Summer is finally here which means Summer Fridays are coming into play. For adults, Summer Fridays are pretty much the equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (minus all that gratuitous killing of innocent children). For some offices they let you take off every or every other Friday, some let out at noon, some permit a more casual dress code, etc. We will talk about how to prepare for Summer Fridays, but before you go out and buy your summer clothes, I think we need to talk about what you can and cannot wear to the office on casual Friday.
The thing is, sometimes people interpret “casual” as “my audition outfit for The Jersey Shore.” And please don’t think I am talking down to you. One summer, on a particularly hot day, I was scrambling for something to wear because I was in the middle of moving and tired, so I put on this cute little flimsy sundress—though I feel like the term “dress” is a little bit generous. It was essentially a beach cover-up. Surprisingly, though, my boss wasn’t upset about that. He was more concerned with my choice of footwear: a gold thong sandal. This shows dress code can change in every office. If you work in fashion, it may be absolutely fine for you to wear a bralet and jean shorts. If you’re a lawyer, that probably is not going to fly.
If you aren’t sure, we say stick to this list:
1. Sunglasses inside
You aren’t a celebrity (and they look silly too), so save the aviators and the wayfarers for your lunch outside. Even if you put them on your head it just connotes casualness. Plus, if you’re like me, you will spend five minutes looking for them when you actually need them because you forgot they were on your head.
Now, like most Americans I am completely devoted to my flip-flops and wear them for fine dining in the summer. But if you think about flip-flops, they are truly the most casual of shoes. They were too casual to even get the name “sandal.”
And I get that flip-flops have become like a part of society. See, years ago they were really only thought of as beach shoes, but then, somewhere in the ’90s when a lot of weird stuff started happening, flip-flops evolved from strictly a beach shoe and shower shoe to a college campus shoe. I would have to say the biggest moment for flip-flops was when the Northwestern Women’s Lacrosse team all wore flip-flops to the White House. They were photographed with President Bush wearing cute skirts and tops and flippers (yup, because flip-flops was too hard to say). So many people thought that if you were dressed up on top you could get away with wearing flip-flops.
Well, not so much.“Flip-flops are for the pool, the beach and barbecues. I’m all for comfort, but there are plenty of comfortable, stylish shoe alternative that will help you look polished and professional. Your co-workers will thank you,” says Diana Baros, founder and editor of The Budget Babe. Plus, flip-flops can be noisy and a little smelly. And as someone who insisted on putting on flip-flops the moment I left the office and then proceeded to walk around New York City for hours, I can’t say the stress fracture and toe infection I had were worth it.
3. Short shorts
There will always be”The Great Shorts at Work Debat,” but with shorts you really need to read the environment of your office. If it is a hip, young startup, go for it. But I will even say make sure they are nice-looking shorts and not your jean cut-offs. If you are worried, maybe wear a longer Bermuda short and see how that goes.
4. Crop tops
Now, usually this isn’t that much of an issue except right now crop tops are at the height of fashion. If you have a flat stomach either because you’ve been doing your crunches religiously or you were just blessed with good genes, I say congrats! But don’t show them off inside the office!
5. See-through anything
We know it is going to be really hot this summer because the earth is definitely dying, and yes, that pretty-much-see-through white blouse sounds like the only thing you may not sweat in, but the entire office does not need to see your physical assets—just your professional ones.
Sadly, rompers have become a summer staple in the last few years. It’s like someone said, “You know who always looks chic? Babies in their onesies. Let’s make them for grownups.” A few brands have very cute ones, but rompers still fall in that weird gray area between a tiny dress and a tiny pair of shorts.
Plus, there are just a few basic problems. Rompers tend to confuse people. They don’t understand that the shorts and top are connected or why you would voluntarily choose to wear something called a romper. This should not be the subject of a business meeting.
Also, you have to get pretty much completely naked every time you go to the bathroom. Any outfit that requires you to strip down almost completely just seems not work appropriate.
7. Flimsy dresses
Again, it depends on your office, but we all know the difference between a flimsy dress and a good dress in which you don’t have to worry about having a major Marilyn Monroe moment if you step over a grate, stand near a fan, or walk too fast. Also, most offices in the summer tend to be freezing so you are going to end up having to add seven layers to that dress anyway.
What other fashion faux pas should you avoid on Summer Fridays? Tell us in the comments!
Ask Dustee Jenkins, Vice President of Public Relations at Target, about what rules you should keep in mind when dressing for work in the summer!
Photo: Getty Images