Summer officially arrives on June 20th, and once again what to wear to work is a hot topic. Understandably, we all want to be comfortable in the heat of the summer. However, in their desire to cool down, some people forget that, regardless of the temperature, what they wear to work should always be professional. Summer business dress is not to be taken lightly.
Now is a perfect time for every organization that wants to relax its dress code for the next couple months to put in place a clear policy for summer business dress. Left to their own devices, many employees show more creativity in their attire than in their job.
Business dress is determined by four factors:
- The industry in which you work.
- The job you have within that industry.
- The geographic region in which you live.
- What your client expects to see.
If you want to implement a casual summer dress policy, make sure it fits your industry. It’s a lot easier for the owner of the bike shop to dress casually in the heat than it is for the manager of the brokerage house.
Dress appropriately for your job. The person who works behind the scenes with minimal customer contact has more freedom with casual dress than the person who sits at the front desk greeting the public.
Geography plays a role in style of clothing and choice of fabric. It’s not just temperature, but overall lifestyle, that affects clothing decisions. Where you live affects how you dress from colors to fabrics to styles.
The most important factor to keep in mind when deciding what is appropriate business dress for the summer months is your client. What your clients expect to see when they come to your office or encounter you out at lunch on a workday is critical when you choose your summer business dress. When bank employees come to work in polo shirts and khakis or sundresses and sandals, their customers may wonder if the organization has relaxed its approach to handling their money as well.
If you are a letter carrier or a UPS employee, shorts are the norm for summer. If you are a life guard, flip-flops are a natural. Think twice before you or your employees shed your traditional attire and bare your flesh in the office. Does it fit your industry, your job and your clients’ expectations?
Business etiquette rules apply all year long. When you decide to adapt your appearance due to heat and humidity, make sure your summer business dress continues to reflect your professionalism.
Chapter Four of my book, Manners That Sell-Adding the Polish That Builds Profits, deals specifically with business dress–everything from business formal to business casual attire. Order your copy today so you can be sure that what you wear to work sends the message you want your clients to receive.
Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.
Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions. Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.
Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.