5 Tips for Professional Dress This Summer
Style goes hand-in-hand with professionalism just as heat goes with summer. However, when we put the two together, the outcome can be disastrous for both men and women alike. Your wardrobe is pivotal in establishing a positive reputation in the workplace; however, staying cool in scorching temperatures is also important. How do you find the right balance?
“It takes a little advance planning but looking your best and staying cool in the heat can be achieved,” Sharon Schweitzer, a former employment attorney, and international etiquette and cross-cultural expert, said. “In fact, it’s a time of year that encourages creativity and provides options.” Here are Schweitzer’s five tips for professional attire in the midst of summer heat:
1 – Mirror, Mirror: Start with a thorough evaluation.
Be sure to have a full-length mirror installed in your home. When you dress, you can do a 360 in the mirror and analyze your presentation from another perspective. “Observe your image as the prospective hiring manager, CEO, or top client,” Schweitzer said. “Ask yourself: Do I build trust and inspire respect from the customer’s point-of-view? If the response isn’t 100% positive—reconsider your attire.”
2 – Don’t forget the crucial “pops” for personality.
While a corporate wardrobe may sound like a downer for some, it can be personalized with additional small touches that express personal taste. Pops of color such as scarves, pocket squares, and statement jewelry are fun ways to tastefully express yourself without overdoing it. There are many men that love to accessorize a suit with a creative pair of socks or a fun tie. Be mindful to avoid tackiness and stay professional when playing with personal pops.
3 – Separate outfits for work and play.
Where many professionals go wrong during the summer is dressing down or going too casual for a workplace setting. Don’t let this happen to you.
Purposefully divide your wardrobe into categories for more professional meetings, and for parties on the weekends. Organize the pieces accordingly to leave no room for confusion. Then you won’t pull out the denim cut-off capris for a weekday client dinner.
4 – Outfit preparations are a must for the organized professional.
Prepare for the week ahead on Sunday and prepare for each day of the week the night before. Check the weather and style an appropriate wardrobe. Be sure it’s clean and pressed so you are not scrambling to find an unwrinkled blouse early in the morning.
5 – Different environments determine different protocols.
No matter the industry, some clothing items and trends are off-limits due to their lack of professionalism.
Overly casual clothing such as athleisure, flip-flops, worn-out sneakers, jumpers, shorts, and capris are unprofessional. Avoid showing too much skin. Backless and strapless tops, crop-tops, short-shorts, miniskirts, sheer fabric, and spaghetti straps are reserved for social events on the weekend.
What about those sleeveless tops? Organizational culture determines the answer to this on a case-by-case basis. Bring a lightweight linen jacket or summer sweater to cover your shoulders in the office AC if you are unsure.
Temperatures play a role in an appropriate wardrobe. As a polished professional, it’s your job to know the difference between right and wrong. Learn how to keep cool while still looking your best.