Nothing says summer like cut-off shorts, sandals and tank tops. The days get hotter, longer and the Texas temperature soars into the triple digits. Don’t forget about getting inside your scorching hot black car with black leather seats at 5:00 PM– Getting a 3rd degree burn is the cherry on top to a busy 8-hour workday. Let’s face the inevitable, summer is in full-swing whether we like it or not. What does this mean exactly?
Appropriate Workplace Attire
Establishing a common ground for what “appropriate” workplace attire is challenging. Work-appropriate summer wardrobe for the workplace can mean one thing to one employee and something completely different to the next. Here, I’d like to outline what attire is appropriate for work and how to help Human Resources professionals define and set guidelines for your employees, of course with some fashion tips along the way.
Fabric Rule: Opt for clothing that is made out of thin material as this will prevent sweating and sticking to your clothes. Swap your sweaters for breathable summer fabric such as cotton, chambray, and linen. Have you heard of the popular “White Linen Night in the Heights” in Houston? This event promotes wearing linen, why… you guessed it, because it keeps you cool! I don’t promote wearing white linen pants to work, but you get my drift.
Décolletage Rule: Soon, employees will be switching their long-sleeved button down shirts for low cut sleeveless tops. But, be sure to cover up and refrain from revealing too much. A good “rule-of-thumb” would be showing no more than 2-3 inches below your collarbone.
Skirt Rule: Mid to knee-length pencil skirts are a great alternative for black slacks. Pair with a flowy top or blouse and you’re good to go (like the outfit below).
Dress Rule: Summer flowy dresses are also workplace appropriate as long as they are long enough. Have fun with patterns, bright colors- it is summer afterall!
Sleeveless Top Rule: Do not wear tank tops to work…ever. Even underneath a blazer. It is unprofessional and too casual for the workplace. I suggest 2-3 finger width for sleeveless tops. Be careful to not reveal too much décolletage as it can be a distraction as well as unprofessional.
Shoes Rule: Just because it’s summer doesn’t make flip flops appropriate to wear every day. Some employers prohibit flip flops all together or may only allow on select days such as “Casual Friday’s”. Closed toed shoes are great for the winter but what exactly do you wear for summer months? Ballet flats, peep-toed shoes, or thin socks with dress shoes are summer staples.
Leg Rule: Go crazy and swap your long thick dress pants for capris or slacks that hit right on the top of your ankle. You’ll be surprised how much cooler you’ll be wearing capris over long pants.
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Spread the Word: Send out a memo or mass email to your internal employees reminding them about your summer wardrobe policy. Provide examples of what is appropriate and what is not.