Creating a personal brand identity in the workplace starts with consistently looking your best, regardless of the season. Just because summer is upon us, it doesn’t mean you get to throw your carefully curated wardrobe out the window and start wearing shorts and flip-flops to work.
A friend of mine recently sent me some pictures of people at her office. I was shocked to discover one of the gals was wearing a flimsy camisole with no jacket over it. Not only was she showing a lack of concern for her personal brand, but she also hadn’t given much thought to her work environment.
Summer Wardrobe Best Practices
The primary difference between our winter and summer wardrobes is that our summer outfits tend to use more color. However, too many people make the mistake of thinking that warmer temperatures mean that they can wear less clothing to the office. Even in the most casual, corporate cultures, there are typically some rules. Make sure you know the policy and always consider it when planning your outfits.
Remember that leggings, tank-tops, and flip-flops are never appropriate work attire, even when it’s hot outside. Shorts aren’t a good idea either unless your office specifically says they’re OK. If you are allowed to wear shorts, make sure that yours are well-tailored, hemmed and an appropriate length. Capris are generally fine, as are polos, khakis, and lighter weight dresses with work-appropriate hemlines.
If your office allows sleeveless shirts, please remember to pay attention to your grooming needs. Nobody in your office wants to see (or smell) what’s under your arms! Also, remember that though it may be warm outside, your office is going to be pumping the AC all summer long, so keep a neutral sweater or blazer in your cubicle at all times.
Dressing for The Whole Day
Summer brings longer days, warmer weather and plenty of opportunities for socializing after work. When planning your outfit in the morning, make sure you have a sense of your entire day. If you know you’re headed to an event straight from the office, plan your outfit accordingly. The key is understanding the type of event you’re attending, so you can make sure to bring an appropriate change of clothing.
Dressing down a work outfit can be as simple as swapping heels for flats or throwing a jean jacket on over whatever you wore to the office. For men, you may only need to shed your suit jacket, take off your tie and roll up your sleeves. If you’re going from the office to a picnic or pool party, you’ll want to bring a change of clothes.
If you get a last-minute invitation somewhere, remember, it’s always better to be a little overdressed than underdressed. Creating a brand for yourself is significant. Your personal brand follows you everywhere you go.
Are you unsure about how to dress for work this summer? If so, contact me today to see how working with a professional image consultant can help you look and feel your best all year long.