Friday dressing is fun, but no bermudas please!

By Shilpa Raina, IANS,

New Delhi : In the corporate world, Fridays bring a double dose of happiness – they kick off the weekend and also allow employees to slip into casual wear. But, then, it’s not a no-holds-barred exercise.

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“Fridays are special because they give us (women) an opportunity to dress up and get away from formal wear. Though we cannot go overboard, we try to make the most of it,” said Mansi Badola, a manager at Citibank.

“There are obvious restrictions like you cannot wear anything that is revealing or vulgar as you are representing your organisation and at the same time you do not want negative publicity in your office.”

The one big thing that women can get away with – though not the men – is footwear. Men walking into office in flip-flops, sandals or chappals can be in trouble.

“We cannot come to office in flip-flops and sandals. It is a no-no in any office as it gives a completely unprofessional image and this is not at all acceptable in any corporate office,” said Abhinav Sharma, a finance analyst at Primus Telecommunications.

“You also cannot wear bermuda shorts or sleeveless T-shirts to office. After all you are coming to office and not going on a holiday,” he added.

Ritika Chawla, a business analyst at a KPO Evalueserve, emphasised the fact that one has to play it safe when it comes to choosing casuals.

“Everyone likes to dress up in casuals but one has to be very cautious while choosing an outfit as skirts above the knee are a big no-no in our organisation and tops with plunging necklines should be avoided at any cost,” she explained.

“They basically do not want us to go 100 percent casual. It should be a mix and match outfit – like they prefer straight skirts to layered skirts,” she added.

Even though corporate dressing has evolved over a period of time in India, the change was most visible in women’s clothes as a large number of them slowly shifted away from saris and salwaar-kameezes to chic trousers and fitted formal shirts and coats. And with that the concept of Friday dressing also kicked in.

“It all started with globalization. When foreign companies opened their offices in India, they tried to maintain their international standards, so women had to wear a proper formal suit or skirt,” designer Amit GT told IANS.

Fashion brand Allen Solly has launched its “Friday Dressing” targeted at young corporates and encourages young officegoers to stop wearing uniforms to work and become more relaxed and cheerful.

“Our new concept thrashed the boring whites and greys of the corporate world and introduced vibrant colours for relaxed formal wear, as corporate offices want people to dress up smartly even though they call it casual dressing,” Allen Solly’s chief operating officer R. Satyajit told IANS.

“Casual, chic yet sombre trousers, chinos, cargoes and T-shirts are a big hit in the market,” he added.

Interestingly, these restrictions are not just for women; the men too get a dose of it.

“Fridays are supposed to be for business casuals that mean one has to look decent and presentable and not funky, as many youngsters misunderstand the word casual wear,” said Akshay Sharma, an associate at Perot systems.

“Every now and then we have a meeting about what to wear and what not to. No one keeps a check on us, as we are aware of the format through these regular meetings,” he added.

According to him, printed T-shirts that have slogans like ‘My Dad is an ATM’ or ‘Go to Hell’ are not allowed in the office and anything that is jazzy or fancy should be avoided completely.