Tag Archives: summer business attire

Summer Office Attire: What to Wear When the Temperature Rises

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Business man pulling tie in front of ventilator at office.

It’s summertime, and while the living is supposed to be easy, deciding on your summer office attire, what to wear to work, is not. Our more casual world makes it difficult to know, on any given day, how to dress for the office; but summer poses even more challenges. Just because the temperature is soaring, you can’t throw the dress codes, if you have any, out the window and wear whatever feels comfy.

Whether it is summer or winter, the number one rule to follow when choosing what to wear to work in client-facing environments is to dress like a professional. People are going to make judgments about you based on your appearance. Your choice of summer office attire speaks to your professionalism and your credibility.

One size does not fit all in business. What you wear depends on four factors:

  1. The industry in which you work
  2. The job you have within the industry
  3. The geographical region in which you live
  4. Finally and most importantly, it’s what your clients expect to see.

Here are some tips about summer office attire for men and women during the hot summer months.

For men:

  1. If your usual attire is a business suit or a sports coat and tie, dressing down means simply leaving off your jacket. A long sleeve shirt and tie will still give you the look of a professional.
  2. A solid white or blue dress shirt offers the most polished look.  Small checks or stripes are fine, but resist the urge to break out your favorite Hawaiian shirt.
  3. Short sleeves rarely look business-like but are acceptable within certain industries and jobs.
  4. Choose a quality trouser for work even if you are not dressed in coat and tie. Jeans do not belong in the workplace unless the workplace is the great outdoors.
  5. Wear socks! Going without socks just because it is hot is oh-so not cool.
  6. Your choice of shoes matters. A casual shoe, such as a loafer, is more appropriate with your dress-down attire. Unless you are a lifeguard, sandals and flip-flops have no place in the workplace.

For Women:

  1. If you usually wear a skirted or pants suit, you may opt to leave off the jacket.
  2. Your choice of a blouse or top needs to be one with sleeves. Short sleeves are acceptable, but never sleeveless. Blouses and sweaters provide color and variety,but they should be appealing rather than revealing.
  3. Dresses are back in fashion again. Although the stores are filled with sleeveless dresses, let me repeat that sleeveless is not for the professional office. There are plenty of dresses out there with short or elbow length sleeves.
  4. Sun dresses are inappropriate in an office environment.
  5. If a dress is sleeveless or simply has shoulder straps, a light jacket or sweater should be worn over it. That can be a jacket with short or three-quarter length sleeves.
  6. Although they are popular, sandals of any kind and flip-flops are not workplace appropriate unless you are a Yoga instructor. In that case, you may even go bare-footed. It is not easy today to find flat or low-heeled shoes that look professional. Select a shoe with a closed toe and a strap around the heel or one with a closed heel and a hint of an open toe–a peep toe.
  7. Skirts, if they are short, should come to your knee. Hot weather is no excuse for those that only reach mid-thigh. A skirt more than two inches above the knee raises eyebrows and questions.

For those who think it’s not what you wear but how you do your job that creates success, give that some more thought. Business skills and experience count, but so does personal appearance. Impress your clients and customers all year round with the choices you make in what to wear to work.

If you arrive home at the end of the day and don’t have to change your clothes, you may have worn the wrong thing to work.

Photo from Savannah magazine

Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette and modern manners expert who helps individuals and organizations with professional conduct.  Since 1996, her keynote presentations, seminars and breakout sessions have educated and entertained thousands of attendees. She provides individual coaching  for those who want to improve their interpersonal skills..

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.

Lydia has suitcase; will travel. Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter or visit her website, lydiaramsey.com





Business Attire for Men When Temperatures Sizzles

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. Sandals and athletic shoes
  2. Collarless shirts
  3. Tee shirts with pictures or sayings on them
  4. Jeans of any kind
  5. 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.

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

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.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.