What to Wear or Not When It’s Hot: Office Dress Codes

by Anon for This Topic

Today (mid-July), I received an email from our HR department reminding us of the office dress code policy.  I can’t post it for obvious reasons, but here is a bullet summary:

  • Employee’s appearance is a direct reflection on the level of professionalism at the organization.
  • Employees must follow the accepted standards of professional office attire.
  • Clothing or jewelry that could present a safety hazard is not permitted (although not in the policy the email goes on to say that flip flops are in this category)
  • Employee’s who do not meet with the public can wear business casual, but it cannot be inappropriate or provocative.
  • All attire must be neat and modest (although not in the policy, the email goes on to say that must be free from rips/tears, clean and no logos or printing other than employer issued shirts)
  • Supervisors can answer questions about what is appropriate.
  • Employees who violate the dress code can be asked to go home and change.  Time away from work to do this is uncompensated.

This comes on the heels of the following article in the New York Times.

The End of the Office Dress Code

This raises the question for me about how does one, especially women, figure out what the standards of professional attire are? I would not feel comfortable asking many of the supervisors I have had for input on this topic, but I have asked mentors. I have provided feedback to those I have mentored, both men and women, when asked or when it was clearly an issue. However, my preferred approach is to watch what my peers and higher ups wear and try to figure out their definitions of professional attire vs. business casual.

In general, I think my employer is fairly laid back as far as dress code standards, so I am curious who has worn what that prompted this. Does summer prompt dress code issues in your workplace or do you struggle more in the summer? Do you ever feel that this is just another area of ambiguous rules that can be bent to fit the situation?


140 thoughts on “What to Wear or Not When It’s Hot: Office Dress Codes

  1. We used to receive 2 emails when summer struck during grad school. (1) was the “dog” memo which stated that dogs were not allowed in buildings, and couldn’t join owners at work (2) was the “if you work in a lab, you cannot wear shorts and open-toed shoes. we understand its hot out, so please leave lab-appropriate attire at work and change when necessary.” memo.

    Both were ignored regularly. They were the jokes of the summer. As in “you know it’s summer when we get the dog and lab memos”!

  2. It is so cold (!) in my office/building, that I dress less “summery”-and I keep a sweater in my office that I have to put on every morning when I get in. The formal dress code is very vague, and you can see anything from super casual (jeans, sneakers), to business attire, all year long. Of course each discipline throughout the building has certain standards to adhere to depending on their position/department.

  3. Thank god I can work at home in the summer. Last week, I did have to go into campus for a meeting on a day when it hit 97. Having to put on a work appropriate bra and wear makeup was torture. Mascara is so slimy feeling in the heat and as usual, I ended up with prickly heat rash from the bra. I don’t know how people who wear bras all the time ever survive summer.

  4. I see women at the town pool in full makeup, which strikes me as so weird. Doesn’t their mascara get all icky and clumpy when they get in the water? And if they aren’t swimming, why would they want to bake in the sun in full makeup? Get in the air conditioning!!!

  5. I think one summer there was a kerfuffle over whether Hawaiian shirts were allowed. Mind you, this was Miami in the summer. The person who breached this repeatedly was fired because he got into a screaming match with his boss over it. I couldn’t understand it because this was the new business casual policy that previously required ties for men and pantyhose for women….in Miami…in the summer…in the 2000’s. I had one place that was full formal business dress on Mondays for our weekly meeting with our company of 10 (no outsiders). I think it’s more about personalities at the top than anything else.

  6. “However, my preferred approach is to watch what my peers and higher ups wear and try to figure out their definitions of professional attire vs. business casual.”

    This is what I do, for the most part. My peers and higher ups in other departments though more than my direct boss as my boss is the most formally, conservatively-dressed person in the entire company, so I don’t feel like I need to be a mini-me. But I do keep that in mind & try not to go too far in the casual direction because of that.

    Summer gets kind of nuts around here. Things that even in a casual environment seem to be a bit too much. Today in the lobby I saw a girl wearing a pretty short, pretty revealing slip dress that showed her strapless bra both in front & back. I don’t think the bra-showing was intentional, but the dress was so low-cut and flimsy that it was to be expected. We get a lot of overly revealing clothes in the summer and also lots of flip flops, cargo shorts and novelty t shirts. I do not and would not wear any of those things both because I don’t think it’s appropriate and because the A/C is set so dang cold. I have not heard of anyone actually being reprimanded, spoken to, etc though. There are some pretty high up people who wear some pretty questionable items, but this is a creative field so I think certain disciplines get a pass.

  7. If I worked at our head office, I’d probably be dressing too casual. But our satellite office is more casual. Today I’m wearing a print shirt, and skinny pants (not jeans). I have gotten away with gray jeans with flats or boots and a shirt or long sweater.

