Casual Friday is an illusion. Sure, the IT guy showed up in shorts—and, are those…Crocs? But don’t be fooled: You’re still very much at work. Casual Friday’s draw is comfort. Unfortunately, too many people cross the line into sloppy.
Lucky for you, one of the biggest style trends right now is a renewed focus on comfort, and major brands are rebuilding everything from sweatpants to sport coats. “We’re seeing a move toward fabrics reengineered with knit sensibility rather than woven, which makes them softer and more comfortable,” says Michael Anderson, VP of men’s design at Banana Republic. “In a semi-constructed sport coat, that’s dressy and contemporary.” Think: a knitted jacket that feels like a cardigan.
Use the tips below to complete your go-to casual Friday look.
Opt for one that’s cut slightly shorter than a suit jacket—it’s a more relaxed, casual look—and made from a comfortable fabric like cotton knit. Because they’re similar in texture, casual blazers pair well with jeans. Perfect example: Banana Republic’s quilted blazer (shown above).
Keep it classy with a crewneck sweater (V-necks are too casual for the board- room) made of high- quality fabric, like this silk, cotton, and cashmere blend, also from Banana Republic.
Eschew a more formal leather briefcase for a canvas messenger bag, like this one by Ernest Alexander— you can wear it with denim, chinos, or even a suit. But remember, there’s a fine line between rugged and cheesy: No faded Route 66 logos, please.
Denim doesn’t have to be blue, as you can see by this pair from Buffalo David Bitton. Just keep them on the slim side—that’s slim, not skinny. Minor wear (not tears) can add some edge, but avoid anything with “acid” or “sand” in the name.
A comfy insole and leather upper—think butter-soft chukkas or high-top wing tips— are perfect for walking to the office in comfort and style. We like these boots from Mark Nason Skechers.
Essential Casual Friday Ground Rules
With its relaxed style, reliable durability, and affordable prices, Banana Republic may as well be the official outfitter of casual Fridays every- where. Here are the three essential casual Friday ground rules, courtesy of Banana’s VP of men’s design, Michael Anderson.
- Keep it sporty – Always have a good sport coat handy to instantly formalize your look—you never know when an important meeting will materialize.
- Don’t be an outlier – If your office has casual Friday, join in. Aside from the obvious comfort of dressing down, it shows you’re a team player.
- Clean up – It’s important to offset a casual wardrobe with a good shave and attention to grooming. Casual means casual—not careless.