5 Tips For A Successful Summer “Business Casual” Wardrobe

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While a majority of companies practice business casual year-round at least one day per week, offices tend to get a bit more casual between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  This is primarily brought about by the warmer weather, which can push people to be more relaxed about their appearance.

Here are five tips to help you have a more successful image that won’t cost you your reputation (or your job) this summer:

Business First and Casual Second – Business casual is really a merger of two types of attire.  It combines traditional business wear which stands for professionalism and credibility, and casual wear which allows for comfort and creativity.  Generally, people take the term casual to mean what they wear on their day off, rather than what they wear if invited to a country club event.   Select lighter weight fabrics, brighter colors, and professionally styled separates to present a successful summer look.

Sleeve Length – Whether you a male or female, select your sleeve length carefully.  Studies show, the more skin you show, the less important you will appear!  So, long sleeves will always communicate more power than short sleeves.  Sleeveless is basically taboo, unless you are Michelle Obama and have perfectly toned arms!  Seriously, Michelle can be a trend setter, but most companies are not looking for you to make such a loud statement. Guys, your short sleeve length should cover your bicep, reaching closer to your elbow. Depending on the formality of your company, it is always best to coordinate a jacket, as you never know when an impromptu meeting may be held.

Toes or No Toes? I am never popular when I advise women to not wear open–toe shoes. Cute options include slingbacks and peek-a-boo toe styles. Some women like to wear mules (slip ons that do not have a back), but beware of the “flopping” sound many styles will make as you walk. Guys, flip flops are never advisable for even the most casual office settings.  Instead, select a moccasin style loafer in leather or suede.  Or, a pair of retro tennis shoes or top-siders are good options for very casual environments. If you must show your toes, make sure they are perfectly pedicured.

Grooming –   Dressing down does not mean dressing sloppily or sexy. Personal grooming is highly essential!  Don’t let your personal grooming routine go on vacation while you are still at work.  Substandard grooming (i.e. unshaven, no makeup, wet or unstyled hair) sends the message that you are lazy, unorganized, or lack common sense. A bonus to personal grooming, is that it doesn’t have to cost a lot and it allows you to show respect for yourself, which also shows respect for others.

Be Consistent – No matter what your company’s dress code allows, or the season of the year, presenting a consistent image is key to your success.  Brand yourself with a consistent image that represents the most capable image of “you” every day of the week.  This will send a message about you and your company that says you are reliable, smart, successful and serious about getting the job done.

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