How New York bankers can dress for Casual Friday

31st May 2014
Tracy Chow

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A recent survey showed that around 40% of major corporations in the US have adopted a Casual Friday dress code. It’s a popular policy that gives workers the chance to wear more relaxed attire every Friday. It costs little to implement, and it’s generally seen as having a positive effect on morale.

New York banking

The phenomenon has been less well adopted among the New York banking community, however. But for those that do allow a little relaxation of the dress codes at the end of the week, it pays to know what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

Surviving Casual Friday shows how in tune you are with your firm’s culture.
In general, it won’t pay to show up in grungy jeans and a faded tee-shirt. Casual should be taken to mean casually smart, rather than outright sloppy. After all, you might be called into an impromptu client meeting and dressing for an Aerosmith concert is unlikely to make the right impression.

So, for those days when you have to ditch the bespoke suit, what’s appropriate for the New York banker from JP Morgan or Citibank? In general, smart jeans might be right for most organizations, but they won’t cut it in Finance. A long-sleeve shirt and dark gray, flat-front trousers or chinos with formal shoes should do the job.

Right balance 

Shirts should be plain, although an open-necked striped number can convey the right balance of formality and informality. You can keep a smart jacket or blazer on your peg if it makes you feel more comfortable.

But if Casual Fridays all seems like just too much of a risk, what’s to stop you keeping a more-formal outfit at the office just in case that important client shows up? Hang up a spare bespoke suit with a neatly pressed shirt and smart tie somewhere safe and you’ll have all the bases covered.

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