    It’s usually 100 outside and -100 inside, so when I freeze, I wear a green fitted zip up hoodie over my clothes. Not entirely professional, but I’m not cold, so that’s what matters.

  8. Mooshi – I know I have said this before, but it sounds like you may not be wearing the right size or need to try a cami or bralette that is mostly cotton if yours is giving you rash.

    In summer I will wear my sandals to come into work and then if I am just in my office, but if I am going to a meeting I put on my closed toe shoes (mostly ballet flats). We don’t require hose or business formal in my office, thankfully.

  9. “It’s usually 100 outside and -100 inside, so when I freeze, I wear a green fitted zip up hoodie over my clothes. Not entirely professional, but I’m not cold, so that’s what matters.”

    I have a shawl thing that is so big that it is more like a blanket that I wear in my office, even over layers, in the summer. It is just so cold inside. I have threatened to get a Snuggie before. I know what Rhett says – dress like a man. But seriously – I had jeans and a cardigan on one day recently and still needed my blanket! It is always about 65 degrees in here, winter or summer.

  10. Freezing here too. My fingers are currently purple. I have a blazer and a shawl that live here and still have to go outside in 100 degree weather to thaw out. So wasteful.

  11. I used to spend more on work clothes but now what people wear daily is very casual, so I go with a cheaper wardrobe. Many people also WFH, so again not much motivation to dress way up. Work also has a slogan, something like “Be your best self” which people have taken to mean be neat, professional but little focus on clothes.

  12. freezing in my office in the summer – I wear a cardigan or sweater over my blouse every day

  13. At my first job, the dress code permitted open toed shoes during the summer, but only on pedicured feet.

  14. I do camis at home, but those don’t give the correct look for those very thin, fitted business style summer tops. I need a “Tshirt” bra for that kind of shirt, and Tshirt bras are like wearing mittens.

    I get prickly heat rash really easily which is a big reason why I don’t live in the South. Interestingly, I love summer weather – I just don’t like wearing inappropriate clothes in the summer.

  15. One other factor for me is that unlike most offices which are freezing in summer, my university takes energy conservation seriously so our offices are not very cool. And I have to walk a long ways from the parking lots to my office, and last week I had to walk even further to the building where we had our meeting.

  16. “Mascara is so slimy feeling in the heat”

    MM can’t you just skip the mascara in the office if you don’t like it?

  17. Winemama, if I want to look professional, I can skip almost any other makeup aspect, but not the mascara!! I have pale blonde eyelashes!!!! The only way I can get away with no mascara is if I am wearing no other makeup at all.

  18. I can understand feeling self conscious about not wearing mascara or other makeup.

    Do the folks on here (esp the men) pay any attention to what makeup those at work are wearing?

  19. MM – try True&Co for bras. More expensive than in my neck of the woods, but they give a lot of guidance on sizing and free returns. So, order a bunch to try in your home and try on under what you’ll be wearing.

    WFH is especially nice in summer. As it will be 100 the next few days without the heat index added on.

    At the recommendation from someone here, I tried Birchbox. I have found that mascaras differ widely, so you might want to try a few. Also, I am allergic to them when they get even slightly old. So, I am mor picky about what I use and/or how long I use it. I can never go more than 60 days.

  20. Do the folks on here (esp the men) pay any attention to what makeup those at work are wearing?

    Not at all, unless it’s totally overdone. But I couldn’t tell you if a woman was wearing mascara even if I was looking for it.

  21. “Do the folks on here (esp the men) pay any attention to what makeup those at work are wearing?”

    You know, that is one of those things. When you wear fairly natural, work-appropriate eye makeup, it isn’t that noticeable. It isn’t designed to be noticeable. Until the day you don’t wear it & everyone says you look tired or asks if you are feeling well. I do notice sometimes when someone isn’t wearing makeup if they usually wear it. But I never comment on it, and it isn’t a big deal. It wouldn’t make me think someone was unprofessional. If someone never wore makeup, I don’t think I would notice.

  22. It isn’t a question of fit. I have some that fit. It is that every bra I have tried (not cami’s, but actual bras) are hot. And for a simple reason – they only function if they cover you up with fabric that stays close to the skin. It is the same reason that I get very hot and itchy in a swimsuit unless I am actually in the water.

  23. MM – I would get some different tops then, something looser and with a print. :)

    It is also freezing in my office all the time – I wear a blazer over my clothes every day but I still need to run my space heater in the summer, which is really dumb.

  24. Freezing at work; sweltering on the subway. It’s a no win situation. I leave jackets and sweaters in the office (and shoes). I had to spend a ton last year to upgrade my professional wardrobe, so now I make sure to wear it, even in this ridiculous heat.

    Weirdly our office is more professionally dressed than our head office. Different cultures I guess.

