Every Thursday morning, I wait for it. The one email that will make or break the rest of this miserable work week. The casual Friday email.
You see, I work at an investment firm, and while it’s actually not too stodgy of a place, we have a business dress code Monday through Thursday. Four days a week, I dress like the grown up woman I am supposed to be: skirts or dresses that are no shorter than two inches above the knee or dress slacks with an appropriate top. No low cut v-necks, visible midriffs, tank tops, tube tops, leggings, miniskirts, rompers, sheer clothing, flannel shirts, cropped shirts, shorts of any kind, sweatpants, sweatshirts, rubber flip flops or hiking boots. Yes, I totally just copied and pasted our dress code.
Then there are Fridays. Oh, blessed casual Fridays. The days when “denim pants, sneakers and athletic shoes are acceptable.” And of course, there’s a definite backslide into other prohibited forms of dress on these marvelous days — people sneaking their ripped jeans, comfy flannel or oversized sweatshirt into the mix. Sometimes I worry that their “given an inch, taking a mile” attitude will result in the demise of casual Friday for the rest of us, but luckily, the HR people are too comfortable in their jeans and Chuck Taylors to even notice the dress code defiers.
But casual Fridays aren’t a given every week. Instead, they are special treats, like when there are leftover cookies from a sales meeting and you actually manage to get to the kitchen and scoop up a blondie before the rest of the vultures get there. Casual Fridays are a gift. One that can easily be taken away by an asshole client that wants to come in on a Friday morning after your Thursday night happy hour turned into getting turnt or by an ignorant prospect, who doesn’t understand that the weekend starts at 1:19 p.m. and wants to visit on Friday afternoon. So it’s important to cherish every one, because you never know when the next one will be.
Those of you who work in a relaxed dress code office likely don’t understand the specialness of a casual Friday. You don’t have to have two separate wardrobes – one of blah work clothes and one for clothes you actually like to wear. You take for granted wearing pants that don’t have to be dry-cleaned and shoes that are both comfortable and cute. You don’t understand the pain of spending Sunday ironing enough button downs for the week or wondering if you could possibly pass off these leggings as dress pants. You spend your days in your cubicle relaxed in open collars and pants that don’t pinch your waist. You lucky bastards don’t understand how good you have it.
But as I sit here on an early Friday afternoon, writing this piece at my desk while wearing skinny jeans, an oversized sweater, and cute flats while pretending to work on a quarterly report, I can’t even be mad at you for not appreciating your good fortune. Whether that’s due to the fact that I can actually breathe today because I don’t have to wear Spanx under my casual clothes or the Xanax I popped at lunch, I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps a combination of both. Either way, I’m just happy I didn’t have to put on a suit this morning. Long live casual Friday. .
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