Sum­mer of­fice wear

Fash­ion and eti­quette ex­perts weigh in on what’s ac­cept­able to wear to work when the heat threat­ens to cramp your style.

Stamford Advocate (Sunday) - - Classified - By Lily Mar­tis, Mon­ster staff © 2018 — Mon­ster World­wide, Inc. All Rights Re­served. You may not copy, re­pro­duce or dis­trib­ute this ar­ti­cle with­out the prior writ­ten per­mis­sion of Mon­ster World­wide. This ar­ti­cle first ap­peared on Mon­ To see other

Sum­mer out­fits for the of­fice can be tricky to put to­gether. As the tem­per­a­ture rises, you might be sorely tempted to ditch the col­lared shirts and loafers for T-shirts and flip-flops. But ex­perts say that no mat­ter how hot it gets, sum­mer is not the time to take a va­ca­tion on pro­fes­sion­al­ism. “Your im­age is 12 months a year,” Diane Gotts­man eti­quette ex­pert, au­thor, and owner of The Pro­to­col School of Texas, told Mon­ster. “You can’t slack just be­cause it’s sum­mer. You’re not go­ing to work to make a fash­ion state­ment; you’re go­ing to make a pro­fes­sional ap­pear­ance.” For sum­mer of­fice wear ad­vice, Mon­ster re­cently spoke with Gotts­man and three other fash­ion and eti­quette ex­perts: He Spoke Style menswear fash­ion blog­ger Brian Sa­cawa, for­mer Racked shop­ping di­rec­tor Tif­fany Yan­netta, and life­style and eti­quette ex­pert, TV host, and com­men­ta­tor Elaine Swann. Fol­low these gen­eral guide­lines be­low, and then check to see what clothes you should and shouldn’t wear to work in the sum­mer.

Sum­mer dress code guide­lines

1. Check your com­pany’s pol­icy. First things first: You should check to see what your com­pany’s dress code pol­icy is on sum­mer of­fice at­tire. Are you al­lowed to wear shorts or open-toed shoes? If your com­pany hand­book doesn’t give spe­cific dress code in­struc­tions, ask your man­ager what’s ap­pro­pri­ate. “There’s no sense in go­ing three steps above the norm,” Swann says. “A good rule of thumb to fol­low in the sum­mer is to stay within the com­pany cul­ture and don’t broach any of the com­pany guide­lines.”

2. Look around the of­fice. Of course, what you wear de­pends on what kind of job you have, what in­dus­try you’re in, and your work en­vi­ron­ment. In fi­nance and le­gal pro­fes­sions, the dress will be much more but­toned-up and con­ser­va­tive com­pared to tech or sales work­ers. For ex­am­ple, T-shirts or strappy san­dals might be cool to wear in Sil­i­con Val­ley, but that doesn’t mean they are go­ing to fly on Wall Street. “You have to take the tem­per­a­ture of your par­tic­u­lar work­place to get a feel for what’s ac­cept­able,” Sa­cawa says. “The best way to do that, like if you’re a new hire, is to see how other peo­ple in the of­fice are dress­ing and try to fit in to that cul­ture.” 3. Put your best foot for­ward. It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that even though cer­tain cloth­ing items may be al­lowed, your of­fice is one big free-for-all, or your boss dresses like a to­tal slob, all four ex­perts said that what you put on your back is a re­flec­tion of your pro­fes­sion­al­ism. Even in a ca­sual en­vi­ron­ment, it’s still not any­thing goes. “In­vest in your ap­pear­ance, and you’ll in­vest in your ca­reer, as well,” Sa­cawa says. “If you dress well, it’s a way of show­ing peo­ple re­spect, that you want to be taken se­ri­ously, and that you view your­self as a pro­fes­sional.”

What to wear:

