CR Fletcher

2010 Greater Syracuse Business of the Year
C.R. Fletcher Associates, Inc.
Certified NYS Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE)

Casual Summer Dress Code? By: Marielle Lanoir, PHR

We live in Central New York, which means once that outdoor thermometer hits anything above 50 degrees, our minds quickly think Warm Weather, which then makes us think Summer, which then brings our attention to Summer Work Attire.

Many offices allow for a more relaxed and casual dress code policy from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  This policy could be in place for the entire work week, or maybe just on Fridays.  Yes, this can be a fun “perk” to employees, allowing them to express their style a little more and maybe even allow them them to feel more positive and upbeat.

However, the word “casual” can have many different definitions and meanings to individuals.

In an environment where the typical dress policy is “Business Professional”, meaning for the most part individuals wear suits, collar shirts, closed toe shoes etc., business casual could for instance mean on Fridays, individuals can wear capris, or a short sleeve polo.  However, in a “Business Casual” environment, an even more casually adopted dress code could possibly mean flip flops and shorts, which could of course be a safety concern in some environments.

Now, lets face it.  Over the years, dress code norm has changed from what we remember.  Individuals are a bit more expressive in what they wear, which is not necessarily a bad thing at all.  It simply leaves more room for interpretation of the possible proposal of a casual summer dress code.

Employees, if you are unsure what the seasonal policy entails, talk to your Human Resources Department.  Do not just assume that everyone aggress with your casual definition that includes flip flops.  If you come in looking like you are going to a picnic, in shorts, and a tank top, but all your other coworkers are wearing khaki dress pants or professional attire summer dresses, this may be an awkward situation for you, that can easily be avoided!

Employers, make sure you explain in detail what this policy means for your employees and remain consistent across the board.  Spell out what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.  Talk to the various managers to make sure they enforce the policy within their department.  Finally, make sure that you have corrective actions in place, should someone come to work in their beach attire!

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