Shoeper Shoe Challenge # 40: Non-Casual Friday


What: River Island red canvas wedges
When: Friday, August 6th, 2010
Where: Date night!
With: Blue nautical dress, Pin-Up Girl Clothing

When I worked in an office, I always hated Casual Fridays (or in my case, Dress-Down Sundays: the only place I ever worked which had a “casual” day was a place I worked weekends in). I mean, casual dress is all well and good, and sometimes all you want to do is throw on a pair of jeans and be done with it (quite a lot, recently, in my case)Β but other times… other times it’s good to get dressed up. To pull out your best dress and your least practical pair of heels and enjoy that feeling of getting all dolled up – even if you have nowhere special to go.

For this reason, I always quite liked office dress. Jeans and sneakers I could wear any time: little fitted, 40s style suits, tailored dresses, crisp white shirts… well, there weren’t many places I could wear those other than at work, so I always resented the invasion of the casual into my little working world.

Now, of course, I work from home, but even if I didn’t, there would be few opportunities to get “dressed up”, because it seems to me that over the past ten years or so, the world’s gone casual: or, at least, my little corner of it has. No one wears dresses any more. No one wears heels. Where I come from, wearing either means spending the entire day being asked if you have an interview, or enduring comments about how you’re “so dressed up!” Wearing both, meanwhile, is a great way to experience what it must be like to be an alien, fresh off the Mother Ship.

I don’t need an excuse to dress casually. I DO, however, need an excuse to get dressed up, and so a few months ago, Shoeperman and I declared Friday (or at least, Friday night) to be NON-casual Friday.

Friday night, you see, is date night. At the moment, we’re trying to save up some money, so date night is normally just dinner and a bottle of wine at home, but we decided that in order to make it feel more like a “proper” date, we’d introduce a non-casual dress code, and get dressed up for each other, even if we’re not going out. (What’s weird about this is that it was actually HIS idea, not mine, although obviously I was more than happy to go along with it! I mean, any excuse to get dressed up, right?)

And that’s how I managed to find a reason to wear one of my favourite dresses, on a rainy August day at home. Sometimes I think that if you don’t have a reason to wear your favourite shoes and clothes, well, you just have to make one up.


  • Amber, you look gorgeous – really, really beautiful. I’m with you on the non-casual side of things – luckily the people in my office are very used to me coming to work in what other people would consider evening wear or something you might wear to a wedding. It’s the way forward – dressing for yourself! I hope you and Shoeperman have a very romantic date night x

    • Oh, thank you! And I knew you’d be with me on this! “Going to a wedding” is a good description of it, actually – I’m going to watch Terry “Sphering” tommorow (rolling down a hill inside a giant rubber ball), and I’ve just had to re-think my outfit, because I realised that even although it was based around jeans, I’d still look like I was going on somewhere afterwards πŸ™‚

      • I want to do the Sphering thing! Hope he has a great time. I’m the other way around, I constantly try to look less casual and I think I’m finally getting somewhere. I do love dressing up but do feel I’d be overdressed, but from now on I’m going to say ‘to hell with that, let’s wear it anyway’. (on a side not: sorry about the multiple commenting.)

        • You’re much braver than me – I can’t imagine many things worse than rolling down a hill inside a ball! I’m sure it’ll be fun to watch, though πŸ™‚

  • Roisin is right, you do look gorgeous, beautiful dress and great shoes. And I totally need to find a reason to dress up, I’m completely fed up with casual wear, but in this area you just don’t get dressed up. I definitely need to buy more dresses too. I also hope you have a lovely night. x

    • Thank you πŸ™‚ And I know what you mean – I seem to spend a lot of time working out how to dress down whatever I’m wearing, because people just don’t dress up AT ALL here (and they define “dressed up” in a way that’s totally different from how I’d define it too, which makes it even harder). I’ve got to the point where I’ve decided to just embrace my love of dressing-up instead, but it can be difficult when you live in a very casual kind of place…

  • Amazing idea! A non-casual Friday! When I lived in London, I always did that… I mean, there were NO casual days for me… and I simply LOVED this way… but here… I told you already, it’s pretty much the same as where you live, according to your description… I feel like a “unique” animal at the zoo… exposed, everybody looking at me and thinking “she is eccentric…”
    So congratulations to you and your husband, for the beautiful idea… this is what love is about, nice ideas, that bring both even closer together… so sweet!
    And the dress is not only beautiful, but sexy! The whole outfit is beautiful! The photos as usual amazing! I had to laugh about the “birth of an alien”, but I only mentioned the hips because you wrote about it!
    Hope your date is really great (it will be!) and that tomorrow you have loooots of fun! (You will!)

