clothing

Flip-flops in the office, short-shorts in the boardroom & more NSFW summer looks

June 6, 2013 at 3:53 PM ET

what not to wear to work in summer
Alija/Vetta/Getty Images /
what not to wear to work in summer

NSFW Look #1: Flip Flops
We’ve all wanted to pull a Peter Gibbons from Office Space and stroll into work wearing flip-flops, a Hawaiian shirt and a who-cares attitude. But then we remember we have credit card bills. Sigh. So save the plastic dime-store thongs for the pool if you want to keep the paychecks rolling in. Instead, upgrade to a luxe-looking leather sandal with chunky straps or a cute peep-toe wedge in a pretty print. If your office has a closed-toe shoe policy, try a colorful sling-back heel.

NSFW Look #2: Strapless
Do you commute to work on roller skates? Then don’t squeeze into a tube top or risk a wardrobe malfunction with a strapless dress. Rule of thumb: if you can’t wear a standard bra with it, you probably shouldn’t wear it to the office. Layer your look instead, topping a fitted shift dress with a blazer that you can remove on lunch breaks and after-hours.

NSFW Look #3: Beach Bag
Your work bag shouldn't serve double duty as your shore catch-all. After all, you don’t want to be sprinkling sand all over your desk or harboring hermit crabs in your file cabinets. If you like bag that's big, try a structured tote in a light colored leather. It’ll work well with your cheerier seasonal looks and make the morning drudgery seem slightly more bearable.

NSFW Look #4: Tank Tops

Casual ribbed tanks are best left for the gym and the BBQs this time of year. An easy safe-for-work swap? The sleeveless button-down. Worn with a classic pencil skirt or a skinny ankle-length pant, the look is effortlessly cool. But keep a cardi at the ready to cover up if you have a last-minute meeting or to combat that freezing office AC!

NSFW Look #5: Low-Cut Anything
You don’t want to smother the girls in this sweltering heat or suffer from unfortunate under-boob sweat, but allowing your cleavage to breathe in a revealing V-neck top or spaghetti-strap dress might earn you some HR finger-wagging. A flowy, silk bohemian blouse or tunic in a graphic print or floral pattern offers the breath of fresh air you need, without suffocating your chances of a promotion.

NSFW Look #6: Short Shorts
Eh, just no. Unless your office is a Hooters restaurant. Instead, slim, knee-length Bermudas worn with a blazer offer a tropical take on the suit. Or pair them with the aforementioned sleeveless shirt and espadrilles for an almost-at-the-beach, casual-Friday ensemble.

NSFW Look #7: Crop Tops
Midriff-baring crop tops are awesome for summer music festivals. Not so much for weekly staff meetings. That doesn’t, however, mean that showing a slice of skin has to be tawdry. If done correctly you can wear subtle keyhole necklines, laser-cut overlays or dresses with a bit of an open back.

NSFW Look #8: Minis
It's tempting to want to flaunt your toned and tanned legs 24/7 during the summer, but short skirts and mini-dresses need to be reserved as weekend-only wear. A timeless shirtdress in chambray or a bright color will provide just the right amount of thigh coverage and appear professional without looking stuffy.

NSFW Look #9: Tight Everything

There's something about the heat that makes a few working girls dress like they're starring in an American Apparel ad—all Spandex and Lycra. Instead of going tight, look for clothes in woven fabrics that skim rather than squeeze the life out of your figure.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.


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