We act the way we dress. Neglected and untidy clothes reflect a neglected and untidy mind. However, the changing seasons certainly play a role.
How we dress for social occasions changes drastically from winter to summer, as we obviously adjust to the outdoor temperature. But does the same rule hold true for professional attire? Are you really risking your professional presence when you let your guard down on hot days? Yes.
Let’s start with the dress code. Does your company have one? If you’re not sure, it’s better to ask someone than to unknowingly violate the code and risk being sent home from work, or leaving your employer with a bad impression.
With the prevalence of business casual in the work place, one might expect the answer to be different. However, it still seems to be the consensus that business is business, and the office is no place for tank tops or flip flops.
At least one personal shopper is even of the opinion that sleeveless dresses and shirts are inappropriate for women in the work place. But if you decide that sleeveless will work for your situation, do make sure that the material is light but not revealing, bra straps are tucked in and necklines aren’t too low.
Many experts feel that sandals are just too casual for the work place. Pumps are ok, but wear hose. (Oh, wait, some experts say it’s ok not to wear hose. Maybe it’s a good idea to check the office dress code on this point.)
It’s tough to commute in the hot weather. If you’re on a hot train or have to walk any distance to work, you certainly don’t want to be wearing a heavy, dark suit. Dress in layers. Have a jacket or sweater that you can put on once you’re in the air-conditioned office.
There’s nothing wrong with wearing brighter colors and lighter fabrics (cotton, linen or silk) in the hot months, but they still need to be business appropriate. Skirts can’t be too short and tops can’t be too low.
Typical with fashion, it seems much easier for men than for women to dress appropriately for the summer. Just don’t show up to the office in shorts and sandals. Keep your shirt tucked in. As with women, the jacket or blazer should be lighter in weight, but you will still need one. And please, wear socks!
Experts agree that for both men and women, grooming is important. Don’t let the hair do’s get too lax in the summer. Keep the nails groomed.
The point is, even in the heat of summer, your company’s customers will expect you to look professional whenever you are doing business with them. Don’t risks turning off a client because you are dressed so casually that they get the impression you’re not serious about your business. If they are spending their money with you, they expect you to take them seriously. It’s hard for them to do that if you look like you’re on your way to the beach.
You may work in an office that has a very loose dress code, where everyone dresses casually every day – even the owner or CEO! Take the experts’ advise with a grain of reality. But ask yourself, who will you be seeing during the course of the day? Do customers come into the office? Who are your customers? How do they dress? What will they think? Do you have appointments outside of the office? How will they be dressed? What are their expectations? If you choose your wardrobe from the point of view of your customer and employer, you probably won’t go wrong.