What (Not) to Wear to Work this Summer

Avoid an Image Meltdown when the Mercury Rises

flip flops: what not to wear to work this summerWhen the sunny skies of summer roll around, it’s tempting to let a relaxed mood spill over into attire.  Beware when it comes to your work wardrobe.  Whether you’re the receptionist or the CEO, snap judgments are routinely made based on your appearance.  Many smart and talented workers have lost promotions because their look didn’t match the role.  Take the time to dress with intention so you’re sure to earn all you’re due. In most offices, flip-flops are a “don’t” to no one’s surprise, but what about the subtler choices of dressing for work?  Here, some tips to keep you on course.

Broad Coveragewear to work in summer - Kasper ruched-sleeve jacket from Macys

Summer fashions, by their nature, bare more skin.  Choose office-appropriate image over fashion flair by opting for modesty at work.  Cover up over-exposed skin on arms, back, or chest to keep professional.  Sleeveless summer dresses with halter necklines are made office-worthy with the simple addition of a jacket or cardigan.  Your clothing can do double-duty from work to social with a few simple tweaks.  It’s all in how you wear it.  (Remember that skirt hems at the office are best at or around knee length.)

Lighten Up

Lighter fabrics & cheery colors give that comfortable summer feel.  A head-to-toe lime green outfit isn’t likely to boost your professional image, but there are plenty of ways to incorporate color in moderation.  Consider waking up a basic black trouser-jacket combo with coral pumps for a color pop.  A bright sheath dress gets down to business when topped with a classic navy blazer and simple jewelry.  Maintaining balance is important.  Remember to keep something “serious” in the mix so your outfit remains work-appropriate.

Keep Your Coolwhat not to wear to work this summer: blue shirt

… and avoid the “blue”!  Guys, it’s that classic blue cotton shirt that most shows evidence of your overheated body during summer heat waves.  Avoid an uncomplimentary look with white, or other light color options. (And for your health’s sake, keep hydrated!)

Bottom-Up Focus

With flip flops on one end of the continuum, and fully-enclosed pumps on the other, a variety of foot-exposing options in between are now acceptable in many workplaces.  More-baring shoes beg for an extra level of pedi hygiene.   Wearing open-toed shoes require manicured toenails, and sling-backs mean tending to dry heels. Don’t skimp on grooming details — they, too, are a reflection of your work quality.

More on Professional Image.

Patty Buccellato http://refinedimages.net/

Patty Buccellato, is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups. Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls!   To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

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