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How to: Do casual Friday, no matter your office

How to: Do casual Friday, no matter your office

If you’ve always interpreted "casual Friday" as "wear-anything Friday," it might be time to up your game. You’re still at work, and, like it or not, what you wear will still have an impact on how you're perceived. "Plus, paying attention to what you wear on casual Friday means you can head out after work—whether to dinner or to the pub—without worrying about what you've got on," says Thread stylist Freddie Kemp. 

In general, you might want to try a pair of chinos rather than your usual jeans. "Chinos are as comfortable as jeans, but they look a bit smarter," says Freddie. "They'll let you get away with an outfit that's more casual overall."

Below, Freddie talks us through some winning casual-Friday outfits—arranged from smartest to most casual.

If you usually wear a suit

Photographed: Oliver Spencer grey blazer (£349), Gitman White Oxford shirt (£149), Norse Projects navy twill chinos (£100)

Go for: Textured blazer, white shirt, navy chinos, black brogues

Why this works: "If you can only just get away with not wearing a suit, this sort of outfit is a good compromise. By sticking to a white shirt and smarter details like the tailored chinos, you're just one notch below the level of formality of your normal work clothes."

Look for: "Derbies are considered more casual than Oxford shoes, so these make a good choice when you need to wear leather footwear but don't want to look super-smart. The pair shown here has a slightly chunky sole, which gives them a bit of an edge."

Avoid: "When going a bit more casual, you'll want to pay extra attention to fit. Go for slim or straight-fit trousers, blazers and shirts and you'll still look neat."

If you have a day of meetings in the calendar

Photographed: Oliver Spencer grey blazer (£349), Oliver Spencer blue chambray shirt (£99), Norse Projects navy twill chinos (£100) 

Go for: Textured blazer, chambray shirt, navy chinos, brogue boots

Why this works: "All the essential formal elements are there—jacket, shirt, smart trousers, leather shoes—which means you won't look out of place in a meeting in a formal office. But the relaxed fabrics such as tweed (jacket), twill (chinos) and chambray (shirt)—plus the untucked shirt—make it clear you've gone more casual than usual. This outfit toes the smart-casual line so well, you could wear it to a meeting with anyone, from investment firms to creative agencies."

Look for: "Pick a blazer that doesn't have shoulder pads, or only very light ones: it will always look more relaxed than your structured weekday suit. And go for a shirt with a curved hem, which will look good untucked. If the chambray shirt makes this feel a bit too casual to you, try a white Oxford instead."

Avoid: "Formal shirts often have very long hems, which won't look good worn like this as the proportions won't be right. For the jacket, keep away from the shinier fabrics you might see in suits; you're better off with matte cotton or wool."

If your office is casual, but you might be pulled into a client meeting

Photographed: Gitman white Oxford shirt (£145), RRL slim selvedge jean (£215), Whistles brown Derby shoe (£165)

Go for: White Oxford shirt, indigo jeans, mustard socks, brown lace-up leather shoes

Why this works: "Small details go a long way in creative environments, and that's the idea behind the contrast socks in this outfit. Otherwise we've kept everything simple, which is almost always your best bet on casual days. The beauty of this outfit is that the shoes and shirt are smart, so you could easily throw on a textured blazer and be ready for a client meeting."

Look for: "As few details as possible. You might want to turn up your trousers to show off those nice socks."

Avoid: "Don't try to match the colour of the socks to some other element in your outfit. A pale blue shirt and bright blue socks, for example, will seem too studied. Instead, wear neutral colours (like white, navy, denim and stone) and choose whatever colour socks you like."

If everyone else will be wearing jeans

Photographed: Oliver Spencer blue chambray shirt (£99), Norse Projects navy twill chinos (£100) 

Go for: Chambray shirt, navy chinos, desert boots

Why this works: "In an entirely jeans-clad office, chinos can be a nice way to set yourself apart a tad (without looking too dressed up). The chambray shirt and desert boots keep things casual but still sharp."

Look for: "The three things in this outfit are such staples, as long as you go for the most classic versions of each you can't go wrong."

Avoid: "Baggy fits will make this look immediately too casual. The chinos should have an inch or two to spare in the thigh when you're standing up, and your shirt shouldn't drown you; the bottom should reach around halfway down your fly."