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?