Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Office flip-flop faux pas

Charlotte's starchy conservatism lends itself well to the suits, tights and heavy layers of winter. But when the temperatures rise, it seems for some women, common sense gets packed away with the wool coats.

“What ever the temperature, you still have to dress in a professional manner,” says Hal Rubenstein, fashion director at InStyle magazine. “There is a tendency in the summer to slack off, but you have to have sense of pride. If you have to make an excuse for how you are dressed at work, you frankly chose wrong.”

Fashion and business experts, and even hip-hop icon Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons (who weighed in on Twitter recently) share the same piece of advice: Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

  • GUIDELINES: Check your office dress code policy. Check your attire against that of your colleagues and adjust.
  • FIT, FUNCTION, FABRIC: It's distracting if your clothing is too tight or too loose, and you're constantly adjusting. Make sure items are properly fitted and laundered.

  • SKIP THE STRAPPY: There is no place for tank tops and spaghetti straps in the office. Bare shoulders are acceptable dependant on the ensemble, like a well-fitted shift dress.

  • LAYER: Think of jackets and sweaters as accessories, author Sherrie Mathieson says. They offer coverage on your torso, provide great detail and deflect attention from the upper arms.

  • HOSE OR NO HOSE: It's a matter of personal preference unless included in a dress code. If you're going to wear stockings in the summer, Mathieson says, make sure they are as close to your skin tone as possible. Any darker, and it looks fake.

  • FOOTWEAR: A heeled sandal is acceptable if there is a back on it, InStyle's Rubenstein says. Shoes that make noise when you walk are a no-no.
Read the full story in Thursday's Style section.

(PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY TODD SUMLIN -- OBSERVER)

19 comments:

  1. It drives me crazy when I see women wear flip-flops to the office. They should know (or their mothers should have told them) that this is inappropriate office attire. I don't even like to see some women wear any kind of sandals at all. Some women's toes and feet are very ugly (no the toenail polish doesn't help) and they should keep them under wraps in a nice pair of pumps. That goes for Oprah, too. That woman has some ugly feet!

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  2. And there went my eyes rolling out of my head and back in time to the 1950s. Hopefully the the mentality that it's a bad thing to be *gasp* comfortable at work will die out with all the fossils who are in charge right now. And another thing, why can't men wear shorts but it's OK for women to wear skirts? A SKIRT IS SHORTS WITH A BIG WHOLE AT THE BOTTOM!!! Any attempt at logically explaining that riddle is either going to sound sexist or just plain stupid.

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  3. CLT can't dress in anything but conservative crap anyway. So who cares ? Boring town, boring fashions.

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  4. Shoes that make noise when you walk are a no-no??? Don't all high heels make a little clicking noise when you walk on hard surfaces?

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  5. I can remember the first time I saw a professional woman wearing open toe sandals I thought how tacky! This was about seven years ago. Now, I think heeled, dressy sandals look fine...as long as your feet are nice looking and well pedicured. No wild polish and don't just do it so that your big feet feel more comfortable!

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  6. Can we add capri pants to the no-nos list? If you're older than 12, they are suitable for the beach and poolside only--not business settings!

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  7. Amen...if you want to work in your pj's or dressed for a back yard BBQ then stay home. There is no office setting appropriate for anything less than business casual. Thus the reason for dress-down days or jeans days. They are supposed to be something special not a variation on the norm. Flip-flops, slip-ons, capris and the like are for back yard get togethers, not the office. Oh, and also hide the body "art"...you may choose to do that, but chances are your boss did not hire you as a human billboard.

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  8. I wonder how large a role the fashion industry, magazines included, plays in perpetuating the business attire mindset. "Professional clothing" is not only more expensive but dictates a person have two wardrobes. That's a lot of lost business if a person could wear their casual clothing to work.

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  9. 1:50, I bet you're a joy to all who encounter you and the most important, fashionable person in your circle of friends. Cheers!

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  10. If the tight-wad management of the large South Park multi-office building that I work in, would keep the temperature and humidity at a decent level, I wouldn't have to dress like I was headed for the beach. I go to work from an air conditioned house to an air conditioned car to a humid, stuffy, stinky building in which the air reminds me of my high school gym shower room, which had no A/C. With an average indoor temperature of 75+ and humidity levels at 55% and above every day, I feel like I'm working in the tropics.

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  11. I agree - leave the flip flops at home. Personally, I would also be in favor of banning open toed shoes altogether - I think toes are ugly and don't really want to look at yours. It's sad that some people just don't take dressing for work seriously.

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  12. I can't believe you actually advocate those horrid little ballet flats! Ugh! I'd rather see someone wearing a pair of crocs. I don't believe there has ever been a shoe style uglier or less flattering than ballet flats. They make your feet look huge and your ankles look thick, and for an added benefit they take inches off of the length of your legs.

    Another thing I'm sick of seeing is the top of thong underwear sticking up out of a waistband. If you can't tuck that little strand of butt-floss out of sight go commando!

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  13. Can the "older" tatoo crowd PLEASE cover up. Your tramp stamp might have looked ok 10 years ago, but now, not so much.

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  14. I used to work in an office and left that job for many reasons, one of which was I could not STAND dressing up for work. Make-up, curling my hair, high heels, UGH! And it was every. single. day. Sooo, now I have a great job (much better suited for my personality) where it is perfectly acceptable to wear flip flops or sneakers, tees, tanks, shorts, sweats, whatever to work. I'm not bashing the dress code of offices or whatever, I'm just saying... if you hate it as much as i did, GET OUT! :) Different strokes for different folks.

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  16. Flip Flops are a no no anywhere except for the pool or the beach. They are totally out of place at the office, on airplanes, and in restaurants.

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  17. Hey 4:10, where do you work, at a cannery? Shucking oysters?

    And 4:36, that was seriously funny!

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  18. The Director of Problem Management, who happens to be male, on my job comes to work in flip flops.... very inappropriate.

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  19. Offices tend to get more casual during the summer, but there is just no excuse for wearing flip-flops, running shoes, or sweatpants for that matter. There are so many options out there that are both fashionable and professional to keep your summer look chic.

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