1. Pants. For men, your cloth­ing op­tions for your bot­tom half are gen­er­ally lim­ited to pants (see our views on shorts be­low). If you want to step it up from reg­u­lar chi­nos, Sa­cawa says you should buy cot­ton or linen pants made to mea­sure. For women, the op­tions ex­tend beyond pants. The ex­perts also like capris, cu­lottes, and jump­suits (but no rompers). 2. Tops and dresses. While this is ul­ti­mately sub­jec­tive to your com­pany, the ex­perts said sleeve­less tops and dresses are stylish and prac­ti­cal op­tions for women in the sum­mer— just be sure to stay away from any­thing offthe-shoul­der, one-sleeved, or with spaghetti straps or a hal­ter top. Yan­netta adds that hem­lines should typ­i­cally go no higher than your fin­ger­tips when your arms are lay­ing flat on your sides. For men, Sa­cawa says the amount of arm you show de­pends on your job. In a cre­ative field, T-shirts and po­los are ac­cept­able (no tank tops), but in fi­nance and more con­ser­va­tive fields, long-sleeved but­ton-downs and suits are the norm. To keep from sweat­ing through your suit, Sa­cawa rec­om­mends cot­ton or linen, as they are more breath­able and lightweight fab­rics. 3. Socks. Al­ways, al­ways wear socks with dress shoes. Sa­cawa rec­om­mends no-show socks to keep your shoes from stink­ing, while still hav­ing that trendy “sock­less” look. 4. Silk tie. If your work­place re­quires men to wear ties, Sa­cawa sug­gests a silk-knit tie for sum­mer. “A silk-knit tie is dif­fer­ent than your reg­u­lar seven-fold tie, as it shows that you’ve thought about your style in a sea­sonal way,” he says. “It’s a sim­ple way to stand out with­out stand­ing out and shows that you’ve put that ex­tra time into your ap­pear­ance.” 5. Lay­ers. It might feel like a desert out­side, but most build­ings tend to crank up the AC to near-Antarc­tic tem­per­a­tures dur­ing the sum­mer months. This is where lay­er­ing comes into play. Gotts­man says pair­ing your out­fit with a lightweight jacket or a cardi­gan is a great way to ad­just to the dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­tures you’ll en­counter through­out your day.

What not to wear

1. Shorts. Shorts aren’t your typ­i­cal of­fice at­tire, but again, it ul­ti­mately de­pends on where you work. At shop­ping blog Racked, Yan­netta says she and other peo­ple in cre­ative fields or with laid-back of­fice cul­tures could get away with wear­ing shorts in the sum­mer, but in more con­ser­va­tive in­dus­tries, pants are your best bet. “As a guide­line, you have to make sure your shorts aren’t too short or too ca­sual,” Yan­netta says. “It’s tricky; cut­off denim shorts are a hard no, but longer, Ber­muda-style shorts made of trouser ma­te­rial can be OK.” As ac­cept­able for the guys, in a cre­ative Sa­cawa says field. shorts may be “Your 9-inch shorts in­seam,” should he says. have “The be­tween shorter a 5- shorts to have whereas a more longer clas­sic, shorts 1950s are more vin­tage con­tem­po­rary feel, and mod­ern.” How­ever, shorts that Sa­cawa go lower says than cargo your shorts knees and are board huge fash­ion faux pas. 2. Skimpy at­tire. It’s per­fectly fine for women to show their shoul­ders (in most of­fices), but show­ing off your back—or wear­ing some­thing with those cute lit­tle cut-outs—is tak­ing things a bit too far. Nix tube tops, crop tops, and plung­ing neck­lines. That last one goes for guys, too—never but­ton the front of your shirt half way. As a gen­eral rule of thumb, if it looks like you could wear it to the beach or a bar­be­cue, it’s not the look for work. 3. Flip-flops. Flip-flop­ping around the of­fice is gen­er­ally frowned upon. For ladies, the ex­perts agreed that san­dals with an an­kle strap or back­ing are OK, but any­thing that goes be­tween your toes is a strict no—re­gard­less of how much money you spent on them. As for men, Sa­cawa says to stay away from any type of shoe that shows your feet. In­stead, men can put their best foot for­ward in a loafer—Sa­cawa says suede loafers are per­fect for the sum­mer­time, both at work and off-duty. While we’re on the sub­ject of footwear, Gotts­man also says to make sure all of your shoes are in good con­di­tion. And if you do show off your toes, make sure they’re well kept. Bot­tom line: Check your of­fice pol­icy, and then use your judg­ment. “En­joy the lightweight col­ors, fab­rics, and ca­su­al­ness of the sum­mer,” Swann says, “but al­ways be pre­pared to bump it up one notch in the event you’re meet­ing with clients or ex­ec­u­tives.”

Tai­lor your job search

Dress­ing for the job you want is the easy part. The not-as-easy part? Get­ting in front of the peo­ple do­ing the hir­ing. Could your in­ter­view skills use some tai­lor­ing? Join Mon­ster to­day. As a mem­ber, you’ll get ca­reer ad­vice and job search tips sent right to your in­box. Whether you want to learn how to an­swer tough in­ter­view ques­tions or how to best talk about your spe­cific skill set, we’ve got you cov­ered—just like a smart-look­ing suit.

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