Ummmm, so I better not be seeing any of this kind of action on your summer interns or, heaven forbid, on you, in the office this summer.
When I speak to grad students on dressing for their future job, I'll show them a picture similar to this and ask what's wrong with this outfit. I am stupefied when they cannot tell me.
Simple answer: if you'd wear it to a bar, don't wear it to work. I can't tell you how this concept gets lost on so many. Ladies, we've got to step up and have the awkward conversations and help the younger generations understand the importance of dressing professionally, and what that exactly means.
What Not To Wear To Work, Plus Day To Night Outfit Solutions
So what's wrong with wearing a too-short and too-tight skirt, with way too high heels, and a sparkly, low cut top is that IT'S STUPID. And I imagine we all know that. And a lot of our younger colleagues do too. But there's a lot of grey area that stumps everyone. I'm going to weigh in on the grey area items.
Sheer is not for the office. Even if you wear something under it.
Lace dresses are generally not for the office, unless it's more of a pretty, lady-like crochet dress. This is a fancy lace dress because it's sheer, thin and form-fitting.
Low v-necks are a no go. Always. No grey areas.
So what is appropriate for the office in today's more casual workplace environments?
1. Don't need to wear suits? Don't ditch the blazer.
A blazer takes a plain cotton pencil skirt and tank top to the office.
If you do wear a tank top under your blazer, be prepared to keep that blazer on all day until you leave the office or meeting. Tank tops are not for the professional world.
If your skirt or dress is form-fitting, make sure it's an appropriate length (not much above the knees) and wear a sensible heel, not a hooker heel.
2. Casual office culture? Mind the shorts.
Longer shorts in a nice fabric can be appropriate in casual offices, but I recommend pairing them with something that says I'm a professional, rather than a t-shirt.
You can see the detail of my shorts here - they are silk with a pretty textured pattern, i..e. not camp shorts. For a similar pair, check out these.
Side note: when the pockets lay vertically on the sides of your hips, have them sewn shut so you don't get puckering hips.
Grabbing a bite after work with some friends? Lose the blazer, switch into fun shoes and add an accessory like a hat.
These shoes are all "no's" for the office. From left, too clunky, too sparkly and too casual.
For the office, open toe is fine, but peep toe is better because it's a lot more buttoned up and less of a "going out" shoe. Wedges are great office shoes, especially if you have much walking to do. Carry a fun pair of going out shoes with you to change into after work! You can also change out your jewelry.
One final word, don't get too caught up in casual summer office attire or casual Friday's. It's already a casual world where hardly anyone dresses up for work anymore. Stand above the fray and dress to respect the position you hold, even if it's CEO of your household. Whatever your position, you are molding the people around you and impacting your future. Dress to respect. That's all. Kthx.
Style Vault Insiders, we just added some great new pieces to the July Style Notes, including two fab summer blazers (two different styles, both unique) and several more pairs of work-appropriate shorts (including some gorgeous satin ones!). Sign in here.
If you’d like to shop more of our favorite must-haves, become an Insider and enter the Style Vault. You’ll find our picks for everything you need for a stylish summer in one easy-to-shop place.
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Photos by Krissy Leigh Creative