During the lazy hazy crazy days of summer my go-to outfit is the maxi dress. It’s the most comfortable and effortless way to look fashionable and works for almost all summer get-togethers: a family BBQ, the beach, a grad party and happy hour at the West End. But is it appropriate office attire?
Assess Your Work Environment
First, know your company’s dress code. At Oggi we have a dress for your day policy. Due to the nature of the business our Oggi Pros have meetings with clients and candidates almost every day and are appropriately dressed for these meetings in suits or a conservative dress. A great tip when you have a meeting with a client (or any business associate) is to dress for their position, not yours.
Second, pay attention to your surroundings. What are the women executives in your office wearing? Follow their example.
Third, consider your company’s industry. For those in a creative or more casual work environment like web development or marketing, a maxi dress could be totally office-appropriate, but if you work in a more formal industry like finance or accounting, you may want to save the look for the weekend.
My Maxi Stance
One piece of advice offered to me as a young professional was “dress for the job you want, not the job you have. “ Most days I take this bit of advice into consideration when I’m getting ready for my day.
My official stance on the maxi dress is that it is NOT appropriate for an office setting. The flowy breezy boho-chich style of a maxi dress makes it a pretty casual look – and casual is not an adjective that would describe most of the attire found in a professional setting.
That being said, I will admit that I HAVE worn a maxi dress (or two) to work but only after I appropriately assessed my work environment and took the days’ activities into consideration. Then and only then should you refer to these tips to pulling off a maxi dress in the office:
- Pair it with a cardigan or a jacket. This is non-negotiable for almost any maxi dress. It will avoid exposed straps and exposing too much skin.
- Don’t wear a strapless maxi or a dress with cutouts to work. Just don’t.
- Don’t wear an obnoxious or wildly inappropriate patterned maxi like an animal print, Hawaiian prints or tie-dye to name a few. These bold prints are too loud for a corporate setting.
- Unless you’re model height you will likely need to have your maxi tailored or pair it with heels to avoid a sloppy hemline that drags on the floor. The hemline should brush the top of your foot.
- Consider adding a belt it to make it more professional.
- Accessorize with a statement necklace or a great pair of earrings to bring the whole look together.
- Only wear the maxi dress on designated casual days.
Summertime Fashion Tips
Summertime is open season for fashion faux-pas in the office. Here are a few tips to avoid a fashion blunder:
- Undergarments should never be exposed (straps and the like).
- Flips flops, spaghetti straps and shorts are summer staples but completely inappropriate from 9 to 5.
- For more information appropriate summer attire check out these articles written by fashion pros.
Forbes: “Dos And Don’ts Of Summer Office Fashion”Glamour: “32 Summer Work Outfits (That Are Actually Cute)”: Elle: “Get to Work! – Office-Appropriate Outfits for Summer”:
The Golden Rule of Office Attire: If you have to stop and ask yourself if it’s appropriate, it’s not.