I think I can finally say it’s summer.
I mean, even my friend in Minnesota bought her daughter a bathing suit last weekend.
Now summer may not be quite as brutal in your neck of the woods as it can be in Houston, but heat is here to stay. And as a result, our work fashion changes. Unfortunately, summer is the one season when folks seem to throw some basic common sense out of the window when it comes to what’s appropriate for work. If you wore it to the weekend barbecue, then it shouldn’t make an appearance at the office the following week.
Here’s a few simple Do’s and Don’t’s to keep your career on track despite the summer heat.
1. Do inject color into your wardrobe. Summer store windows are full of warm corals and bright greens and every other assortment of color. Embrace a little color in your wardrobe! If you don’t have a lot of color, you can purchase a fun low cost accessory like a patterned scarf or statement necklace. Also, there are a lot of professional dresses for summer that are dressier than a sundress but provide you with a solid alternative to trousers and blazers.
2. Do layer. I don’t know about you, but Houston A/C units work overtime and my office can freeze in mid-July. Throw a blazer or pretty cardigan into the car when you leave and it’s 85 degrees and then toss it on when it’s time to walk into the office.
3. Do keep your pedicure up. Inevitably, you’ll be wearing a peep toe shoe into the office (not more, see “don’t’s”) and you want to keep polish unchipped and feet well maintained – which you can absolutely do at home if you’re on a tight budget.
1. Don’t wear flip-flops or similar casual sandals. One of the biggest mistakes I see in the summer comes in the form of footwear. You can have a perfectly polished outfit and lose all career ambition when you throw on inappropriate footwear. I stick to a peep toe. Super strappy sandals or shoes that slap down the hallway should be kept in the closet Monday through Friday.
2. Don’t show too much skin. Skirts should come to just above the knee. Sleeveless blouses should be worn with something over them. Sundresses should be kept for the weekend unless they can look work appropriate with a buttoned up blazer over them.
3. Don’t go overly casual. Summer means higher temperature not a change in office culture or opportunity. In fact, you may be asked to step into a bigger project or opportunity because someone on your team is on vacation. You should always look professional and ready to step into the next promotion or leadership role. Looking the part does impact how you are perceived and a too-casual summer wardrobe undercuts a professional image.
Also, don’t go by what women’s fashion websites have labeled as “wear to work.” Often it is informal or unprofessional looking. Look at the executives in your company and use that (sometimes) as a tool to see what works.