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Summer Office Attire

06.18.12

Author: Jillian Joseph

Summer in the city – temperatures soar into the 90’s and beyond, the air is often damp and muggy, and a commute to the office that was once a few blocks now feels like a trudge through the Amazon.  It’s understandable then that Washingtonians favor dressing more casually in order to keep cool.  So how do professionals strike a balance between casual and professional (especially when our wardrobes) are already so limited? Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind when dressing to impress AND beat the heat:

Remember you’re still at the office.

Plunging necklines are great for the beach, however depending on the level of professionalism and customer service interactions at your workforce, may not always be very appropriate (this applies to men as well!).  So pair a jacket or cardigan with a strapless/spaghetti strap sun dress, miniskirt, shorts, capris, or virtually anything see- through that way you can mix casual cool with professional standards. Also hold a garment up to the light before trying it on to ensure that when you step outside you won’t feel “naked.”

Pay attention to footwear.

Flip flops and casual sandals are your friends during your commute to and from work and on the weekends, but most offices expect closed-shoes. So keep a back-up pair in your purse or tote in case you have to do a lot of walking during lunch (or in the unfortunate event that your favorite pair of pumps blows a heel in the stairwell).  For a polished look, we recommend that men wear shoes with socks and women (if your company allows open-toed or backless shoes) go for a well manicured look. Remember the golden rule to surviving the heat: drink plenty of water!

Stay prepared by layering light fabrics.

It’s easier to stay cool in lightweight materials like silk, cotton, linen and different cotton blends. Your skin breathes best in these natural fabrics – avoid synthetic clothes at all costs!  Also remember to dress in layers because the difference in temperature between the sidewalks of DC and your air-conditioned office is vast.

Take cues from your superiors.

Each office and work environment is different, so if you’re ever in doubt about the dress code, simply follow examples set by office executives and other authority figures.  Wearing indecent or improper attire can cast doubt on your credibility – especially when meeting with clients.  If you find yourself truly stumped about a certain piece of clothing, don’t be afraid to consult HR for dress-code details: that’s part of their job!

We hope these tips help you to ultimately to stay cool this summer - both literally and figuratively!

Written by Trey Jones

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