Inside HR: Summer dress code tips for casual Fridays

We know it's hot out there, but it's still important to look professional. Credit: Digital Vision
We know it’s hot out there, but it’s still important to look professional.
Credit: Digital Vision

Ah, summer. Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, your office culture may be a little more lax. Not only are the hours potentially more relaxed on Fridays — so, too, is the dress code. There are several ways to look and feel more comfortable at work without getting onto human resources’ radar screen.

Get schooled on your company’s policy

Not to become the HR police or anything, but simply take a few minutes to read the rules which are probably posted on your company’s intranet site. If you’re relatively new to the office and it’s your first summer at your company, it’s even more important to peruse the policy instead of relying on observing colleagues for dress code cues.

Remember, you’re still in a professional environment

According to an OfficeTeam survey, 80 percent of managers said how their team dresses will positively or even negatively impact whether or not they’ll get promoted. Yes, your summer attire counts.

Dress in layers

Yes, even though its summer. If you wear a linen dress to the office, bring a blazer. If you’re a guy and wear a polo shirt, bring a jacket. You never know when you’ll get pulled into a last minute meeting with executives or clients. And if you don’t wear that jacket at least keep one tucked away in your office for potential use. (Just think, if the air conditioning is on full blast, you’ll need something to prevent you from feeling like you’re in the frozen tundra.)

Watch the footwear

It’s amazing how one outfit can make or break you depending on what’s on your feet, particularly for women. Flip-flips? No. Sandals? Sure. Strappy stilettos? Just say no. If you’re unsure about footwear which can venture into a gray area (leather flip-flops, anyone?), take visual hints from executives in your office. What are they sporting? Emulate them.

Draw the line

Even when your office is extremely casual on normal days let alone summer Fridays, draw the line somewhere. If you get pulled into a meeting with your CEO, would you feel comfortable in tennis shoes? Just say no to tank tops, t-shirts and capri pants. If you’re showing too much skin, you probably shouldn’t be wearing it.

Get creative with material

Ditch the denim. Opt for cotton or linen or khakis instead. You can make a few slight changes to feel and look lighter, neat and polished while simultaneously keeping that game face, albeit sun brushed look, on.

Above all, you’re still representing yourself when you’re in the boardroom, not the beach. Remember, no one ever got reprimanded by their boss or HR for dressing a little too formal on hot, sticky days.


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