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Let's set some ground rules for Casual Friday

Summer is officially here, which means Thursday nights tend to be the best nights in NYC. Thursday nights usually means drinking sangria outside on a rooftop until way too late with a bunch of girls who will ignore your texts the next day.

It also means the arrival of Casual Fridays on Wall Street. The hangover — and rejection — don't seem so bad when you don't have to put on a suit and tie. But some people take it too far. It's time to set some ground rules. Here are four guys you DO NOT want to be on Casual Friday.



Walter Arce | Hemera / 360 | Getty Images

The Khakis Guy

You wear a suit and tie every day. On casual Friday, you wear the same shirt without a tie — and swap the dress pants out for khakis.

Really creative, there, Old Navy.

You… are … BORING.

What it says about you: You care little about what you wear — and that's fine IF your career goal is middle management. You aren't going to upset anyone but you also aren't going to inspire anyone to greatness — especially yourself. You are happy to be there and most people are lukewarm on you. Nice guy, keeps to himself. Always around when there is free cake.

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The NBA Lottery Pick Guy

LeBron James is the greatest athlete of our era. We all want to be King James. But only he could pull off a white suit, white shirt and white tie, like he did on draft night.

That outfit might fly at P. Diddy's white party but not at work. A little style is welcome — too much style is a distraction. You will be unfairly called loud and obnoxious.


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The summer is a good time to wear different colors like white, teal, pink, aqua and fuschia but don't wear it all at once. You need balance with pastels. Google Maurice Taylor or Jalen Rose draft suit to see more no-nos. Maurice Taylor looked like he was trying to steal Vinny Chase's role as Aquaman. As for Jalen Rose, let's say I have seen that tie pattern on my grandmother's drapes.

What it says about you: You're trying too hard.


Unless you're going to a Diddy white party -- no. Just NO.
Source: Raj Mahal
Unless you're going to a Diddy white party -- no. Just NO.

The Guy-Who-Doesn't-Partake-in-Casual-Fridays Guy

You know this guy: He just doesn't do casual Fridays. He totally blows it off. This has more risk than you think.

What it says about you: It can go one of two ways. On one hand, you can be seen as the hardest working guy. The guy that doesn't even realize it's Friday because he is too focused at work. This is hard to pull off, but if you can, your bosses will love you. They will think you are so dedicated that you forgot it's Friday and you are on your way to becoming a managing director. However, if you are the only one that isn't casual on a Friday, you might look like you are too cool for school and alienate your co-workers. You are their version of Barry Bonds. Or even worse — they might think you're interviewing somewhere else and that will make nobody like you.

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The Too-Casual Guy

Even though it's Casual Friday, there is still a dress code. If you are ever in doubt as to whether something is too casual, the answer is YES. Don't be a moron and push the limit here by wearing flip-flops or a Hawaiian shirt, or failing to do basic grooming like brushing your teeth or combing your hair.

What it says about you: If you can't even manage your own hygiene, you are not to be trusted with any account — even the lunch account.

Not only could you ruin your career, you could lead to your company outlawing Casual Fridays altogether, which is cause for banishment to Siberia.

Every company has a dress-code policy, so read it — even for the humor of it. My favorite was reading the unacceptable attire list. At one place I worked on Wall Street, the no-no list included: T-shirts with logos, blue denim jeans, deck shoes, evening wear, thongs of any kind, underwear as outerwear, tank tops, and provocative or revealing attire.

Really? There are people who require clarification on these items?

Rock it PGA-style

OK, so now you know what NOT to do. On the hyper-judgmental, you-could-be-gone-in-the-blink-of-an-eye Wall Street, what's safe?

I say, rock it PGA-style. Casual Friday is a great way to wear comfortable golf attire and still look great. You don't have to be a scratch golfer on the links but you can be a scratch dresser. It can be both dapper and comfortable.

Here's how you do it: Wear solid pants that are either black, navy or gray. Don't go with patterned pants or knickers. As for golf shirts, nothing with too much of a pattern either. Preferably a solid bright color with a cool logo like Rolex. Add a light sweater if you want. Tiger Woods or Adam Scott are two guys to look at. Tiger ALWAYS looks good out there and you can tell he coordinates his outfits head to toe. Adam Scott looks like the model in Ralph Lauren catalog. You think it's a coincidence that one of those two have been ranked number one in the world for the last 63 weeks in a row? Other guys that just miss the cut to watch are Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell.

This is how we do it ...
Source: Raj Mahal
This is how we do it ...

However, if you want to look at the best dressed of all time, look and dress like Arnold Palmer. He had style when there was no style. In the 60s, he looks like a stunt double for James Bond. He looked more like an international man of mystery who just happened to show up at Pebble Beach. He might be your grandfather's age but he still has more than enough style, He recently shared a magazine cover with Kate Upton and even got a kiss from her. Now that is a style for all of us to emulate whether casual or not.

Just because it's casual Friday doesn't mean you can't look your best. Follow these simple guidelines and you'll not only be comfortable but be able to channel your inner David Beckham.

Raj Malhotra (Raj Mahal is his stage name) is a former Wall Street trader-turned-stand-up-comedian. He has worked at Wall Street firms covering three continents, including at Bank of America, BNP Paribas and Nomura. He draws from his unique ethnic background and Wall Street career to entertain audiences nightly, highlighting the struggles of the 1 percent. He can be seen at Gotham Comedy Club, Broadway Comedy Club, NY Comedy Club, Greenwich Village Comedy Club, and the Tribeca Comedy Lounge. Follow him on Twitter @RajMahalTweets.

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