With the warmer summer weather arriving, many office workers find themselves wondering how they can continue to meet with their office dress code for smart or formal attire without having to sit for hours while feeling very uncomfortable.
Sometimes it is not so easy to simply slip off our jackets or blazers because we then have the fear exposing unsightly sweat patches on our shirts to the world. For guys especially, wearing neck ties and suit trousers in increasingly clammy offices can leave them feeling overheated, short-tempered and stressed out.
Check the office dress code rules carefully
At this point, most guys will start to wonder whether wearing shorts to the office is ever acceptable. The thing is, do you know for certain that you cannot wear shorts to the office? Is there a rule written somewhere in your contract that specifically outlines what is considered to be suitable attire for your job? Mostly, it really is all about context.
Let’s say you work in a tech start-up, media company, online advertising or web publishing. It may be perfectly acceptable to team up a pair of smart, sensibly designed shorts with a cotton shirt – but please, no socks and sandals! However, if you are trying out for partner at a blue-chip company, then maybe not.
It may be the case that your work colleagues simply adopted a style of dress for the office to match with the management, or to follow imagined guidelines about what was deemed appropriate. But in reality there may not be an actual dress code that is set in stone for your company. It could be that at one point in time your office was more smart-casual in their dress, but new people coming in to the company, and wishing to impress, brought in with them a smarter approach to their attire that raised the bar higher for everyone else.
Should you find no defined guidelines or requirements about your office dress code, then you could set yourself up as the new office trend-setter. You could start off with baby steps by wearing trousers made from a lighter and cooler material, teamed with a breezy, but smart shirt and forgo the tie.
You can actually get very smartly tailored shorts that look like regular suit trousers – but shorter. Teamed with a crisp, smart short-sleeved shirt and sandals, you could still remain modestly dressed, yet a heck of a lot cooler and more comfortable during the hot weather. Choosing single, plain corporate colours would still be advisable. Don’t even think about cargo shorts, Hawaiian shirts or flip-flops!
It’s easier for women
Being a woman in the office workplace does have it’s advantages, especially given the fact that women can choose to wear skirts and dresses to the office and still look smart and presentable.
Once the temperatures soar, a woman can slip on a skirt and put away her heavy wool-knit suit trousers until the weather changes once again. Maintaining an office-appropriate look while remaining cool can be as simple as switching a suit for a smart, sleeveless pinafore dress. There are many smart looking skater-style dresses that would be suitable for the office, the benefit being that skater-style dresses have looser and more flowing skirt sections which are much cooler and more comfortable to wear than tighter pencil-skirt style dresses.
What if shorts are a no-go?
Quite often there may be a strict dress code in place that frowns on staff wearing shorts to work, regardless of whether you are male or female. In this case it’s the men who will suffer the most as their office attire tends to be less flexible and often utilises quite heavy fabrics that are not comfortable to wear in balmy weather.
In this situation, the guys working in the office could switch their attention to tweaking their top half. Again, depending on your office dress code, you may have some wiggle-room here to work with.
Switch out those heavy formal shirts and confine them to the back of the wardrobe until the chilly weather sets in once again. Look at wearing shirts made with cooler fabric, such as a breathable cotton mix. Choose a grandad collar shirt that you can leave unbuttoned at the top.
If you are required to wear a suit jacket or blazer for work, then consider swapping a traditional shirt for a short-sleeved polo shirt. Worn with a smart jacket, a polo shirt can look very in keeping. Unless you are issued with a company blazer or jacket to wear, you could also seek out a smart jacket in corporate colours made from more lightweight materials.
Your work footwear can often start to feel tight and uncomfortable as the temperature rises. If sandals are a no-go in the workplace, then consider a smart pair of loafers instead. Loafers are much more comfortable and breathable than hard leather work shoes, and you can often forgo the socks too to give your ankles a breather.