ST. GEORGE – The heat has arrived in Southern Utah, which means many people tend to wear less clothing, but fashion experts do not agree that less is more in summer professional attire.
“Warm weather is no excuse to completely dispense with your professional image,” Judie Schwartz of Style Matters told StyleList.com. “After all, most offices are climate controlled. Your wardrobe should be controlled, too.”
Schwartz says the ticket to summer professional dress is color and fabric choice.
Delaina Dutton, a professional sales executive, agrees. She said summer attire depends on what profession a person is in, but shorts, belly shirts and tank tops are not appropriate in any professional setting.
“Dresses are best,” Dutton said. “They are comfy, easy and cool. The color determines a lot. I like to go with solids over prints, lightweight fabrics, and things that are flowy, feminine and fun.”
If help is needed on summer fashion, there are many local resources available. The Dress Barn that is located in The Outlets at Zion is just one of many that sell appropriate and professional summer attire. The Dress Barn Store Manager Janice Mangus agrees that dresses are the way to stay cool in the summer but there are also inappropriate dresses that should not be worn in a professional setting.
“Professional-wise I wouldn’t wear sleeveless, but worn with a lightweight shrug almost any dress can be made professionally appropriate,” Mangus said.
Dresses are the cool solution for the body, but what about the feet?
Schwartz said flip-flops should “Never, never, never!” be worn at the office.
However, Dutton and Mangus agree that dressy flip-flops coupled with an appropriate office outfit can be allowed on occasion in a professional setting.
“A simple summer outfit can be dressed up with high heels, of course,” Dutton said. “Sometimes pulling your hair up makes the whole outfit, and it is a lot cooler, too. I will accessorize with jewelry but shoes are my thing.”
Schwartz and Mangus agree that a pair of appropriate pumps and chunky jewelry makes a simple summer outfit. All three experts agreed the less skin showing the better; however, panty hose are a thing of the past.
“[Pantyhose] have been stripped from our store,” Mangus said. “We could not sell them in the summer or during the winter months.”
Schwartz has a rule of thumb to help professional women know if her dress or shorts are office appropriate.
“[I]f you are showing enough skin that it can uncomfortably stick to a plastic chair, then it’s probably too much for the office.”
Copyright St. George News 2011