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How to do (casual) Fridays with style

August 19, 2009

L-A: Today is a  treat for you. You get a post with just me and then you get to come back later to see what Ally has to say.

We’re going to be a bit more practical today and dole out some advice. I had a request that we talk about the Casual Friday at the office.  Since I work from home, everyday is casual day (I am still in PJ pants that have lobsters on them), but I have worked in offices in the past so I can understand why this is an issue. Let’s start with some “Questionable Things”and then look at some “Fashionable Things” for your casual Friday. I know it’s not Friday, but this will help you plan for the upcoming Friday.

That damn golf shirt.


“Hey! what’s wrong with a golf shirt? It’s clean cut and classic, right?” What’s wrong, you ask? Well, if the shirt fits as well as anonymous dude in red’s shirt fits (which is to say, it does not fit. it is at least a size too big) and if it has a company logo, then EVERYTHING is wrong. It is so wrong that I would like to ban the giving away of company logo’d golf shirts.  Now, I’m not saying you can never wear a polo shirt to work for Casual Friday, I just want to make sure that it fits (I like polos by Ben Sherman, Penguin or Lacoste, but that’s just me. Who makes it is less important than how it looks) and has no more than a subtle logo from the company who made it, as opposed to the company who gave it away at a tournament. A lot of my complaint here is in the fit. Your clothes are supposed to fit you, not drape over you like a sack. And keep the collar down. You’re not a frat boy anymore, so don’t pop your collar.


The ever so scary Mom Jeans:


That there is actress Jennifer Love Hewitt. She makes her living by making sure she looks cute (I hate her, but that’s not the point. Someone out there thinks she’s cute). But with those ill-fitting, high-waisted in the wrong way jeans? She is not cute. And if she isn’t cute in mom jeans, then you can bet that you aren’t cute. I’m not saying you need to drop a couple of hundred on the bestest designer denim around, but please, don’t just pick up a pair from a pile at Costco. Take an honest friend with you and try on a lot of pairs of jeans. No matter how demoralizing it feels at the time, it will pay off in the end.

Completely Inappropriate and There is No Excuse:

Cut off shorts. Or, what the hell, jean shorts in general.


Before Ally & I get into a fight, I’m not knocking Nicole Richie. I’m just saying that unless your full time job is Being Famous, then this is not appropriate work attire.

Sweats. Of any kind. Particularly shorts.

340x_picture_1 sweet-pea1

I don’t care if it’s designer or not. Unless you work as a lifeguard or at a gym, then these are never okay. Even normally cute celebs like Elizabeth Reaser looks bad in them:


(she wore them out shopping in Vancouver. Lainey says they are mom pants).

So that’s what not to wear to work on Casual Friday. So now what?

Clothes that are a “do” for Casual Fridays for dudes (mostly courtesy of Details magazine, with a bit of H&M thrown in)


Okay, I know neither of these will help you this week in the summer weather, but these are just a few ways to wear your jeans (your well fitted, nice, clean jeans) to work. Or, you could wear a plaid  (clean and ironed, not lumberjackesque) shirt:

The second look there is from H&M. Both are great ways to wear the plaid to work. Dude number one has on khakis/chinos. Like any pair of pants, keep em fitted and preferably, go flat front with a straight leg. Nothing baggy folks and the tapered leg isn’t much better on men.


Also from H&M, a great sweater with jeans.

You know what else you can get away with? A really great screen printed t-shirt! Wear it with nice trousers or with jeans, maybe a dark wash, straight leg (again: no baggy!), and then either your very nicest sneaker-like shoes (but not actual sneakers. Also, this depends on your office), or boat shoes with no socks, or some nice lace up shoes. If you need to dress that look up just a bit more (because it all depends on your office and the kind of work you do), throw on a blazer.

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Please ignore the crazy layering on the H&M model in the second photo. I’m not approving of wearing a button up shirt and a polo and a blazer. Just take that blazer as an example and imagine throwing it on the model from the first photo.

