Summer Dress Code: Do’s and Don’ts

Summer dress code tips

Summer is officially here, and that means longer days and warmer weather.  Many offices have a more relaxed summer dress code, but the line between casual and inappropriate may not always be clear.  A number of businesses, particularly those that are small or creative environments, don’t have a dress code policy in place. Others have a policy, but it can often be vague, ambiguous, or subjective.  Keep this list handy as you prepare to dress for the office during the summer months.



  • Keep your sleeves over the shoulder. A good rule of thumb is to wear capped sleeves that cover the shoulder completely.
  • Grab some capris. Capris can look both professional and fashionable.  They are a great choice when the temperatures begin to rise.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes. They project an air of professionalism and good sense.  If your employer allows for open-toe shoes, make sure your toenails are clean and maintained.
  • Less is more. It’s great to work trends and current styles into your professional wardrobe, but it’s best done with little accents (i.e. jewelry, belts, purses, etc.)



  • Don’t show too much skin. Avoid wearing shorts or skimpy hot pants in the office. Other summer wardrobe offenders include tank tops (men included), sheer dresses, tube tops, midriff-baring tops, and micro-miniskirts.
  • Avoid casual footwear.That means no flip flops!
  • Tuck it in! Men can wear shirts made with lighter fabrics, but they should always be tucked in.
  • Watch the facial hair. A long, unkempt beard can make you look disheveled, unprofessional, and maybe even a little threatening to some.  Keep the beards and goatees short, clean, and trimmed.


When in doubt ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I showing too much skin?
  • Is this skirt or these shorts appropriate when I sit, stand, or walk up the stairs?
  • What will my manager’s reaction be when she or he sees what I’m wearing?
  • Do I look like I’m going to work or going to a place to hang out with friends?
  • Am I abiding by the dress code policy (if applicable) or do I look like I’m barely following it?