Summer is in full swing, which means that the fashionable PR pro has officially switched over her (or his) closet from warm and cozy to cool and comfortable.
And with the warmer weather comes a slight shift in PR workplace dress code. As a general rule of thumb, summer dress code is more casual, but there is a fine line between workplace appropriate and too casual. Follow the tips below to be comfortable – yet polished – this summer.
When in doubt, rethink. First and foremost, if you’re questioning whether what you’re wearing is appropriate for the office, your colleagues (and your boss) will, too. Bag the outfit and save it for a weekend trip to Central Park.
Use the fingertip rule. Dresses and skirts should reach the bottom of your fingertips when your arms are placed down at your side. At the risk of sounding like my high school principal, THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS.
Wear flip flops with discretion. In some offices they’re allowed, and in others, they’re considered way too casual. Typically, women can get away with flip flops if the rest of their outfit is a bit dressier (a sundress or a skirt and blouse), while wearing flip flops with jeans can look sloppy. The same rule applies for Sperry’s boat shoes.
Shorts are okay if they are the appropriate length (see rule #2 above) and if they’re dressed up with a blouse and pumps. Short shorts and/or shorts with a t-shirt and flip flops are never okay.
Brightly colored pants are a good way to switch it up, if done right! A colleague of mine rocked a pair of hot pink cropped pants yesterday and paired them with a button-up to give the outfit a classy edge. When making a statement with a bold piece, the rest of your outfit should be more toned down (no crazy animal prints, funky jewelry, etc.). The only exception is neon pants, which aren’t appropriate for the office in my view. To get your neon fix during your 9 – 5, try dressing up a boat necked dress with neon accessories.
Go conservative for evening. For an after-5:00 affair (whether a PR industry event, client dinner, etc.) always err on the side of caution. Other companies might have a different office dress code than yours, and you want to reflect well on your agency. A black dress is always a safe option; you will never be critiqued for being too polished.
When in doubt, a good test is to ask yourself, Would I wear this to meet my significant other’s parents for the first time? If the answer is no, you need to revisit your closet and pick out something else to wear.