  • Hi Amber πŸ™‚ You look absolutely gorgeous! Love the outfit and the shoes and your hair especially! I have a question which isn’t about shoes though (if you don’t mind), how did you do your hair? What curlers and hair products do you use? Thanks in advance! xx

    • Oh, thank you πŸ™‚

      As for the hair: I actually have a couple of sets of curling irons, but today I used a Conair set I bought in Target this summer when I was in Florida. I was just looking for something cheap that I could leave behind if I had to, and these were about $12, I think. I don’t have the packaging, but they were the widest-barreled curling irons they had, so they’re pretty quick to use, and just make it curl under at the ends a bit. I don’t use any styling products because they all tend to make my hair feel greasy, so I just use shampoo and conditioner. I’m not really loyal to one particular brand – at the moment I’m using an Alberto Balsam shampoo and a VO5 conditioner, but it’s basically just whatever’s on special at the supermarket, although sometimes I’ll splash out and get some of the John Frieda Radiant Red collection. I also like Boots Botanics shampoo and conditioner, which is also called ‘Radiant Red’, funnily enough πŸ™‚

  • You’re so pretty! I love your hair too, and your shoe storage system. I work in an office, and one of the few things I like about it is that I get to dress up for work every day. I don’t tend to do casual Fridays, as I have plenty of time to be casual on the weekends! I only really wear heels to work. I’d feel silly wearing them any other time. While dresses are pretty popular here in Australia (probably because of the weather), the footwear of choice for most people is flip-flops!

  • The dress is lovely and I hope you guys had a great date night! I’m with you on the “I’m always overdressed” and constantly trying to dress down the outfits I’m wearing. I don’t know what’s so wrong about putting a dress, heels or a nice coat without having to go to a party or a special event. Although hard (when everyone looks at you like you’re an alien) I find it more rewarding to be wearing what you actually like, either is a dress, heels, or whatever tickles you fancy, so a big yes to Non-Casual-insert day of the week-!

  • I often wear dresses to work because I love dresses. So actually I enjoy casual Friday because I can wear my jeans and Chuck Taylors. But I know exactly what you’re talking about.

  • non-casual friday is a great idea! my boyfriend and i kind of try to do the same. and indeed, the world has gone casual… yesterday we actually went out, to a concert, and i was wearing a bright red vintage dress and heels, while he looked like he stepped out of the 40s with dark grey pants, a blue shirt and suspenders. we were actually on an evening out and still people were slouching around in jeans and tees and looking at us like we were aliens!

  • oh I know how you feel…
    I live in a small village thingy and I never get to dress up nice, even when I go out. I wish I would live in a big city where I could where whatever I want at all time… I would wear heels to the supermarket!

  • What a lovely idea πŸ™‚ I actually just moved to Bratislava, and back in the UK in my old office people used to regularly stop me to look at my shoes – I loved dressing up to go to the office because I didn’t get the chance much day to day. Now I’ve got to Bratislava, it’s a gorgeous city to live in, but half the people in the office come in wearing jeans every day!! I’m going to end up standing out a bit in my dresses and heels but I’m determined to keep wearing them. πŸ™‚

  • Love the way you have your shoes organized. Can I ask….what is the colour of the paint on your wall?!

  • I stumbled across your blog. I love it and am going to poke around a little bit. Don’t worry, I’ll put everything back where I found it!

  • Your shoe storage solution is so simple and elegant. It really is the best thing to do with shoes isn’t it? Show them off.

    Casual Fridays have just become an excuse to get lazy. Next thing you know people are out shopping in their pyjamas. The Nautical dress paired with the red shoes is just divine. I love your blog x

    • Thanks, I love yours too – I actually tried to comment on your “Absolutely Fatuous” posts earlier today but I think the comment got eaten: great post, anyway!

      • Really Amber – oh no, what a shame! I would have been so flattered to have had a comment from you on my blog. Ruby Shoesday is an inspiration – let’s turn it into a Twitter trending topic πŸ™‚

  • i agree. Whenever i wear a dress, everyone says “what’s the occasion?” or “why are you so dressed up?” It’s just a dress!

  • Count me in!! I’ll send you a link to show you what I wear this Friday:). Congrats on getting a mention in IFB! Hope you can stop by and visit me xo

  • I love that dress on you! I think it depends on the office setting. I wouldn’t appreciate casual Fridays if I worked at a more fashion-friendly workplace, but in more conservative work environments where there is almost a uniform, I can understand why Casual Fridays would be a good idea and why people who flock towards it. I mean, most of us work 5 days a week, and if we don’t like office wear, that’s 5/7’s of what we wear already!

    I love love the idea of a non-casual Friday though – dress up as you please!

  • love this post! i too have recently decided to dress up more, even for the smallest things. Casual is like a hole that you fall deeper and deeper into and soon youre stuck there! i read recently that you’ve got to practice dressing up or you’ll forget how

  • The best compliment I’ve ever received was when a friend of mine told me she always dressed up if she knew she was going to be seeing me, and then the rest of the group we were with nodded in unision. I don’t know if it was directly intended as a compliment, but the fact that the way I dress makes my friends feel like they need to step up their game made me happy.
    Also, you have gorgeous hair. I’m going to dye mine red soon, and I’d be elated if it turned out anything similar to yours!

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