Addressing the Summer Dress Code
5 commonsense approaches that never go out of style 

With the Wall Street Journal reporting on the corporate crop top trend last week and giving it a nod (no joke — see for yourself!), clients asking what we think about short suits for the office and the many new grads in our midst, it’s time for us to address the summer dress code.

Below are our tried-and-true principles with a 2024 twist. Hope they resonate with you and help you decipher the complicated world of office fashion with greater ease and confidence.

#1 Common sense rules

It’s true. Some creative industries (such as fashion, advertising and some luxury brands) are geared towards more fashion-forward freedom with dress choices. Even with these jobs, you don’t want your dress to be distracting and call attention away from the business at hand. How you show up should set an appropriate business tone for your industry and role while enhancing business communication. You want co-workers, clients and business partners focused on what you are saying, not on your belly button (yup, that's what the corporate crop top exposes when not worn with high enough waisted pants and skirts!), toes, legs and cleavage. There are plenty of ways to look stylish while still covering up in a way that makes others feel comfortable in your presence.

#2 Just because you can does not mean you should

We work with many stylish leaders who have the means and fashion know-how to pull off trends that push the envelope professionally. They also have the business savvy to know that if they wear some of these outfits themselves, they are giving others (who don’t necessarily have their style acumen) the green light to follow suit, often setting them up to make potentially career-busting choices. Instead of taking fashion risks at the office, err on the side of being conservative in professional situations. And by conservative we don’t mean boring. We mean proper necklines, hem lengths and foot coverage for an office setting. Can I hear an Amen??!!

#3 You never get a second chance to make a good first impression

When you show respect for yourself, you instantly show it to others. Dress choices help you establish good business boundaries right out of the gate. When you dress for the office, recite these three words: boundaries, appropriateness and respect. When your wardrobe choices help you check each of these boxes, you are on your way to building a wardrobe that works for you, not against you.

#4 The devil is in the prep

Yes, there are days when we all want to roll out of bed, throw on sweats and a baseball cap and do our life. If going to a professional office setting is on your day’s agenda, there are simply better options. With so many brands offering comfort and polish these days you really can have the best of both worlds. Prep is key. Have at least 5 well thought out biz casual looks that shout, “biz first, casual second” at the ready and you’ll be apt to make good choices for yourself and your company, even when you're not feeling all that together on the inside.

#5 Dressing Well is a form of good manners

Finally, I think we can all agree that the world is craving more kindness, manners and positive energy. How you show up in all areas of your life impacts all three. Signal you are on Team Positivity & Inspiration by showing up in a way that inspires others to be their personal best too. Be the change you want to see in the world. Taking pride in your appearance is a step in the right direction.

Looking for a practical and motivational dress for success program that gets people excited about your summer dress expectations? We can help. Our programs are known for their down-to-earth style and the subtle, yet very significant changes made by participants in how they show up after experiencing our message.

We offer both in-person and virtual seminars for single sex and co-ed audiences. We save time for generous Q&A and leave people with practical ideas they can implement immediately, taking the guesswork out of what is appropriate (and not!) and why. I welcome the opportunity to learn more about your needs and create a program that supports you and your organization in just the right way. 

From all of us at Dressing Well, here’s to you!
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