Office Summer Casual

Today is Memorial Day and for many of us, especially up in New England, this marks the unofficial start to summer. Many offices, mine included, start to allow employees to have a bit more casual dress code, known as “summer business casual”. But what exactly does this mean?


As with any dress code, what’s appropriate varies with your company’s standards, so be sure to check your employee handbook or office notices to ensure you dress within their expectations.

My company employs a summer business casual dress code. This means that while some aspects of our typical dress code are relaxed, we’re still required to dress at a professional level.

As I’m now entering my second summer in the real world, here are some tips I’ve compiled for successful summer business casual:

Dress Sandals. Flip flops and other causal sandals are a no-no for the office any time of the year, but dressier sandals are a good option. Wedges, espadrilles or strappy flat sandals in fun colors are my favorite.

Sleeveless, not strapless. Forgoing the typical cardigan is acceptable in the warmer months, but your shoulders should still be mostly covered. No spaghetti straps or strapless tops unless you’re wearing something over them.

No beachwear. If you have a cute sundress you’d wear to the beach, you should save it for the weekends and not wear it to the office. Lighter materials and fun prints and colors are definitely ok, but make sure the length, neckline and structure are work appropriate.

If you’re ever unsure of whether something fits your work’s dress code, err on the side of caution and wear something else. And if you’re new to the office, take your cues from coworkers and follow their lead in choosing your summer casual attire.

What is your company’s dress code like? Have you ever had trouble determining what’s appropriate for the summer months?


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