The hot weather has arrived, and this causes a bit of a conundrum for some. Can I wear sandals to work? Can I wear shorts? It’s hard figuring out what to wear at the office in the summer. The winter months made it easy with layers, but summer heat changes all that. You want to look professional, but at the same time you don’t want to put yourself at risk for a heat stroke. All of the answers to your summer attire conundrum can be answered by reflecting on your office culture. By simply looking at what others are wearing you can get an idea of what you can wear. It’s also advised to look at your superior, if they’re wearing khakis and a button up shirt, then chances are you certainly can as well.
Another way to assess how you should dress in your office is to look at your role in the workplace: Are you more behind the scenes or up close and personal with costumers? If you have a more social role where you are meeting with clients and others alike, then you should dress more business than casual. If you’re behind the scenes working on internal affairs and don’t interact with costumers, then you can be more casual than business. It all depends on your office culture. Regardless of your position in the workplace, if you want to project a professional image for yourself, you should avoid dressing like you’re going out to a summer picnic. If you’re uncertain of what to wear consult your HR representative.
There are major fashion don’ts for summer in any workplace. Here are the most common offenders of summer workplace attire:
• Tank tops or sleeveless shirts
• Short skirts
• Halter tops
• Overly revealing attire
Some of these things you can tweak and pair with other things that will make them more acceptable. For example, wear a tank top with a light jacket or blazer. This will turn your outfit from casual to business casual. Flip flops are always a no. No matter how much business you have going on with the rest of your outfit, your flip flops are the ultimate workplace attire no-no. Keep in mind, beach attire is for the beach, so anything you’d wear for the beach like flip flops, bathing suit, etc. are out when it comes for dressing for the workplace. Wear dressy sandals if your workplace allows you to.
Now that you know what not to wear, here are some suggestions of what you can wear. For men, light suits in lighter colors like light grey, taupe and pewter. Ditch the suit jacket. Wear open collared shirts and polo shirts. For women, pencil skirts, blouses, light blazers and jackets, and maxi or lengthy sun dresses are viable options. Just keep in mind, no matter how hot it gets, don’t cross the line from casual to inappropriate. Have fun this summer, and don’t fear your summer dress code, embrace it and work with it.