Have you received that email allowing you to dress in ‘business casual’ for the summer? And if you have, do you have any idea what it means?
There’s no agreed dress code across all businesses, but there are some general dos and don’ts when it comes to stretching the corporate dress code to its limits.
Get it wrong and you could be damaging your image – and your chances of promotion.
Flip-flops and sandals – Don’t!
Most offices frown upon open-toed footwear of any type, even those that allow casual pump-style footwear throughout the summer. For women, there are plenty of closed-toe sandals in the shops at the moment, whereas men could opt for boat shoes that can be worn without socks.
Polo shirts & summer tops – Do!
Smart polo shirts are the perfect partner for those chinos. But choose one in a simple, plain colour and make sure any emblem is discreet. Summer tops are more office-friendly if tucked into tailored skirts, particularly high-waisted ones. But no spaghetti straps.
Shorts – Don’t!
You may work for a company that allows you to wear tailored knee-length shorts – but you’d be in the minority. Men are much better opting for light coloured chinos or linen trousers. Women can also opt for linen trousers or choose a pretty summer dress – no skimpy hemlines and, again, no spaghetti straps. Halterneck dresses are a big no.
Blazer – Do!
Jersey blazers and boyfriend blazers are in this season and are perfect for replacing both suit jacket and coat. Many stores have them available in summery colours and some styles have on-trend three-quarter length sleeves. If you think it’s too warm for a blazer, team your outfit with a cardigan. Cardies with elbow patches and collars are a good replacement for a jacket.
Bare legs – Be careful!
If you can’t bear to wear 5 denier sheen tights in the summer, then tanned, moisturised legs will be acceptable in most offices. But please consider buying a pack of those 5 denier tights – especially the ones in ‘sun-kissed’ colours.
Obviously, if you work somewhere where you wear overalls or a uniform, you can ignore our advice.