The Overthrow of Casual Friday

Casual Friday entered the American zeitgeist in the late 90s, just as Silicon Valley was showing the world a new meaning of success. The technocrats of the dot-com era believed in changing the way people thought about a business. The way they thought about possibilities. They started with what was considered proper attire, giving employees a day of the week where they could wear what they wanted. Over time, companies across the country adopted the practice. Unfortunately, the symbolism behind the change was lost. It was no longer about change and breaking rules. It was about starting the weekend early. It was about riding out that last day of the week in flip-flops while you did the bare minimum until quitting time.


Even this change in the Casual Friday framework might have been okay if it didn’t start spreading to the rest of the week. Before you knew it, companies were loosening up their dress codes on Monday through Thursday. Worse, employees started lowering their own standards for professional office attire. Maybe you did the same. But did you really?


Think about it. You’re an angel investor, given the choice between two competing businessmen. Each of them has put together an excellent proposal, they both have rock-solid plans, and you believe that either investment, on paper, would give you a return on your money. Which one do you invest in? The guy who gave his proposal in jeans and a T-shirt? Or the one who did it in a sharp suit and tie? Appearance — and more importantly effort and pride in one’s appearance — matters in the business world.  And it may just matter more than you’re comfortable admitting.


According to psychologist Frank Bernieri, most employers make the decision of whether or not to hire someone within the first ten seconds. Ten seconds! That’s all the time you have to make your impression. What can you do with ten seconds? Not much. That’s why how you dress makes such a big difference.


Looks matter. According to a recent study, good looking Americans make as much as 15 percent more than their less-attractive counterparts. The encouraging truth is that most of us can be really good looking if we put in the effort. You can always be the best you, you can always take pride in your appearance. Be that person through every facet of your life, starting with how you dress. Start this Friday. See how it changes your life.