The heat of summer is here and staying cool is a seasonal priority. It’s important to strike a balance between comfortable and appropriate when it comes to work attire. If your outfit would not be out of place at a backyard cookout, you probably need to rethink your summer office style.
While dress codes vary among companies and industries, it’s important to be aware of what your policy allows. These five business attire etiquette recommendations will help you make the right decision when it comes to dressing for success in the office.
With warmer temps…
Think in layers. If a sleeveless top or dress is fine in your corporate culture, lucky you in the 98-degree heat! It may be smart to keep a lightweight cardigan or a suit jacket handy to quickly kick your look up a notch in the event of a last-minute meeting with a new prospect. It’s also a great staple in case the office air conditioning is set to “Arctic blast.”
Less isn’t always best.
It can also send a message that you aren’t taking work seriously. While we often equate combating the heat with baring skin, there are certain lines that shouldn’t be crossed in just about any business environment. Tank tops, camisoles, and spaghetti straps are not office day wear. Keep skirt length at, or slight above the knee. Your midriff should stay covered at all times. And, unless you work at a gym, a casual retail store or summer camp, shorts are normally not an option.
Give your feet the attention they deserve. If your toes are visible, schedule a regular pedicure. Pay special care to the heels of your foot (as well as the heels of your shoe)! Women have a vast selection of summer options at their disposal – take a stroll through your local department store or shop online for ideas.
Put your sunglasses away. While sun protection is smart, and necessary for the glaring sun, once inside they should be removed. Wearing your sunglasses as a headband is both unprofessional and distracting. Safely store your glasses in a case and protect them from annoying scratches.
When in doubt, consult the dress code. No, I didn’t say to use your coworker as the first example. While you can get some ideas from your office mates, take responsibility for your image by investigating for yourself. Your boss may frown on skinny jeans… on everyone else but herself. In general, you are always safer when you err on the side of caution and choose conservatively. You can’t go wrong by investing some time and a little energy in creating your own professional summer style.
For more of my summer office attire tips, visit U.S. News and World Report.