Summer work wear can be tricky. Unless you are a Lifeguard or Park Ranger, knowing what is acceptable to wear to work in summer can get complicated.
No matter how hot it gets, summer is not the time to take a break from professionalism. While rules used to be much stricter, these days, most offices have a more casual dress code.
Yet the right office attire can be a great asset in making a lasting impression and enhancing your reputation. You are what you wear.
Follow these guidelines to make sure you aren’t making summer work wear mistakes in your office.
Check your company’s dress code
Stay true to your corporate dress code and be smart about which pieces of clothing you swap for more casual ones. You can maintain your professionalism while staying stylish when you “dress down”.
Even though it is summer, you’re still in the office, and you need to dress as such. Ask HR for guidance if you are unsure – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Look at what your coworkers are wearing
Pay attention to what your coworkers are wearing to ensure you dress to the same level. Your work environment will be a big factor to consider when assessing your summer work wear.
Financial and Legal professionals are likely to dress very differently to Sales or Tech workers. Remember that summer work wear can potentially look different from your regular casual Friday outfit.
Do relax a bit
Even if your company goes super casual in summer, know that sloppy is never ok. Make sure clothes are clean, crease-free, and not full of holes. Always dress to impress.
A classic cut jacket, or tailored shirt, will smarten up the most casual work attire. Sophisticated accessories have a big part to play in keeping it smart if you are dressing it down.
Think about what you wear every day and make it a little more casual or relaxed. Long dark winter days have departed, and so should your all-black work attire. Think lighter fabrics in lighter colours, they look and feel cooler.
Put your best foot forward
Shabby, dirty shoes never looked good on anyone. Make sure your shoes are in good condition, polished, and hole-free. It seems silly, but people actually look at your shoes more than you think.
When you take in someone’s outfit, you look head-to-toe. Make sure their last view of you is as professional as the first one.
Remember that flip-flops and sandals can be considered a safety hazard depending on your work environment. Fashion may be King, but no one wants to lose a toe due to poor footwear choices.
It can still be cold in the office so layer up
You are likely stepping off an overheated street into an over-air-conditioned office. This can play havoc with your summer workwear plans.
The solution? Keep a warmer blazer or cardigan permanently in your office – either draped on your chair or on a coat rack to keep it wrinkle-free. It also avoids getting a hot and sticky smart blazer before you start your day.
Layering up is a pretty simple solution.
Dress appropriately for office social events
“Suns out, guns out” is not the phrase to remember as you prepare for office social events. Before any big office event, check the dress code or ask HR what people normally wear.
These events are the perfect opportunity to let a little of your personality shine in your clothes. Just make sure to keep your clothing choices conservative. This is still a work event.
Know what not to wear
Let’s get this out of the way: If you could wear your summer work to the beach or gym, it’s inappropriate for the office. Rule out short shorts, risqué or revealing clothing, t-shirts with offensive or political slogans, and any kind of yoga/sportswear.
When it comes to visible tattoos or body piercings, if your company has a policy against them, then summer is not the time to start showing them off.
Ask yourself, “Is this appropriate summer workwear?”
All of this may sound like a no-brainer, but occasionally you may find yourself slipping into the habit of saying, “This will be fine” as you take an item from your wardrobe – even when you know it isn’t.
Stop before you add it to your summer workwear. Remember that you can be called into a client meeting anytime. Take this into account before you make any summer workwear decisions.
Tailor your job search
Dressing for an interview or the job you want is easy. Getting that job can be the hard part.