No matter how lovely the weather is, however, work still goes on – and it’s important to make sure that what you wear to work is appropriate for the office environment. While an increasing number of companies allow business casual or casual attire in the workplace, that doesn’t mean that what’s appropriate at a pool party works in a meeting with clients!
Here are some do’s and don’ts of what to wear to the office this summer.
Do invest in more formal business attire made of light fabric. Even if your work environment is casual, there are bound to be occasions when it will pay off to dress more formally. If you’re meeting with a client whose company culture is more conservative or if you’ll be giving a presentation at a seminar, you shouldn’t turn up in shorts and a t-shirt. Instead, purchase a few business outfits made out of light, blended fabrics that look formal but don’t leave you uncomfortably overheated.
Do invest in the right footwear. Strappy sandals are fine for women, but men should avoid wearing sandals to the office. Crocs should always be avoided. Sneakers are fine in casual settings, but loafers or semi-formal shoes are a better option for business casual.
Don’t wear flip-flops. They may be comfortable and cool, but they’re overly casual and make distracting “flip-flop” noises when you walk.
Do avoid short-shorts, mini-skirts and cut-off jeans. Whether you’re a man or a woman, super-short attire is not appropriate for the office setting and cut-off denim gives a messy impression.
Don’t avoid shorts or skirts altogether. Skirts and khaki or chino shorts can be worn, especially when it’s nice weather. Just make sure they’re an appropriate length and style for the office.
Don’t go sleeveless or strapless. Men should avoid shirts and t-shirts without sleeves—but short-sleeved shirts and nice t-shirts are fine. Women can wear sleeveless blouses but should avoid strapless tops or dresses.
Don’t wear sports gear. Even if you’re a dedicated basketball or hockey fan, it’s best not to wear your team’s shirt to work. Opt instead for shirts with a collar, preferably without any loud print.
Do be ready for the unexpected. There may be times when you have to go into a formal meeting unexpectedly. Keep a blazer or a couple of ties at your desk just in case, and you’ll always be prepared to make a good impression.
If you’re still having trouble making up your mind about whether a piece of clothing is appropriate or not, just ask yourself if a client would take you seriously if he or she met you wearing this outfit. When in doubt, always err on the conservative side. It’s better to be safe than sorry—and nobody wants to lose a project or even a job over a wardrobe slip-up!