  25. Denver Dad, I think in an office setting, you would be more likely to notice a woman NOT wearing makeup, because makeup is so much the norm. Especially for women with paler skin or who are over 30.

  26. “Do the folks on here (esp the men) pay any attention to what makeup those at work are wearing?”

    Not unless there is a change. If you never wear it and come in wearing it I’ll notice or vice versa. That said, if you’re a VP, sales person, recruiter, etc. and you don’t wear makeup I’d think that was out of place.

    The only thing I always notice, maybe it’s because I’m tall, is your roots. I know you get them done ever 4 weeks and and if you miss an appointment I’ll totally know.

  27. If you are cold at the office, buy a Sunbeam heated shawl for use at your desk. It really helps and doesn’t look as obvious as a blanket.
    MooshieMooshie, instead of mascara, could you find a light brown, gray, or navy eyeliner to lightly line the top of your eyelid for a little definition? Go to Sephora and ask them to recommend something that won’t slide off in the heat. Or use waterproof mascara.

  28. When I managed employees I occasionally needed to “coach” a person on proper dress. The most memorable was when I had to alert a woman her underwear was showing under her very short skirt. In this case and some others, it was her fellow employees who complained.

    Although I haven’t seen this in a work environment, I’ve noticed it’s acceptable for a bra straps and back to be showing. At one event I attended a young woman had a very nice dress that was almost backless and most of her bra in the back was showing.

    Make up doesn’t bother me at all, summer or winter. I don”t feel a thing. I only wear mascara occasionally, but I wear powder concealer and overall face powder daily.

  29. I use a space heater. Technically not allowed, but I need it to survive my cold office.

  30. Mooshi, maybe I would notice, I don’t know. I definitely wouldn’t care and it wouldn’t affect my opinion of the person. I will never understand why women who hate makeup as much as you do insist on wearing it. If it makes you that uncomfortable, don’t wear it. Nobody is going to think less of you because you have blonde eyelashes. Really.

  31. “Do the folks on here (esp the men) pay any attention to what makeup those at work are wearing?”

    I *think* if it’s done right you mainly notice the woman looks more attractive and professional. These may be a little overdone, but it illustrates the point.

  32. “At my first job, the dress code permitted open toed shoes during the summer, but only on pedicured feet.”

    Really? Did HR have polish police?

  33. ^ Maybe “attractive” is not the right word. But more “put together”, which can be important in a business environment.

  34. I’m with Rhett…I’ll notice if there’s a change. Honestly I don’t care one way or another as long the makeup is done well. Perfume, to get another tangent started, is a whole ‘nother thing. Zero is the right amount for the office (goes for after shave etc on guys too)

    Our office is technically business casual Memorial Day – Labor Day, but that’s rarely taken up by the guys. We usually wear ties. Really not that big a deal to me since I’ve been wearing a tie to work for ~35 years now.

  35. One woman in my workplace is professionally dressed but she has added Indian anklets with tiny bells and when she walks around I hear it. I know the sound from the home country.
    I get distracted by people who have tattoos. I like to look at the designs and I may look a bit longer than is appropriate.

  36. I remember driving around in Austin in the summer in a non-air conditioned car making business calls. I usually wore a skirt or dress that was sleeveless, and then put on a blazer for the meeting. I can’t remember, but I think I wore pantyhose, which actually have never bothered me much.

  37. The thing that always drove me crazy when I worked in an office was when women wore those backless sandals and you’d hear that “thwack-thwack-thwack” sound all the time.

  38. My third level manager (Berkeley PhD) wears flannel shirts, jeans, no make-up and has a flat top haircut. And she is wicked smart and professional.

  39. On Houston:


    I went there once for work in April & thought it was a great place for a business trip. Then I had to go back in August. I thought I was going to die.

    “The thing that always drove me crazy when I worked in an office was when women wore those backless sandals and you’d hear that “thwack-thwack-thwack” sound all the time.”

    Yeah, that’s one of the most annoying sounds in a quiet office environment. I also hate the sound of people dragging their feet when they walk.

  40. I hate:
    – Makeup
    – Pantyhose
    – Heels over 1 1/2 inches
    – Most skirt suits
    – Spending more than five minutes a day on my hair
    – Ironing

    Tools of the patriarchy, there to keep us down!

    DS has told me that he wants to wear an oxford shirt and khakis to kindergarten (where there is no uniform or dress code). I hope he likes them rumpled….

    In church, I have noticed a lot of younger women wearing sweaters and dresses that show the back of their bra in its entirety. I spend too much time wondering if they know, and if so, why they think that we all need to see that.

    Also, whoever thought up women’s sweaters that button down the back should be banished from polite society.

  41. “Also, whoever thought up women’s sweaters that button down the back should be banished from polite society.”

