Make us your home page

Dressing for the office in the summer

Michael Crom had traveled to Microsoft's Silicon Valley, Calif., facility to discuss a business deal and he followed his usual routine of donning a jacket and tie for an appointment with professionals.

The software company's representatives were decidedly more casual. "They put on their nicest and cleanest T-shirts for me," said Crom, chief learning officer for Dale Carnegie & Associates, a Hauppauge, N.Y., training and coaching firm.

He wasn't offended, he said, because casual attire is widely accepted as the standard for the tech sector.

But clothes that don't garner a second look in the California tech belt wouldn't necessarily be as well-received in Crom's office on the opposite coast.

"It depends on the organization, and there are clearly different expectations in different parts of the country at different times of the year," he said.

During the summer, many workplaces relax their dress standards. Still, there's a risk that employees will show up at the office better suited for a picnic if managers don't spell out a policy of what's acceptable and what's not.

The Society for Human Resource Management in Alexandria, Va., suggests that a summer-dress-code policy be in effect all through the traditional summer time frame (Memorial Day through Labor Day). The society's model for such a policy, found on, stipulates that employees dress more casually only "on days when they have no in-person client contact."

While solid-color T-shirts, walking shorts (with hems that fall about 1 inch above the knee), tennis shoes and denim jeans and skirts are deemed appropriate in the human resource society's hypothetical summer dress code, other things are not. That includes standard shorts, clothing with logos, halter tops and thong-type sandals.

For companies trying to draft a dress code, the society advises including a sentence stating that employees who don't follow the rules will be asked to leave work to change, "and will be required to use personal time or vacation time to do so."

At the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, summer interns this year received guidelines on how to dress when working in the newsroom and when assigned to leave the office to cover stories and conduct interviews.

Among the don'ts for women: spaghetti straps (unless they are layered with a sweater or blazer), strapless mini-dresses, shorts and low-cut tops. For the guys: no baggy pants, graphic T-shirts, wrinkled shirts, cut-off shirts, shorts or sandals. For both genders: no flip-flops.

For bosses who need to address issues about skimpy or inappropriate dress, Crom said it is easiest when a written policy is in place.

Dressing for the office in the summer 07/07/13 [Last modified: Monday, July 8, 2013 12:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Scripps Howard News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    Former Florida Gov. and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their condo in downtown St. Petersburg on the market for $1.5 million. [Courtesy of Rhonda Sanderford]
  2. First WannaCry, now cyberattack Petya spreads from Russia to Britain


    Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.

    A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive international cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.  A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe.
[Oleg Reshetnyak via AP]
  3. Higher Social Security payouts help Florida post a big jump in personal income

    Personal Finance

    Personal income grew 1.3 percent in Florida in the first quarter of this year, a four-way tie among all states for second-fastest growth behind Idaho.

  4. Trigaux: Task now is for Water Street Tampa to build an identity


    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]