Okay, so it’s late in the morning and I’ve just spent a lot of time on the questionable things and what men should wear. I’m going to leave it up to Ally to help the ladies out. As always, we love it when you tell us what you think are appropriate/inappropriate Casual Friday work wear.

AllyG: Dudes, I am so tired I can’t even speak. Thank heavens I am at a typewriter. I literally had maybe 1.5 hrs of sleep last night. And yes, I know, I know, I “will see!” how this is actually an incredibly generous amount of sleep once I have a baby, and I need to “Just wait!” to see what tired REALLY MEANS once I am dealing with a newborn. I want to mark this down here so that all of you can bear witness:

If anyone, at anytime, catches me giving ridiculous, non-useful, patronizing, demeaning advice to moms-to-be at any point EVER please shove my face in a toilet and flush. Twice. IT IS NOT HELPFUL PEOPLE. And seriously? For the record? I didn’t go into this blindly. I GET THAT MY LIFE IS GOING TO CHANGE. I don’t think it’s bathing baby in a tub of martinis and dressing them up in garter belt headbands while they poop rainbows and barf skittles. While I do not know everything (in fact, I will fully admit that I will be learning LOTS over the next few months), I do know your advice telling is condescending and craptacular. Sigh. Now I’m going to have to go and play my Angry Song.

Cute aside, L-A made me a mix CD years ago when I broke up with someone (actually, I got dumped) and she was kind enough to ignore her better judgement and place this ditty on the CD. That’s friendship.

Sorry, what are we talking about? Casual Fridays? Awesome. I love casual! I’ll start with the section I like to call:

What You Should Never Wear Because it Will Look Ugly on You


Hoodies. You should never, ever wear a hoodie to the office. Ever. I was reading an article about Stupid Avril’s fashion line (WTF SHE HAS A FASHION LINE? Did she draw up her designs using a napkin and the booze from her straw while downing KrispyKrunch shooters at the local Chilis? SHE HAS NO TALENT I HATE AVRIL.) where she talked about her love for her stupid hoodies.

“I pretty much wear hoodies every day,” she said. In fact, her day’s ensemble of choice was her own Abbey Dawn “I Always Get What I Want” hoody and black leggings. “I don’t want to jinx it!” she exclaimed when asked whether she does actually always get what she wants.

SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP. Honestly? I would go out and plunk down good money to purchase Miley Cryus’ wares over this douchebag’s “designs”. Seriously? For real? This girl?


I’ve seriously seen women (Some even over 30!) try to look young and hip and coming across like a cougar at Cheers during Happy Hour Friday. You know, the “message tees!” and the “frayed mini” that makes you feel young and fresh? Instead you look like you were pushed off the Rock of Love Bus in exchange for a bottle of tequila. We’ve all been there, and hopefully we’ve all learned from it.


Let’s spend a moment on “doing it right”. We’re beautiful, we’re smart, we’re bringing home the bacon, let’s act like it even though it’s a Friday, and we’re all “casual like”.

Old Navy

Above items are all from Old Navy. Faux pearl set, cute khaki pea coat, distressed skinny jeans (to get back at L-A for her unflattering picture of Nicole). We could go a bit more dressy with the sheer fuchsia top or more casual with one of the cute pocket tees. If we do the pocket tees, let’s amp up the accessories with a flashy beaded necklace or earrings.



All items above are from Forever21. You can order these online. Happy days. This look will take you into the fall, with the addition of the cute cardigan. You’ll note that we have included a graphic tee, although it is not a MESSAGE TEE. Big difference. Flowered bracelet to go with the flowered bobby pins (which are all over the F09 runways…seriously, hair accessories are in Vogue people).

So, a few wee suggestions. Mind you, you are taking this advice from someone who has barely brushed their hair and has toothpaste on their shorts. I’ve seen better days, my friends.


12 Comments leave one →
  1. allygarbs permalink*
    August 19, 2009 11:58 am

    I love that I wrote “Typewriter” instead of “Keyboard”. Naptime!

