Friday, June 27, 2008

Hazy, Hot & Humid Temps Are Here -- How Much Should You Show At Work?

With the long July 4th holiday weekend just around the corner, and more companies holding barbecues, picnics and other social outings, the topic of conversation this time of year usually turns to what is acceptable – and not – to wear in a work-related setting.

In many offices around the country, short sleeves, short skirts, bare legs and flip-flops have been visible since Memorial Day.

What are you wearing right now as you read this blog? Would you say it’s appropriate for an office setting or to meet an important client or prospect on a sales call?

This time of year causes many professionals confusion – not being sure what is acceptable to wear at work or in other business settings – and also make serious fashion faux pas.

If you’re unsure how to answer the two questions I asked above, it’s time to think about your "package,” and what it may be saying about you. If your managers are upset with the choice of clothing you have on, but are hesitant to tell you, your summer outfit could, ultimately cost you a job or desired promotion.

Here’s my list (in no particular order) of most certainly do NOTs for warm weather professional attire – what I like to call “Things Your Boss Does Not Want to See This Summer:

- T-shirts with writing on them (except company logos)
- Tank tops
- Sweat stains
- Ball caps
- Stinky shoes
- Cargo shorts
- Jeans
- Chest hair
- Flip flops
- Braless outfits (it doesn’t matter what your size is)
- Tan lines
- Loafers with no socks
- Sunglasses on your head
- Beachwear
- Patched/safety-pinned clothes
- Belly rings
- Tattoos that show
- Underwear lines
- Low rise pants (thongs sticking out)
- Colored underwear
- Athletic shorts
- Yoga pants
- Sleeveless shirts
- Athletic sandals
- Sneakers
- Backless shirts
- Short, short skirts
- Buttons/zippers undone
- Cleavage
- Anything that is too tight
- See-through skirts
- Loud, flashy patterns

Now, for some acceptable “Classic Casual” and “Smart Casual” summer wardrobe options for professionals ...

Women have the following options for “business casual”

• Casual skirts, slacks or “skorts”
• Cotton shirts in solids, prints, or muted plaids
• Sweaters (not too tight)
• Blazers look good over slacks or casual skirt

Men can wear the following as acceptable “business casual”
• Chinos or “Dockers”-type trousers
• Sport shirts with collars or banded necks
• Polo shirts (with collars)
• Sweater or sport jacket
• Casual loafers or lace-up shoes

The image presented to clients, whether in their office or yours, is of utmost importance. If you are in doubt about whether an outfit is appropriate this summer, it’s probably not.

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