July 8, 2009
What not to wear to work this summer
Ask any manager and they'll be the first to tell you that as soon as summer temperatures begin to rise, inappropriate office attire abounds, most notably among our workforce's youngest hires.
Necklines plunge. Hemlines creep up. Cutoffs come out of the woodwork. Midriffs, bra straps, sheer fabrics, and yes, even woefully overgrown toenails all make their annual appearance.
In fact, a 2008 CareerBuilder survey found that 35 percent of U.S. employers polled have had to send a worker home to slip into something a little less comfortable. What's more, 64 percent of the 2,800 employers surveyed have banned flip-flops from the office and 49 percent have banned miniskirts.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of beachwear and nightclub duds.
But I'm with the HR pros who say that cleavage and lingerie have no place in the office, no matter how casual the company culture. Ditto for the ratty shorts and paint-stained T-shirt you normally wear while weeding your backyard. Especially this year, when you should be doing your best to impress the workplace powers that be.
If you're more comfortable commuting in your club-girl or cabana-boy best, at least keep a sweater on the back of your chair at work or a button-up shirt on a hanger behind your door. And for the love of god, if you're going to show toe, make sure your nails are scrubbed, clipped and filed.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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