Business Casual Tips for Summer
We've been waiting months to store away our away our scarves
and sweaters. But there's a down side to the balmy weather:
Even if you take off your suit jacket, the shirt underneath it
is plastered to your sweaty back before you board your train.
dressing is a challenge year-round, but figuring out what
clothing is acceptable for the office -- but comfortable enough
for the heat -- gets even harder in the summertime. Are polo
shirts professional enough? Do you really need to wear
pantyhose when it's so hot you can barely pull them on?
Before you go shopping for your summer work wardrobe, consult
your company's dress code. You may have a formal policy on
whether seasonal pieces like sandals and T-shirts are
acceptable. If your company does not have a written dress code,
ask yourself the following questions:
What kind if industry do I work in? Is it typically very
What is my office culture/environment?
What image am I trying to portray?
Do I have frequent contact with customers?
Some general guidelines
Spring and summer clothing are defined by bright, cheery
colors. Don't be afraid to add some of this color to your
work wardrobe. Even the most conservative wardrobes can
look more seasonal with a colorful scarf or pin. That said,
don't go overboard. A pink shirt, skirt, shoes, scarf and
handbag will have you looking more Easter egg than office
White and lacy clothing are especially popular this year,
but if you choose to wear these fabrics, also make sure
you're wearing appropriate undergarments. A little
overexposure can go a long way in souring your
You should also always keep a cardigan or blazer at your
desk. It can provide a quick cover-up if you get called in
for an important meeting, and can also come in handy in an
overly air conditioned office.
The gray area
When it comes to specific seasonal attire, employers'
policies vary greatly. Check with your employer before
Sandals and open-toed shoes -- If your toes are
going to be exposed, keep your feet clean and neatly
Capri pants and gauchos -- Some styles of these
cropped and flowing pants can be quite dressy. If you
choose to wear them, pair them with dressy, professional
Polos and T-shirts -- Stick to conservative, basic
styles in a good quality material. Shirts should never be
too tight or have large prints or logos.
Trendy jewelry -- Big earrings, necklaces and belts
are very popular right now, but use discretion when wearing
them to work. Avoid wearing accessories -- like large
earrings that jangle -- that can become distracting to
Leave these at home
Above all, avoid any clothing that is sheer, sloppy or
revealing. The following are some of the worst
Halter, strapless or tank tops
Concert T-shirts or shirts with offensive slogans or
Bottom line: Go ahead and enjoy the season, but when it
comes to office wear, always err on the side of
Rosemary Haefner is the Vice President of Human
Resources for CareerBuilder.com. She is an expert in
recruitment trends and tactics, job seeker behavior,
workplace issues, employee attitudes and HR
Copyright 2008 CareerBuilder.com. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.
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