Summer Office Attire


Now that we are in the full swing of the hot summer months, what we wear to work can sometimes be a bit challenging. Many employers allow staff members to dress business causal at least one day each week. The heat causes most of us to wear fewer clothes and that’s perfectly fine- to an extent. It’s important to keep in mind this is still the office and your choice of clothing can dictate how seriously you are taken. So the question that I hear most often is “What is proper summer office attire”?

My answer is to follow a few simple rules. First, choose your wardrobe carefully. When you get dressed in the morning consider a few key points: what type of image do you want to portray? Do you have any contact with clients? What does this outfit say about my professionalism and credibility? It’s also important that you think carefully about the industry and the environment in which you work. Job positions in the arts and entertainment might be a bit more relaxed and have wiggle room for creativity; whereas in the financial sector, the guidelines might dictate a more strict code of standard.

My second rule to keep in mind is: put a bit of effort into your wardrobe selection.  Create an ensemble. Don’t just throw on a sweater over spaghetti straps. By just adding a belt to the two you’ll pull off a more cohesive look. A specific business ensemble will speak volumes, and convey that you care about the way you are presented.

Third: avoid showing too much skin. It's inappropriate to show a lot of skin at the workplace. You don’t want to make others, men and women alike, feel uncomfortable. Your wardrobe is not supposed to be a distraction. So stay away form shorts (both men and women), super mini skirts, and shoulder bearing tops.

Keep in mind, there is a distinct difference between outerwear and inner wear. When you look in the mirror if you see a great picnic or beach outfit staring back at you then it’s more than likely the wrong choice for work.

Women should avoid wearing the following: 

  • Halter tops

  • Bare-midriffs

  • Tube tops or dresses

  • Plunging necklines

  • Short, short skirts

Men should avoid wearing the following: 

  • Improper message T-shirts

  • Shorts

  • Undershirt showing

  • Shirt un-tucked (unless it has a short edge bottom or side vents then it’s okay)

  • Flip flops (this just says sloppy when it comes to work)


Finally, keep in mind what the sun will do to your skin.  Avoid having your sunburned shoulders exposed. Although your skin might be uncomfortable, and it’s surely a natural thing that occurs, folks don’t want to see you peeling and  flaking all over the place. It’s rather unsightly. Just slather on the moisturizer and wear light breathable fabric such as 100% cotton or linen.