Casual Friday

Casual Friday (also known as Dress-down Friday, Bis-Cas-Fri, or simply Casual day) is an American and Canadian custom which has spread to other parts of the world, wherein some offices celebrate a semi-reprieve from the constrictions of a formal dress code. Whereas, during the rest of the week, business shirts, suits, ties, trousers, and dress shoes are the norm, on Casual Friday workers are allowed to wear more casual dress. Some companies allow jeans, T-shirts, hoodies, and sneakers but others require smart casual dress. Some offices have a themed dress down day, or encourage people to wear very casual clothes. On this day, even managers are allowed to dress down.

Some companies and schools operate an occasional "dress down" day, where employees pay a small fee to be allowed to wear casual clothes (or even fancy dress), the money being donated to charity.

Casual Friday began in the late 1950s originally as an attempt to raise worker morale in the new white-collar office environment. At that point only a few companies encouraged it, and it was not widely popular. In the late 1970s, when the production of cheap clothing outside the United States became more widespread, there was a massive campaign by large clothing producers to make Casual Friday a weekly event.

Casual Friday along with dressing casually during the week became very prevalent during the Dot Com hey-day of the late 1990s/early 2000s, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area. During the hey-day, some companies were so relaxed that shorts and sandals were permitted.

After the bursting of the Dot-Com bubble, there was a backlash by many companies with the reinstatement of dress codes. The biggest backlash was by companies that had permitted blue jeans before, and now required at least more formal business casual or even "business formal". After Labor Day weekend 2004, Target required "business formal" dress for all employees at their corporate office in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Many of the expensive clothiers who sold suits decided to do a marketing campaign to get companies and employees to return to the former custom of "business formal" clothing.

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