  2. thenewcomer permalink
    August 19, 2009 12:07 pm

    Hi- love this post as it expresses a lot of my thoughts on Friday dress-down days and offcie wear in general also. However, I find it a bit discriminatory that you censure women wearing shorts (with which I completely agree, BTW), but the guys don’t get mentioned… Honestly I can’t STAND men in shorts in the office- it makes me want to scream and I really can’t take a short-wearing a guy-colleague seriously. As for the male models you show wearing office-appropriate clothes- come on, we’re not in Fantasia!

    Another thing which gets my goat is wearing trainers in the office. EVEN on Fridays this should be a no-no. I get it that some people do work-outs before/during/after the work day, but come on, can’t you just change shoes?

    • L-A permalink*
      August 19, 2009 12:20 pm

      Oh shit, you’re completely right about the guys wearing shorts to the office. I didn’t even think about that one, but then, I haven’t been in an office for awhile. Even when I was working in an office, I was lucky enough not to deal with shorts on co-workers. Honestly, I was blown away when the casual Friday request even mentioned cut-off/sweat shorts. Anyway, It wasn’t meant to discriminate, it just didn’t cross my mind.

      I do agree with you on the sneakers. I don’t mind ones that are leather and athletic-esque, but those are shoes that are not actually meant for being athletic. They’re meant to be pretty and nothing more. If you work out in them, they should only be for working out. (I even hate athletic footwear for walking to work, even if you do plan on changing shoes).

      The male models are a bit of wishful thinking, but it’s the outfits that are the suggestions. I know some guys who wear things like that to work and do it well. So it can be done, even when the guy wearing it isn’t a model (not that the guys I know aren’t pretty, but they aren’t out booking gigs as professional models).

  3. thenewcomer permalink
    August 19, 2009 12:09 pm

    Oh- another thing- the clothes you show as suitable for Friday dress down- I would wear those on regular days! (well, if it is a more casual office). Except the jeans. Right now, in fact, I’m wearing a denim skirt and a pink t-shirt a bit like the blue one… (and no, I’m not getting a lot of work done…)

  4. August 19, 2009 12:59 pm

    Love the male looks you selected. I would rock all of them.

  5. M-Ku permalink
    August 19, 2009 1:55 pm

    ‘I don’t think it’s bathing baby in a tub of martinis and dressing them up in garter belt headbands while they poop rainbows and barf skittles.’

    Best line ever. It’s poetic.

  6. Rhia permalink
    August 19, 2009 4:35 pm

    You’ll actually sleep much better, if not more, after the baby comes, so take heart! I recommend working in teams for the first few weeks, one parent awake at a time (Mum has feeding duties during her sleep times if she’s nursing, but better than nothing if you aim for six-hour shifts!)

    Soon the baby starts to be more put-downable!

    Also! Fashion!

  7. JWG permalink
    August 19, 2009 10:32 pm

    My favourite, best-looking, definitely-not-dad-jeans were purchased out of a pile in Costco for $20. About five years ago.

    • L-A permalink*
      August 19, 2009 11:43 pm

      It is possible. I have non-mom-jeans from Costco. I’m just not recommending that as your first stop when shopping for jeans. (although, I was fully prepared to bring mine back after I got them home and gave them a proper trying on).

  8. Christopher permalink
    August 19, 2009 10:50 pm

    Hi Ally,
    Your blog would clear up a rainy day better than a rum and coke, oh well almost as well. Something I have to say, those boys with H & M wear, especially the guy with the Argyle sweater and others should tuck there shirts in, after all they are at the office.
    Hugs Christopher

    • allygarbs permalink*
      August 21, 2009 9:12 am

      You’re hilarious! So glad you like the blog. Point taken about the tucked in shirts. I’ve always been partial to the “partly tucked”.

  9. Chris permalink
    August 19, 2009 11:15 pm

    Oh yes! Grat post, that I will suggest to some colleagues of mine!!! one of them often comes to offic with something similar to a too big sized golf shirt…OMG.. for those who like me work in a bank, i would suggest a short sleeve dress shirt too. For the perfect fit, it would be better a tailor made dress shirt. On ShirtsMyWay I found good choice and good quality too. Happy Friday!

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