November 9, 2011

summer wardrobe at the office

For those of us in the southern hemisphere it's time to put away the jerseys, coats and scarfs because summer is on it's way. I have had my share of layering for this season so I am really looking forward to making the switch!

But rising temperatures mean less clothes, so it's a good idea to check out a few guidelines for summer dress code in order to avoid controversy at your office ☺. Some things to keep in mind are:

  • Location of your office: It gets really hot where I live and work. I am thankful each morning to arrive at work because we have air conditioning at the office, and this makes it a little easier to dress appropriately. But many companies don't have that luxury. If you work in unbearable heat, I'm not sure if it's possible to cover up as much, but I would still try to aim for a look that doesn't show too much skin around your neckline, and doesn't expose your waist or thighs.
  • Client facing or not?: This is probably the most important factor to consider because it has a direct impact on your credibility and your employer's image. Looking sloppy or under-dressed when dealing with customers might prompt them to consider another supplier, as they might not trust your professional opinion as much. You should always aim to send the message that you take yourself and your job seriously.
  • Employer's dress code: Rules are rules, and if your employer has taken the time to write them down, they count for everyone. Some workplaces allow a casual dress code every day, while others allow jeans on Fridays only. Have you had a look at your employer's dress code? Do you want to be known as the one who always sees how far she can stretch the rules?
  • Your personal brand: Dressing inappropriately or sloppy will do damage to people's opinion of you at work - guaranteed! Also, if you are allowed to dress casually on a Friday, have you thought of using this opportunity to distinguish yourself by adding a bit of professionalism to your casual outfit? A button-down shirt or professional top with your jeans, chinos instead of worn-out jeans, shiny pumps instead of athletic shoes? Even if not required, it shows that you would like to look well groomed and ready for business even on casual Friday. Have you tried this? Noticed how people treat you differently?

Like I mentioned in a previous post, there are several sites and blogs that may help you determine what would be appropriate in an office setting, and if you feel totally clueless about what suits you it might even be worth booking a session with an image consultant.

I found this wardrobe basics checklist for those of you who would like to use a basic guide when building your repertoire.

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