Last week I wrote about how women should dress for work during the hot summer months. At the risk of repeating myself, I pointed out out that women have more choices and challenges than men when it it comes to deciding how to dress professionally when temperatures soar. When it comes to business attire for men and business casual, it is pretty straight forward. There are fewer choices.
In a strictly formal business environment, there is little choice. Bankers, brokers and financial advisers need to present themselves in a trustworthy and serious manner. Having said that, it leaves no room for deviation. The person who deals with other people’s finances needs to look the part by dressing in a business suit and tie. No matter what the thermometer reads, his attire should remain consistent. Behind the closed door of his office, he can remove his coat and loosen the tie, but when he steps out or a client comes in, it’s back to coat and tie.
If the office environment is informal or casual, here are my suggestions and cautions.
- The operative word in business casual is “business.” If man wants to be comfortable and yet maintain a professional look, his best choice is to wear a full or long-sleeve dress shirt, tucked in of course, with a quality pant and matching belt and shoes. His shoes can be a relaxed loafer or slip on shoe, well-polished and maintained. A tie kept nearby will allow him to dress up a notch if the need arises.
- If the work environment is less formal, short sleeve shirts may be acceptable but do not say “business” the way long sleeves do.
No matter what the temperature or how casual the setting, the following are all no-no’s:
- Sandals and athletic shoes
- Collarless shirts
- Tee shirts with pictures or sayings on them
- Jeans of any kind
- Any clothing that is wrinkled or stained
It should go without saying that men who work outdoors have more license to dress down. Even they need to start the business day, neat and clean.
Business goes on as usual regardless of the temperature. Keep in mind that your business attire is intended to show respect for your clients. It is all about the client, not about you.
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.