Many fashion magazines and advice columns receive countless letters from readers who stress about what to wear to the office in the summer or how to tell a co-worker their attire is unacceptable. Are you one of them? The Etiquette Ladies know manners are good business and have this list of basics just for you:
First, even if you don’t deal with customers face-to-face, beach and recreation attire should not be worn to the office. This means that shorts, flip flops, running shoes, halters, racer back tops, etc are outlawed. Instead of just dressing appropriately for your role, try to dress for the role you want to assume. Common sense rules of modesty should apply when we select an outfit for the office.
For the gentlemen, start with a freshly pressed short-sleeved polo or collared shirt that’s not too boxy in a subtle stripe, print or solid color. When wearing a casual button down shirt with a tie make sure the tie tip falls a ½ inch above the belt. For women, strapless tops, plunging tanks, low-cut, tight or see through blouses are not acceptable.
Ladies, when the capris, mini skirts and jeans are calling you, show restraint and choose either a pantsuit, knee-length or longer skirts, slacks or khakis. In the same vein, men should not wear cropped pants, cargo pants or jeans. Look for light cotton, linen pants or khakis to beat the heat.
Oftentimes summer temperatures and the holiday atmosphere give the illusion that we can take a vacation from dressing for business. If you must wear a sundress, wear a complimentary sweater or shawl to cover up. It won’t only ward off the cold from the air conditioner but it will keep you looking professional.
Always wear shoes in a neutral color. Strappy sandals for women (mandals for men) that show toes are verboten. Loafers or slides for men, and closed toe sling backs (or a conservative heel) for women are the better option. Always keep footwear clean and polished and bare legs are never appropriate so choose hosiery that is the same color or one shade lighter than your shoes.
As for grooming, it is absolutely necessary that belly buttons and cleavage (front or back!) never peek out in the office. The more skin you show, the less professional you will look. Your hair should be neat and clean including a clean shave for the men. Clean and short fingernails and polish in a neutral color looks classic. Use perfume and cologne sparingly if at all and keep cosmetics looking natural not dramatic. Limit accessories to less than 10 pieces and this includes glasses, earrings, necklaces, watch, scarf/tie, bracelets, lapel pin, and rings.
Finally it is important that clothing fits well and is comfortable, pressed and clean. If you gain or lose weight, make sure your clothes fit properly. Look for missing buttons, lint and stains. If you’re ever unsure whether something’s appropriate for the office in the summer, change!
Article from: Paula Wilhelm, The Civility Group, Inc.