Casual Friday’s

In my business it is very hard to coordinate schedules for interviews. So invariably you get a client and candidate that can only meet on a Friday.

Sometimes I get a call from a candidate the night before (or a couple of days before) with the following problem:

Its casual Friday where he works. The interview is scheduled for Friday. He doesn’t want to wear a suit to the office and let people know something is up. But at the same time he wants to look his best for the interview.

Ok no big problem.

First let me say that I don’t like casual Fridays. I think men who are too lazy to learn how to dress well thought them up. But that’s another story.

I once worked at a large consulting firm where on casual Friday I would still wear a suit but I would wear a yellow tie instead of my usual maroon or blue rep tie. When someone would point out that it was casual Friday’s I would respond: “I’m wearing a YELLOW tie!!!.

First of all let’s set something straight about casual Fridays. Casual Fridays aren’t a license for you to show up in shapeless baggy rumpled clothes. You should still strive for a crisp sharp look. That way you can look dressy enough that a few adjustments for an interview shouldn’t make a difference.

Start with pants. A pair of tan slacks or khakis’ is fine. In the summer an off-white pair will do fine. Make sure your socks aren’t black! And make sure your belt and shoes match. With tan pants you can wear brown shoes and brown belt safely.

Now for the shirt. Everyone should have a blue shirt in their wardrobe. You know the kind – light blue. So your office ensemble is – tan pants; tan socks, brown shoes, brown belt and light blue shirt.

This is what you will wear in the office.

For the interview you need to add two things: A blazer and a tie.

If you are a man and are working you should have a navy blazer. A navy blazer is one of the most versatile jackets you can own. You can combine it with a lot of shirts and pants and still look fresh. It is a classic wardrobe piece that no man should be without.

Put your blazer in your car. Don’t wear it into the office.

Same for the tie. A nice club stripe tie is perfect for this ensemble. If you aren’t sure you’ll have enough time tie a not in it that morning and then remove the tie (with the knot intact) and slip it back on when you head out to your interview.

The perfect crime!!

What’s that you say? You don’t have a car because you live in the city and take the subway?

Simple. Bring your jacket and tie in to work with some shirts on hangers so it looks like you are dropping them off at the cleaners (you do bring your shirts to the cleaners right?). This isn’t an uncommon sight at an office. Again – no one will notice.

Update: A good blue shirt striped tie combination here.

Classic navy blazer here Note the tan pants; combined with the shirt and tie above this would be perfect.

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