What’s hot, what’s not. Don’t get caught wearing inappropriate summer clothes for your particular work environment.
As the weather turns warm (or warmer), there’s a tendency for many to think any kind of summer wear can be worn for any workplace. Unless there’s a definite uniform such as police have (there are summer versions with short sleeves and even shorts for certain divisions), it’s best to follow some practical tips and basic rules.
Check with HR for any dress codes or policies
Always first find out if such a policy exists, and then make sure to follow it as best you can. If it’s a very outdated one (for example, that women or even men cannot wear short sleeves), consider an informal survey to see if it can be changed. Be prepared though, that even if there is no formal policy, there might well be a dress code in effect that employees are expected to understand. Construction workers would never be allowed on site without safety regulation boots/shoes, but tank tops are certainly allowed.
No Formal Dress Code? Use common sense
And yes, common sense tends to be a rare trait. Most offices still do not like sleeveless tops for either men or women. This is easy to overcome by wearing a cool short sleeved vest so popular right now – most of these are crocheted, so these overtops still breath while allowing you to wear that tank top. Men can do a similar outfit by using one of the summer jackets – lined and usually of a cotton blend to keep sweat at bay.
Don’t neglect the feet area. Most offices still frown on sandals with open toes, usually due to potential problems if you slam your unprotected tootsies into a filing cabinet. So think protection, not just coolness. Some offices though will allow employees to wear socks with open toed sandals on casual Fridays. Short shorts are still a no-no though, even for casual Fridays. Even summer counsellors should not wear too short shorts – for the simple reason of protection while still having fun with the little troupers.
Hints and Tips
There are some great summer fabrics out there – and there’s nothing wrong with pairing a sheer shirt with a tank top underneath. This will keep you cool; you’ll look and feel cool; and you still have your arms covered.
Keep an eye on the composition of your summer clothes. Cotton has come a long way from its days of shrinkage. Cotton and polyester is not as cool as a straight cotton; careful on the linen/cotton blends as these tend to need more attention to washing and drying while keeping original shape. Both Mark’s Work Wearhouse and Jones New York offer great no-iron cotton shirts for both men and women. These are a great addition to any wardrobe, not just for summer.
Keep some talc or baby powder with you/at the office/workplace. Use it as needed to tone down the sweat from underarms or other body parts. You’ll find it’s a quick refresher-upper – just go to the bathroom to put it on.
Beach Attire is for the Beach
Remember – keep the beach attire for the beach. If in doubt, err on the side of caution. Your place of employment is still a professional environment, so dress accordingly. And if you work at a summer pool – you get to be professional yet still get a chance to dive in!