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“Business casual” can be a confusing term any time of year, but especially when the hot, lazy days of summer hit. Proper summer business casual attire shows respect for yourself, for others in your workplace, and for your clients and customers. Pushing the “business casual” envelope too far can damage your credibility and the image of your firm.

4 Business Etiquette Tips to Keep a Polished Professional Look During Summer

  • Amp it up a notch! “Business casual” guidelines vary from company to company. A polo shirt may be acceptable in one environment, but considered too casual in another. Become familiar with the guidelines of your company, and then set your standard at the top. If you want to be in a position for promotion or next great career move—and who wouldn’t!—then dress for it. You will hit what you aim for.
  • Ditch the flip flops. No matter how casual your office setting is, leave the flip flops and casual sandals for the weekend. Instead of pumps, consider sling-backs or mules (slip-ons that don’t have a back). Check your company’s dress code policy before wearing open-toe shoes. And, if you bare your toes, make sure you’ve had a pedicure!
  • Get noticed for the right things. Showing too much skin can hurt your credibility. You can still be feminine, but office appropriate. For example, summer-weight twin sets or a woven shirt pair well with dress slacks, or add a fine-gauge cardigan or light-weight jacket over a sleeveless dress for a comfortable yet professional office look. You can remove the jacket or sweater when at your desk, and easily throw it on if you have a meeting. Not appropriate for the office are cropped pants or clothing that fits too snugly.
  • Leave the Bermuda shorts and faded polos for the weekend. Even in the heat, men can stay crisp looking all day in wrinkle-free 100-percent cotton dress shirts. If you don’t normally wear a suit, keep a sports coat on a hanger on the back of your office door to put on for a client meeting or last-minute business lunch. Resist going “sockless” and wear lace-up shoes or loafers.

As summer heats up, these tips will help ensure both a productive and professional workplace environment—without sizzling your professional image or the image of your firm.