As the weather warms up it’s time to bring out the sandals with socks, crop tops, and flip flops to wear to work.
Oops, it appears I may have confused a list of “what to wear to work” with a list of “what not to wear to work.”
“Employees may be tempted to dress down in today’s workplace, especially during warmer months, but clothing that’s too casual or revealing can be frowned upon,” said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking.
“In warmer months, workplace fashion faux pas can run rampant,” added Cynthia Kong of OfficeTeam at the staffing company’s blog.
“Most of us have heard the saying that you should ‘dress for the job you want.’ We’ve also been raised to believe it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed,” wrote Kong. “But somehow, those lessons go right out the door for many professionals when the weather heats up.”
With many organizations allowing workers to wear more casual clothing in warmer weather, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your company’s official — and unofficial — dress codes.
“Observe what coworkers, including your manager and others in supervisory roles, wear. In general, if you’re on the fence about if something’s appropriate to wear to work, it probably isn’t,” advised Kong.
Why bother dressing professionally during the summer? “Although a polished appearance alone won’t land you a promotion, it can help others envision you in a leadership role,” said Hosking.
An OfficeTeam survey found 80 percent of executives said clothing choices affect a worker’s chances of earning a promotion.
According to Kong, in most business settings today, you should avoid fashion faux pas, including the following. Here are her opinions on each of these “what not to wear” item:
Shorts. Most guys have gotten the memo that shorts are best left for tee time and fishing trips, but there’s been some debate regarding whether it’s acceptable for women to wear shorts to the office. It may work in less formal environments, but shorts are still generally a no-no. The same goes for bermuda shorts. For women, a nice pair of cropped pants may make the cut in some workplaces.
Crop tops. A key lesson to remember when choosing work attire is that you should avoid showing too much skin. This isn’t a case where “less is more” applies. Crop tops can be cute for the weekend, if you’re feeling a little daring, but I’d advise against wearing midriff-baring clothing in the office. Opt for something a little more demure.
Flip-flops, gladiator sandals and other casual footwear. I’m personally a huge fan of flip-flops and wear them any chance I get, but I know there are limits. They’re just not appropriate for the office. Women can usually get away with wearing certain kinds of open-toed sandals, but I’d say the knee-high gladiator sandals all the stores are selling these days are a bit too bold for work. Unfortunately for men, donning sandals in the office just hasn’t become widely acceptable yet. Casual footwear like boat shoes and Converse sneakers may be borderline.
Sunglasses. Somewhere along the way, wearing sunglasses indoors started being cool. We can thank celebrities like Robin Thicke. Unless you have a valid reason to cover your eyes in the office, though, keep your sunglass-wearing to places like the beach and park.
Tank tops and halter tops. In most cases, T-shirts are frowned upon at the office due to their casual nature. Taking it a step further, tank tops, spaghetti straps and halter tops are usually on the “no” list, too. And don’t even think about stepping foot into work with a tube top on. I won’t say that going sleeveless is totally out of the question, since there are many women’s non-sleeved shirt options out there that are conservative and stylish. But as a general rule of thumb, it’s best to be cautious with the bare-armed look.
Hats. Pharrell may be able to get away with wearing that crazy hat of his everywhere, but that doesn’t mean your employer will be lenient about headwear. Your baseball caps, fedoras, straw trilbies, pork pie hats, etc. can sit tight in your closet.
Anything see-through. I know sheer clothing and lace are all the rage right now, but you want to make sure you’re not revealing too much in the office. With transparent fabrics, there can be a thin line between looking classy and indecent. If any of your undergarments are visible, it’s a sure-fire sign you’ve gone too far.
Tag Goulet is co-founder of FabJob.com and Academic Director of the International Association of Professions Career College which offers professional certificates for dream careers at www.iapcollege.com.