Quiz: Is your work wardrobe summer-appropriate?
The warmer weather's here and won't be leaving for a while. In between vacation days and holidays, it's easy to get into a laid-back mindset and not so easy to resist the temptation to wear shorts and sandals. Before you reach for that Hawaiian shirt at the back of your closet on Monday morning, take our quiz to see if your work wardrobe passes for appropriate or if you need a style intervention.
1. The weather reports it's going to be a high of 104 degrees. What do you wear to the office?
A. What I always wear: a three-piece suit.
B. Whatever's comfortable, man. Bare feet and my favorite band T-shirt.
C. My go-to summer staples: flip flops and a sundress.
D. Something light-colored. Probably khakis and a polo shirt.
2. Whoops, you just dropped a pen. When you lean down to pick it up, how far is your hemline from the ground?
A. The hem of my pant leg touches my shoes. I would never wear anything other than dress pants.
B. Well, the frayed threads of my shorts touch the ground.
C. Ummm -- don't ask.
D. My skirt is about 2 to 4 inches. I do the hands-at-the-sides test to make sure my fingertips go past the hemline.
3. It's hot outside, but the air conditioning in the office is frigid. What can you do?
A. What I always do: wear a three-piece suit.
B. Bring in my alpaca sweater I knitted myself.
C. Wear spaghetti-strap tank tops and cardigans.
D. I usually dress in layers and always try to have an extra sweater at my desk.
4. Your office allows denim. How would you incorporate it into a summer look?
A. I wouldn't.
B. Jorts (jean shorts).
C. With a denim skirt.
D. Dark denim pants or jeans.
5. Warm weather means an abundance of bright colors. Would you try this seasonal trend at work?
A. Maybe a not-too-bright tie. Maybe.
B. I've already been wearing my tie-dye socks to work for a month.
C. Totally. I just bought a neon pink and green minidress.
D. Sure, a bright pair of shoes or a top could be a fun way to break up a neutral look.
Mostly A's: What clothing is considered appropriate for a job will vary in each profession, so first and foremost check what your co-workers and boss wear to work, as well as what the dress code says is acceptable. But there's still plenty of room in a work wardrobe for personal style and individuality. Maybe wearing a three-piece suit is an expression of your personal style, but there are options for more formal work settings that don't seem so stuffy (or suffocating in the summer heat). Men and women who work in conservative settings can opt for lighter colors and fabrics and use layering to survive the heat.
Mostly B's: All right, dude, unless your company has OK'd your free-spirit style, it's time to swap out the tie-dye socks for more professional attire. The main problem with wearing such casual clothing to your job is that it may distract your boss, co-workers and clients from your work, causing you to be noticed for the wrong reasons. Find a balance of appropriate work style and your own taste in clothes. If you work in a casual environment, opt for clean and properly fitting jeans and a dress shirt, or if it's hot outside, try a polo. Let your work speak for itself instead of trying to be heard over your loud outfits.
Mostly C's: It's clear you're a fashionista, but your work wardrobe could use some editing. Clothes that are appropriate for an office or work setting don't have to be boring, so stop trying to cause a scene by dressing so casually and bringing beach attire to your cubicle. Instead of shedding clothes when the mercury rises, look for chic separates such as pencil skirts, linen blazers or sheath dresses. And remember that fit is everything: Short clothing or outfits that are too tight won't make you look professional or like someone with good judgment. You want your style to convey a sense of professionalism and complement your overall look, not take away from it.
Mostly D's: Did you cheat and check out our six guidelines for your summer work wardrobe? You've found a hot way to keep cool at work, and staying professional shows just how chic you are. Whether your office is a corporate or laid-back setting, you always hit the right note with weather-appropriate looks that are attractive and well-put-together. Your summer essentials are cotton sheath dresses in neutrals, linen pants and blazers for separates, bright and fun jewelry and sleeveless blouses for when you head outside. No matter the temperature, you always balance professionalism and personal style to create a look that's your own and promotes your career.
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