a sweater over your dress shirt, so you still look suited up, yet comfy-cozy. In more casual settings, you can go without.

The Trousers

When it comes to Casual Fridays, the pants can really make or break your outfit. When in doubt, choose dress pants over casual slacks – like we said before, it's better to be overdressed than underdressed! As always, look for a pair that is well fitted and tailored to your body type for the perfect put-together look.

If you are dying to wear a pair of casual pants for your Casual Friday, remember one thing – avoid jeans and sweats. Unless you're working for a 5-person start-up with your friends (or are an eccentric CEO of a multi-billion-dollar company, wear casual pants that still look polished, such as chinos.

The Accessories

Last, but certainly not least, are the accessories. When it comes to Casual Friday, men's accessories can help to add a little something to your look – whether trendy, unexpected or a window into your personality.

Shoes: Always default to a nice pair of leather dress shoes. If you want to shake it up, a pair of patterned or textured dress shoes are a great choice, too. Alternatively, a Chelsea boot or another low-rise boot may feel more casual while still having a clean, professional look. And depending on where you work, rocking a pair of sneakers may also be an option – just make sure if they are high quality and clean of any scuffs or marks.

Watches: For watches, always opt for one that is clean and elegant in design with timeless elements. Some of the characteristics to look for are simple detailing, leather or thinner-mesh straps, scratch-resistant faces, and sophisticated hour markers. Don't go for something cheap or flashy – this is the quickest way to ruin your look!

Neckwear: Time for some good news – ties are totally optional on Casual Friday. If you want to rock one anyway, you can always go with a fun patterned tie or bowtie that is still tasteful.

Other Things to Consider

When deciding what to wear on Casual Friday, there are a few other things that you need to take into consideration on top of the typical outfit formula: your workplace and your comfort.

Your Workplace

Figuring out what to wear is all about what's acceptable in your place of work. If you're not sure, you can always reach out to a coworker or your boss for advice. Still at a loss? For this week's Casual Friday, observe how your coworkers are dressed for the occasion. Take note of the styles and use them as inspiration next time around.

Your Comfort

One thing we often forget to consider when shopping is personal comfort. Just because the calendar says "Casual Friday" doesn't mean you have to opt in. If you're more at ease in a suit and tie, stick with that! If you're playing the part, select clothing that you'll feel comfortable working in, so you can feel focused and confident during those eight hours.

Final Thoughts

Casual Friday dress code does not equal a super casual look. Always be sure to keep your outfit as neat and professional as you would any other day of the week.