Now that graduation is done and the bar exam is done, for many it is on to work. Among the challenges will be getting briefs completed in record time and figuring out what the office considers “business casual” on casual Fridays. Many mishaps have happened on casual Fridays and it can be a confusing aspect of the work environment. Business casual days really are the mullet of the workplace.
In Minnesota, where we are home to hockey, we are also by default home to hockey hair, aka the Missouri compromise aka the Mullet. The mullet, commonly known by its tagline: Business in the Front — Party in the Back, is a haircut where the top is short and well groomed (the business) and the back is long and casual (the party). The mullet, while often the center of jokes, is actually a good place to start when trying to figure out how to fit into casual Friday. Proper business casual can roughly be translated to business on the top and party on the bottom, or vice versa. I often advise people to think of the Mullet Principle when deciding how to properly fit in on business casual day.
Just like the mullet, a business casual outfit sill needs to say business but the casual part of business casual can also involve a little party.
If the office considers jeans part of the business casual wardrobe, pair the pair with a good dress shirt, nice sweater or blazer. Don’t pair jeans with a T-shirt, that’s too much casual/party on the top and bottom. If jeans are worn, make sure the pair is the nicest pair of jeans in the closet. A more casual pair of pants worn with a blazer and dress shirt fits in perfect on a business casual day.
Thinking of wearing a polo shirt? Then wear it with a conservative skirt or dress pants and a blazer. For women, pairing a more casual shirt with a blazer and skirt is right on trend too.
If the office is more business than casual on its business casual days, then simply step your regular outfits down by one thing. If it’s a full suit every other day of the week, then do a nice sweater with the skirt or pants. Wearing the gray blazer and the navy suit pants or vice versa is another option. Normally wear a tie? Then skip it for casual Friday.
So the next time business casual day or casual Friday comes up, remember the Mullet Principle to fit in perfectly.