Dress Down Friday, fun or fraught with faux pas?
On the one hand, waking up on a Friday morning and realising that it’s the end of the official working week is such a great feeling, and to wear ‘fun’ clothes to reflect that end of week feeling is enjoyable. On the other hand dress down Friday can be fraught with subtle unspoken rules. Additionally, if there are disparities within your work group: of job status; of age; of sex; of salary this can make your choice of outfit, meant to be casual, and comfortable and enjoyable, laden with critical evaluations to which your outfits from Monday to Thursday are not subject. This alone could be an argument for keeping your outfits consistent and constant Monday through Friday, maybe with minor variations which might be the way forward for all of us.
On the other hand, dressing down can be a great leveller. If you’re the “boss” all week and then down with the kids (as they say) on Friday then you could encourage a more informal, relaxed atmosphere by what you wear.
So, here are two ways of approaching Dress Down Friday:
- The partial dress down Friday
As mentioned above this approach is closely related to what you wear during the week. So essentially it’s your week day look with minor variations: more adventurous jewelry, less or more make up, a cardigan not a jacket, or a funky jacket rather than a straight jacket.
2. Full on dress down Friday
This is probably what you’ll wear at the weekend but a bit smarter. It’s not gardening gear. Clothes and shoes that you don’t normally wear to work are quite good to wear because you will feel different/ And dress down Friday (DDF) is not just about how you appear to other people, but it’s also about how you feel within yourself. So it should be fun, or something that feels good to wear.
Changes in Working Patterns
For better or worse we are all juggling so much more than we did ten or twenty years ago. By the time Friday arrives many women are on their knees just needing to get through one last day intact. Recent years have seen a rise in working from home, particularly on a Friday. If you are working from home on a Friday you may feel that a reverse DDF approach is best, and that actually by dressing up a little, or at least not spending the morning in your dressing gown, you will get more work done.
In writing this I reflect on the value of DDF in our workplace today, because our workplace has become less static and because for many of us the type of work that we do does not necessitate ultra-formal wear from which to dress down. For working women there is a value, psychological if nothing else, in that the weekend is heralded in by a little bit of fun in the dressing up department, even if that fun only runs to a more funky necklace than normal and boots not shoes.
Enjoy the freedom DDF brings
Staying within safe boundaries is key to a successful DDF, outfits should not be too over the top or distracting, they should be worn because they make you smile, make you feel relaxed, put others at ease, but not confuse work boundaries. Plan your next DDF with enjoyment and enjoy the freedom you have.