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Too-casual Fridays.

2007-09-14 - 2:54 p.m.

I try not to wear jeans to work. Not even on “casual Fridays.” Call me old fashioned but it seems like the standards have slid a bit too far. I work for the government. I work in an office, in what I consider to be a “professional” job in a “professional” environment. So what, I ask, are some people thinking? Of course, I’m only talking about the small minority here, but they seem to be everywhere simply because I notice them.

I am not one to talk in many ways: I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis and only really have it on for special evening outings or sometimes weddings. I don’t wear heels at all or skirts hardly ever to work. In the summer I wear sandals and yes, they’re more sport-sandals than pretty sandals.

My winter “uniform” is: black or grey dress pants, sensible, flat-soled black shoes, and a shirt with a collar. I have a suit jacket in my cubicle if I need to attend a meeting with anyone big. In summer I relax it a bit and have shorter pants (knee-length to Capri-length) and sometimes I layer a tank top under a short-sleeved collared dress shirt and sometimes I wear a sleeveless collared shirt. On Fridays I may wear even wear my brown Bermuda-length shorts or a jersey-knit shirt without (gasp!) a collar. I acknowledge that jeans can be dressy enough for work on Fridays, but I just don’t seem to have that knack of looking effortlessly put-together and I know that jeans make me look, well, excessively casual.

But I’ve drawn a line in the sand, by golly; a line that separates my wardrobe from the dubious choices of flip-flops, sweats, or clothes with strategic or not-so-deliberate holes in them. In the elevator I see a steady progression of people looking as if they’re ready to watch TV. At the cottage. When no one else is around. There’s also a smattering of people looking like they’re about to hit a nightclub, but these are rarer.

So, am I uptight? Old? Not dialed in to what the office standards really should be? Should I just accept it and start shopping for some comfy sweats or just shrug and take out my jeans and a t-shirt on Fridays? No, I vow, I will NOT.

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