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For many men the end of the work week is a time to loosen the chokehold of the suit-and-tie and head into the office in comfort. Casual Fridays however, are not exactly a sartorial free-for-all and abusing this company privilege can damage your career. Human Resources consultant and author of HR Answer Book Rebecca Mazin shares how to avoid becoming a Friday casualty.

Cleanliness is Awesomeness

We know, it sounds like common sense. But you know what they say, common sense is not common. As a result, it is worth saying: don’t pick your casual day to skip a shower. “Casual Friday doesn’t mean you wake up and you don’t shave and shower,” Mazin says. A successful casual Friday starts with a clean body adorned in clean, pressed and well-fitting clothes that do not have holes.

Always be Prepared

The traditional suit-and-tie crowd faces clients on a regular basis. As a result they are probably unable to stray far from formal business attire like slacks and button-down shirts. They can still choose to lose the tie and the suit jacket and trade in polished shoes for leather loafers. The key is to be prepared. Make sure that you keep a standard navy blue blazer and solid tie in the office as back-up for unexpected events. In fact, some employers ask employees to keep an extra tie around, or like one of Mazin’s clients, a suit jacket behind their chairs for impromptu meetings, “They have to be prepared to be more professional [at any time],” she says.

Dress Up Denim

Generally, jeans and sneakers are prohibited. If you are lucky enough to have a business casual environment that allows this common casual-wear, remain professional. Make certain your sneakers are clean and in one piece. Opt to wear dark denim and keep the collared look with a matching plaid button-down shirt or a classic Latino menswear staple such as the guayabera. “If you can wear it out to dinner on a first date or meeting a girl[friend]’s parents, it’s probably okay for work,” Mazin says. Tie any whole outfit together with loafers or a pair of streamlined clean, black leather sneakers.

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