Summer Time Office Dress Tips and Advice
This summer we’re hearing dress faux pas complaints from many HR and office managers and the major culprit is leggings. So we thought we would repost a comment on leggings from a reader.
Schoolgirl’s worst nightmare
Hi, My latest pet peeve is about women and leggings (I’ll begin with a bit of a story.)
When I was a little girl, I had this reccurring bad dream. I dreamt I was at school but I forgot to put on my pants or skirt. I just had my leotards and top on! I felt awful and bare and embarrassed!
Nightmare becomes reality
Well, unfortunately my nightmare has become a reality! There are women all over, young and mature alike that walk around with their leotards on (black or patterned leggings) and a top of some kind – but, they have forgotten to put on their skirt or pants!
Leggings are not pants?
They have no idea. They are in a sense – half undressed! How can I tell – well, that is just how it looks. Unless the sweater or t-shirt/dress is 6 inches above the knee or lower, they look half undressed. What bothers me the most, is that it looks bad. Leggings are not pants! A man would never dream of walking around like that unless he was in the ballet, so why do women! And, why do mature women?
Excuse me, I think you forgot something
Teachers and other professionals alike need to be told that it is inappropriate to dress like this and be out in public at work. Can you tell them Joanne – can you give some tips and advice? I am tempted most of the time to tell women…”Hey, you forgot to put your pants/skirt on today.”
Joanne’s leggings advice is after this fun flow chart from Amy Sly on Buzzfeed.
As your corporate image consultant I agree that certain clothing like leggings have a more casual connotation and are best worn for business by those in creative professions like the arts, TV, theatre, design and advertising. They may also be acceptable in more corporate environments on casual Fridays, however guide lines need to be presented to employees.
As with any fashion that reveals the human form, slender, well proportioned women think they have the most leeway. I was recently doing a television interview and was greeted by one of the producers, a warm, friendly individual who was wearing leggings with a leather motor cycle jacket that stopped at the waist. Needless to say, her buttocks were certainly a focal point and might I say a bit of a distraction.
While she was certainly fit, my feeling and advice is that this look was better suited for the weekend. Whether we are tush proud or ambivalent about our behinds, I suggest that leggings be accompanied by a longer tunic top (tip – it should at least reach your fingertips).
When in doubt?
I’ve worked with many companies assisting them with dress guideline advice and the more specific you can be with certain dress concerns, the less problems you will encounter down the road. The tip I usually give in my lunch and learn business dress seminars is , “If you’re unsure that your apparel meets the dress code, when in doubt, leave it out.”