Can you feel it? That warm weather? Spring is officially here (well, in DC at least)!!! To say that Spring and Summer are my 2 favorite seasons would be a bit of an understatement. I LOVE warm weather. It just makes me so happy. I can sit in the sun all day without complaint. Maybe that has something to do with my Florida upbringing?? Anyway, with warm weather comes great, fun, colorful clothes! This warm weather also brings some HUGE fashion faux pas when it comes to work clothes. Now, I don’t proclaim to be a fashionista in any respect. I just think that there are some clear rules on what should and should not be worn in the workplace. If you have to ask yourself if something is appropriate for work, chances are the answer is ProbablyNot. Below are some rules to guide you on the path to warm-weather-workplace-appropriate attire (wow, try saying that 3 times in a row). Note: These rules pertain to business casual offices only.
1. Footwear: It’s only natural that you want to show your toes when it’s warm outside, and with so many cute options out there, I find myself lusting after many, many sandals. But the general rule is that sandals are a big no-no in the office. They just aren’t professional. This does not include peep toes. I think generally that peep-toe shoes are a great compromise, but they too must be work appropriate. This is a bit of a new rule, I must say. My mother’s generation is still very much against showing any toe at work. They are not convinced that peep toes are appropriate. And to be honest, I don’t wear peep toes to work that often. Call me old-fashioned. BUT, if you do, here’s a great example of a work-appropriate peep toe (::lusting::):
Also, as an aside, it is never EVER appropriate to wear flip-flops to work. This is really one of my top 20 pet peeves in life (and yes, my pet peeves are numbered…don’t judge me). I don’t care if you wear them because they are comfortable. They should not come withing 50 feet of your office. They are way too casual and look completely unprofessional. And there are just way too many cute flats out there that serve as a great alternative. I know I’m going to ruffle some feathers here, but I’m just speaking the truth. This goes for men too…no flip-flops at work. Period.
2. Dresses: I love dresses. Dresses make me smile. And I love wearing dresses to work. In the spring/summer, a lot of women are with me in this regard. Unfortunately, I’ve seen some women who seem to be a bit confused about work-appropriate dresses and cute, springy/summery dresses that are ProbablyNot appropriate for work. The rule tends to be that the more structured a dress is, the more likely it is work-appropriate. Here’s a great work-appropriate example:
Flowy, colorful dresses like this are best for weekend picnics or date nights, but sadly, not the workplace:
Now, that’s not to say you can’t add color to your spring/summer wardrobe. You absolutely should! Here are two wonderful examples (cute, right?):
*Side Note: Many people believe going sleeveless at work is inappropriate, so whenever I wear a sleeveless dress, I always pair it with a lightweight cardigan while I’m in the office (check out stores like Alternative Apparel, Anthropologie, and J. Crew for great lightweight cardigans). A cream or ivory cardigan would look great with this dress, and to jazz it up a bit, I would add a skinny belt to cinch the waist (this is totally taste specific). Make sure you leave that cardigan unbuttoned though! You want to show off the gorgeous ruffles at the top of this dress.
**Side Note 2: Miss Politesse’s birthday is coming up. I think this dress would make the most spectacular gift! Don’t you think?
Finally, please never wear a strapless, halter, or spaghetti-strap dress to work. I’ve seen it done countless times, and it makes me itch. Even if you cover it with a cardigan…we all know what you’re wearing and that it’s completely, totally, inexplicably inappropriate, so don’t fake the funk.
3. Gentlemen: Being with Mr. P has taught me a TON about male fashion. Growing up, I only saw my daddy in suits, polos and khakis, and his , um, “around-the-house” attire. But now, thanks to Mr. P, I have a greater appreciation for men’s fashion. One trend that I see fairly often with guys at work during the spring/summertime is short-sleeved polo shirts and dress pants. I’ve always thought this was too casual a look for work even in a business casual office, and Mr. P agrees. So, dear gentlemen readers, let’s stay away from this workplace faux pas. There are some GREAT lightweight shirt options out there, so opt for those instead. J. Crew even has a line of collared shirts called “lightweight washed shirts.” Check those out.
Boat Shoes: I have a love/hate relationship with boat shoes. I love them outside of the office, and I hate them in the office. Pretty simple, huh? If you can’t wear socks with shoes, they just aren’t appropriate for work. Simple as that, fellas. Not sure what boat shoes look like? Here’s an example:
Undershirts: For some reason, men think they can leave home without putting on an undershirt during the spring/summer! Not OK. Yes, I know it’s hot, but undershirts help protect your shirt from gross sweat stains. And they make everyone more comfortable because seriously who wants to see through your colleagues shirt…yuck.
4. Pantyhose: For some reason, the word “pantyhose” has become a bad word for girls of my generation. I pretty much wear pantyhose every day (well, actually tights in the winter). Yes, even during the spring/summer (flesh-colored pantyhose rock my socks). I am the first to admit that I am a bit old-fashioned in this regard, but going bare-legged in a professional environment is a foreign concept to me. I was always taught that bare legs had no place in an office (or in church). But I recognize that times have changed, and it seems that most women opt to go without pantyhose, especially in the spring and summer. So who am I to say that all these women are wrong?! Therefore, I’ve decided to reserve judgement on this issue (shocking, I know), but this doesn’t mean I won’t (continue to) give someone the occasional side-eye for being bare-legged at work.*
That’s it from me for now! I hope you all are enjoying this beautiful weather (even if it’s only on your walk to work). And stay tuned for my very first GIVEAWAY. I’m ridiculously excited about it! Details coming soon!!!
*I’m sure you already know this, but as a general FYI, you should not wear pantyhose when wearing peep toes.