Current Temperature @ 7:30 am ~ 75 degrees
High Temperate for the Day ~ 86 degrees (and expected to be humid)
In this weather, I can’t possibly wear a cardigan or long sleeve blouse and arrive at the office without being a sweaty mess. And while I can’t speak for everyone, I suspect showing up looking like I just jumped in a swimming pool isn’t exactly the ideal way to arrive for a long day’s work for most of us.
Enter, sleeveless shirts and dresses.
They make walking to work in summer weather (almost) bearable, though I will undoubtedly freeze in the air conditioning an hour after sitting down at my desk. But aside from your specific office’s HVAC circumstances, summer weather always begs the question of the acceptability of sleeveless tops in the office. Men wear long sleeve button-down shirts or short sleeve polo shirts. They have two pretty simple choices. But the business casual dress code for women runs the gamut and often dances along a very thin line between acceptable and overexposed. Hence, I bring you the first edition of the Suit Your Style series in which I’ll share my thoughts on some common business casual dress code concerns and hope many of you will offer your advice or considerations in the comments.
Now for the answer to the question:
Can I wear a sleeveless top to the office? Yes and No.
As far as I have seen from my countless visits to a wide range of client offices and my own, you can generally wear a sleeveless top sitting at your desk and, maybe, in an informal meeting with close colleagues. However, always be sure that you have a cardigan or more conservative top to throw on over your sleeveless top should a slightly more formal occasion arise that you might need it such as a meeting with your boss or a client. Further, it seems important to have the sweater readily available to ultimately say,
“My outfit includes sleeves, though I just took my sweater off briefly in this moment of hard-working and focused diligence sitting at my computer or while I cool down after my steamy morning commute. But I understand that the company dress code generally encourages sleeveless tops to be covered.”
Long story short, just be sure you have the cardigan, blazer, long sleeve top, etc… readily available and you should be safe. To be sure, take a look around at women in your office. More senior, well-respected women in your own office are almost always the best guides to dictate the spectrum of business casual allowable in your own workplace.
If you haven’t noticed, I often wear sleeveless blouses and dresses in my outfit posts. But nearly always, I include the sweater or top that I wear upon arrival at the office to show both options for styling. You can head over to the Gallery for more ideas, but I have included just a few examples for you to check out.
What do you think? Can you wear sleeveless tops and dresses to the office? Let me know if you have any more specific questions and I’d love to offer my two cents!