Tomorrow there will be new meaning to Casual Friday in at least 30 U. S. cities. Pittsburgh and Nashville get their turn today. That would be Football Gear Friday in the 32 NFL home cities plus wherever rabid fans live.
The whole Casual Friday phenomenon which began in earnest at the tail end of the twentieth century was to embrace the beginning of the weekend with a more relaxed approach to office dress. True casual dress such as shorts and t-shirts never made the grade beyond some uber-casual businesses mostly ending in dot-com. But a more relaxed look took hold and spawned the whole concept of business casual. Something you wouldn’t mind meeting clients in during the week day and then heading out for a couple after work without stopping at home for a wardrobe adjustment. And life went on. Until…
Until the football fanatics took over. And football is the perfect sport to stretch the rules with. Baseball plays every day of the week. Hockey plays every day of the week. NASCAR is already as casual as you can get. But football is ideal. What a better event to look forward to on a Friday afternoon than the culminating event of Sunday afternoon. It is the weekend.
It probably started innocently enough. A lapel pin in the sport coat, a bracelet festooned with the local team logo, an earring here, a pendant there. Rivals within the same building would look for the bigger cheering device. Coffee cups, lunch bags, even briefcases. Flags were hung outside office windows and banners were draped across reception desks. The momentum was on and there was no going back!
Accessories soon gave way to golf shirts with team logos replacing the breast pocket. Team hats would be seen topping tall heads in the elevators. Scarves and sweaters with patterns embracing the home team came next. Then it went where Casual Friday had resisted all those years. T-shirts and sweatshirts with logos, inspirational team sayings, and pictures of favorite players cracked the casual barrier. Then it was only a matter of the playoffs coming to town that brought replica jerseys into boardrooms where the morning meetings were led by replica mascots.
And so, every Friday in 32 cities plus the outlier cities with the out-placed rabid fans the commuter trains and busses, the freeways and parkways, the offices and factories, the coffee shops and emergency rooms turn into seas of Black and Gold, of flocks of angry birds, of packs of Lions and Panthers and Bears (oh my). And the day marches by and it might seem a little odd, responsible adults dressing like high schoolers at a pep rally. But the morning chats are lighter, the desks clear of clutter a little faster, and the trip for a couple after work a little shorter.
Monday will come soon enough. Have a little fun before the weekend. Go ahead and take the casual way to work tomorrow. Or today if you’re in Pittsburgh or Nashville.
Now, that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you?