At the last company I worked for, the receptionist’s official title was “Director of First Impressions.” Well, I recently visited an insurance services company, where a young, attractive woman, dressed in a hot pink, terry-cloth sundress, greeted me. As she walked away from the receptionist area, I further noticed she was wearing very cute and fancy flip-flops. Although she looked quite lovely (for a day at the beach), I thought, “Really? This is the ‘first impression’ this company wants to present?”
Unfortunately, this insurance company is not alone. It’s almost universal that as the summer temperatures rise, the adherence to a company’s dress code policy drops! Workers adopt a “vacation view” of dress codes. Females, especially, start to wear less; we see more cleavage, more leg, and less in foot coverage. We see everything from spaghetti-straps and halter-tops, to mini, mini-skirts and flip-flops. True, styles change with every season change, however, I believe, when conducting business, it is very important to exude professionalism always, and these clothing items fail to do that.
The majority of companies now practice the “business casual” dress code policy, which can leave much to self-interpretation, if not outlined with specifics. Employees must realize that all “casual” clothing is not suitable in the workplace. Clothing that you would wear on the beach, in a nightclub or for exercising and yard-work is not professional or appropriate in the workplace. Clothing that reveals the chest, cleavage, back, stomach or underwear is also inappropriate. These items can actually be distracting and/or offensive to co-workers, clients and customers.
To remain professional, wear a jacket or sweater to cover low-cut blouses and spaghetti-straps. If you are the slightest bit concerned about the length of your skirt or split in your skirt, you probably should not wear it work. And those strappy sandals with the 5-inch spiked heels, that looked “hot” at the club Saturday night, are probably not professional in the office; and neither are the fancy flip-flops, even though you paid nearly $100 bucks for them.
When the temperatures heat up, don’t let your clothing style “heat up.” Remain professional and present strength and stability when representing your company in front of your clients, customers and even co-workers. Be cognizant of your company dress code policy and abide by it, even when the temperatures rise above 90 degrees. And save the flip-flops, no matter how fancy or expensive, for the mall or the beach.
Human Resource Manager
The InSource Group