It’s finally here. Summer is just around the corner which means, for many of us, Summer Fridays are coming into play. For adults, Summer Fridays are pretty much the equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (minus all that gratuitous killing of innocent children). For some offices they let you take off every or every other Friday, some let out at noon, some permit a more casual dress code, etc. We will talk about how to prepare for Summer Fridays, but before you go out and buy your summer clothes, I think we need to talk about what you can and cannot wear to the office on casual Friday.
The thing is, sometimes people interpret “casual” as “my audition outfit for The Jersey Shore.” And please don’t think I am talking down to you. One summer, on a particularly hot day, I was scrambling for something to wear because I was in the middle of moving and tired, so I put on this cute little flimsy sundress—though I feel like the term “dress” is a little bit generous. It was essentially a beach cover-up. Surprisingly, though, my boss wasn’t upset about that. He was more concerned with my choice of footwear: a gold thong sandal. This shows dress code can change in every office. If you work in fashion, it may be absolutely fine for you to wear a bralet and jean shorts. If you’re a lawyer, that probably is not going to fly.
If you aren’t sure, we say stick to this list:
1. Sunglasses inside
You aren’t a celebrity (and they look silly too), so save the aviators and the wayfarers for your lunch outside. Even if you put them on your head it just connotes casualness. Plus, if you’re like me, you will spend five minutes looking for them when you actually need them because you forgot they were on your head.
Now, like most Americans I am completely devoted to my flip-flops and wear them for fine dining in the summer. But if you think about flip-flops, they are truly the most casual of shoes. They were too casual to even get the name “sandal.”
And I get that flip-flops have become like a part of society. See, years ago they were really only thought of as beach shoes, but then, somewhere in the ’90s when a lot of weird stuff started happening, flip-flops evolved from strictly a beach shoe and shower shoe to a college campus shoe. I would have to say the biggest moment for flip-flops was when the Northwestern Women’s Lacrosse team all wore flip-flops to the White House. They were photographed with President Bush wearing cute skirts and tops and flippers (yup, because flip-flops was too hard to say). So many people thought that if you were dressed up on top you could get away with wearing flip-flops.
Well, not so much.“Flip-flops are for the pool, the beach and barbeques. I’m all for comfort, but there are plenty of comfortable, stylish shoe alternative that will help you look polished and professional. Your co-workers will thank you,” says Diana Baros, founder and editor of The Budget Babe. Plus, flip-flops can be noisy and a little smelly. And as someone who insisted on putting on flip-flops the moment I left the office and then proceeded to walk around New York City for hours, I can’t say the stress fracture and toe infection I had were worth it.
3. Short shorts
We are going to delve into what I like to call “The Great Shorts Debate” soon, but with shorts you really need to read the environment of your office. If it is a hip, young startup, go for it. But I will even say make sure they are nice-looking shorts and not your jean cut-offs. If you are worried, maybe wear a longer Bermuda short and see how that goes.