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Elevating Casual Friday dress code for summer

Christine Jonson Patterns

Casual Friday, that workplace dress-down day that showed up in the early 1990s has been a much-criticized (and celebrated!) day for both employees and employers. Many employers went to a more casual workplace the other four days a week, after some years experimenting with casual Friday, freeing men to skip the tie and women to ditch hosiery (especially in the summer.)  And high tech and millenial workplaces of all kinds now routinely expect casual workwear all week. There's a joke that in Silicon Valley, if you show up to a meeting and you are in a suit, you are either a venture capitalist or from the East Coast (and thus, not to be trusted.) 

Casual Friday work wear for summer is even trickier. You're probably starting your weekend straight away after work, with either a weekend getaway or plans with family and friends. Here are a few guidelines:

Pair something casual with something professional:

If you're going to wear a beloved tee shirt dress (Three Tees, short sleeve) belt the dress, and put on a blazer. 

If you're escaping to dinner and drinks right away, go long with a maxi dress, worn under a cropped blazer (try a waist-length Princess Seam Jacket in linen) or denim jacket. You can get away with a flat, jeweled sandal. Try the Wrap Dress, lengthened to maxi length, the A-line Dress or the Princess Dress, lengthened to maxi length.

If you're wearing jeans, put on a blazer. Skinny or slim boyfriend style jeans pair beautifully with the Boyfriend Jacket, and straight leg or boot cut jeans look fabulous with the Fitted Jacket or Princess Seam Jacket. 

Fabrics can make an outfit casual or dressy

A bright tropical print dress needs to be toned down with a neutral jacket. But a neutral outfit can shine with a bright blazer in a summery color. 

A tropical print tee dress works well with a dark denim blazer or a maxi dress in a cream cotton/lycra would love a coral ITY knit Princess Seam Jacket cropped at the waist. 

As you think fabric, consider the garment's versatility. A tee dress in a charcoal gray knit worn with tights and a blazer is a very professional fall to winter outfit. The same dress can be worn with flat, jeweled flip flops and a statement necklace on a summer evening and be casual, too. 

Take inspiration from others

So how do we do Casual Friday at Christine Jonson Patterns? Most of you know Christine Jonson loves her jeans - so it's no surprise to see her around the studio in jeans and a tee - admittedly a nice tee, probably one of the many patterns she's designed. 

Marketing maven, Ann, who works remotely, wears Three Tees tee shirt dress both summer and winter. In summer, she's sporting the short sleeve version under a draped 'circle' vest or a denim jacket, with t-strap flat sandals.