Clothes Working life

Friday casual day

Sometimes I find Friday’s casual day a stress. I find normal weekdays easier — any idiot can look half-decent in an expensive suit.

(Have I told you about my suit? It’s really nice. It was pricey though. It’s so expensive that it doesn’t have a pocket for small change. The makers must have presumed it would be worn by kings and presidents, who never have to carry money.)

Last Friday

I thought I had it figured out: that right balance of casual dress without looking slobby. But this day last week, I had a meeting with people I didn’t know, which complicated things further. I thought something a little more formal was required.

I should have just grabbed my work gear but left the tie behind. Or done my usual Friday thing and worn my nice stripey (horizontal) top with jeans and sneakers.

But no. Out came the stripey (vertical) shirt (aka The Party Shirt). The cotton pants. Put them on. And plain black shoes.

I looked in the mirror. Hmmmmmm. Shoes not really working.

Let’s just throw in a looming deadline, too. The 8:06 and 8:17 express trains are ideal. They stop only three times before reaching the city. If I miss the 8:17, the next is the 8:31, stopping all stations, which reaches the city 21 minutes after the 8:17 does. So I was keen to save those 21 minutes, and get the 8:17, particularly since I knew I had to nip out of work for something else during the day.

I switched the black shoes to the (shudder) old brown shoes. Then, at 8:06 (the station is ten minutes’ walk away), I grabbed my Myer’s bag full of stuff (which is used to avoid having to carry a briefcase home on Friday nights) and headed out the door to catch the 8:17.

I waltzed off down the street. But something was troubling me. I looked down. Ooh. These trousers just weren’t working. They must have looked better on the rack. Maybe they should be worn with the Birkenstocks, lazing about the house or something. But not with Real Shoes.

In my mind I could hear Wallace, frantically calling: “It’s the wrong trousers! The wrong trousers! Stop them, Gromit!”

A U-turn back down the street, into the house. Found my black-blue jeans. On. Bolted out of the house. I glanced at the time. 8:11.

I sprinted down the road and just made the 8:17 (a minute or two late). Out of breath, sweating, but made it.

The train quickly spirited me to Parliament, as I read my newspaper and pondered if any of my neighbours had seen me depart the house twice in the space of five minutes, wearing different pants.

Off the train, I walked down Collins Street to work, rather self-consciously wondering how I was looking, in my jeans, old brown shoes and the Party Shirt sticking out. I’ve been told by She Who Knows that such a shirt must never, ever be tucked-in. The problem is the Party Shirt is kind of big and long and billowy. When I’m walking it looks a bit like a pregnant lady’s shirt. I’m probably better suited to a shorter, slimmer shirt.

I looked at my fellow CBD-dwellers, at least those who were male, between 20 and 50 and wearing casual clothes. He’s got cotton pants. They look okay. He’s got old brown shoes too. Oh dear, maybe not so good. Damn, look at him, he’s got sneakers. That could have worked. Oh, him — he looks fine. Sticking out slim shirt. Sneakers. Hey, he has a Myer bag with his stuff in it too!


Today, I’ll try and do better.

(Edited to clarify this describes last week.)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

10 replies on “Friday casual day”

You worry far far too much about how other people perceive you I think mate. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and to hell with what other people think.

It’s called ‘casual friday’ for a reason ;)

our Friday’s are casual, too. Most people (including the bosses) wear old jeans and t-shirts. And daggy runners on their feet. No one really notices anyone else or passes comment. Maybe you are being too hard on yourself!

I share your problem with shirts.

A bottom that 1. aligns with the top of the rear trouser pocket and 2. which is is no more than 2cm below the bottom of the belt appears ideal (wonder if SheWhoKnows would agree).

Unfortunately too many shirts are so long they reach down to near the bottom of the fly and midway or lower down the back pockets. This may be OK if tucked in, but very slobbish if out.

So many items are nominally the right size but don’t fit exactly.

After discovering mega-sized op-shops like Savers (which usually have at least one item that fits), it has been possible to have a big cull and (hopefully) improve the standard & fit of what remains.

But I’m almost inclined to think casual friday is an industry plot to increase the range of clothes men must buy, and thus capitalism’s call on the worker’s wallet. Fortunately I’ve never worked at a workplace that’s had it.

Every Friday is casual Friday at work, dunno about the rest of the week at work though they all wear borderline casual………but as Roger commented, the bosses where I work wear ultra casual too which is pretty cool in my book, and no one pays mind to anyone else as well
So if it feels good youre comfortable wear it!

Who notices much about suits? Casual clothing is what I would notice and would judge on. You are correct to try to get the look right. The only reason black shoes would not work is if they are very polished and formal. Otherwise, black always works, anywhere. Brown shoes sometimes can work, but I think only with beigey colours.

Btw, met the neighbours? What are they like?

Sorry Daniel, I was in a hurry and wasn’t concentrating, and I presumed “U-turn” meant that you did a U-turn in your neighbours driveway and turned home, rather than turning around and walking the other way. Sorry.

I just wanted to say that this entry is a great example of what has kept me reading this diary every week for the last 6 years.

There are no great concepts discussed, no real learnings. not even an outcome….. but the fact that others go through the same ridiculous thought processes I do is very reassuring! (I doubt whether I would have gone back home, tho! Heh!)

Comments are closed.