    I’ve seen some cute ones on pinterest, but I don’t own any

  42. I agree with whomever said that if you don’t like makeup, don’t wear it. Same with heels. Except for big meetings, I never wear either. I find it uncomfortable and with three kids under 5, it is just one more thing I don’t have time for in the morning.

    That said, my office is business casual, but I pretty much always wear a jacket or blazer, which often makes me more formally dressed than my colleagues. I think it makes me look more polished (especially given the no makeup-hair pulled back wet look I am so frequently rocking). I work in a male donated financial services environment, and I bet 90% of the guys notice nothing about what the women wear, unless it’s blatantly inappropriate (too short, tight, revealing etc).

  43. It may be the drier climate, but I noticed when I moved out west that the office air conditioning, even in places that routinely hit triple digits, tends to be at a much more reasonable temperature than it was in any office I worked in the South. Here I can comfortably work in a sheath dress or skirt and blouse and only need a light sweater for the colder conference rooms. Back in Houston and New Orleans, I needed pants and a sweater or blazer year round to survive the AC.

    On the OP, I look at what our female HR manager wears as a guide to office appropriate women’s clothing. She always looks pulled together. Every summer a memo comes out reminding people about what is appropriate for our business casual dress code. It is sent to everyone, but I think it’s mainly meant as a primer for the summer interns.

  44. “Also, whoever thought up women’s sweaters that button down the back should be banished from polite society.”

    Aren’t those just pullover sweaters with decorative buttons on the back?

  45. “I have noticed a lot of younger women wearing sweaters and dresses that show the back of their bra in its entirety. I spend too much time wondering if they know, and if so, why they think that we all need to see that.”

    Better than me! I stare. And stare. And it’s probably bordering on stalking. I just can’t not see it.

    If you want to wear clothes like that, get the proper undergarments!

    I”m lazy with button or zip up shirts (I have a sweater than zips up 1/4 of the back)… I leave the top few buttons undone, or the zipper at the right place, to leave enough room for head and arms to get in their proper places. Then I button/zip myself into place. I’ve never had a shirt hat buttons up the back. I’d spend my day wondering if I put my shirt on backwards (which has happened more times than I care to admit).

  46. I don’t think I’d want to wear a shirt with buttons on the back. Those buttons would make me uncomfortable anytime I’d sit in a chair with a back.

  47. From the NY Times article referenced in the OP:

    “There’s a strain of thought that says an employee represents a company. . .”

    I’m wondering if that’s what the quoted person really said, or if she was misquoted.

    That’s the sort of thing on which the NYT writing blog might comment, but I found that has been discontinued. However, I discovered another use of that malapropism in an earlier NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/10/opinion/feminism-hell-and-hillary-clinton.html.

  48. “If you want to wear clothes like that, get the proper undergarments!”

    IMO, it’s a fashion statement not unlike boys wearing their pants falling down to show that they are wearing underwear.

  49. work appropriate bra

    I can’t say that I’ve ever worried about whether my bras were work appropriate . . . I figure it’s not supposed to be visible, and as long as it’s not visible, who’s to know whether it’s beige and unadorned or lacy and colorful?

    I do find the trend toward freely showing bra straps mildly perplexing. It’s one thing for the bralette style where it’s sort of intended to show under one of those light tops with the very deep vee or the sleeveless ones with the oversized armholes, similar to how people in my generation would wear tube tops under overalls. My daughter has some bralettes that she wears like that, because this is Hawaii and the culture allows teen girls to wear skimpy clothes. But I also see grown women (but younger than me) wearing regular bras with a racerback top or something and just letting the straps show. If nothing else, it ruins the line of the clothing.

  50. “At one event I attended a young woman had a very nice dress that was almost backless and
    most of her bra in the back was showing.”

    Carrie Bradshaw did this years ago on Sex & the City. Not a new trend, but I think it is weird, too.

  51. I don’t like the trend of regular bra straps showing either. It is weird to me, just looks like there is too much going on, in addition to undergarments not supposed to be showing. It’s one thing if your workout top has multiple straps or multiple layers, but I don’t like the backless dress worn with a regular bra, for example, or a racerback dress with a non-racerback bra.

  52. I think I remember carrie underwood on the “before he cheats” video wearing the bra straps showing look, I don’t like this look either

  53. I noticed in Italy a number of professional looking women with visible bras. Older – in 30s and 40s. For example, there was a early-40ish woman on the train who was working diligently at her laptop the entire trip, wearing tailored pants, a tight tailored white shirt and a black bra. Nothing else about her look said “edgy” or “dramatic”. Saw this repeated many times. Slightly different issue than the visible bra straps, but weird.

    I feel like the “help MM find a bra that works” thread has come up before, but I’ll weigh in. I second True and Co. Also, Soma is good – a mall store with a little more maturity than Vicotria’s Secret. This is not an unsolvable problem.

  54. The guys are probably like “please, make it stop!” by now with all the bra talk.

  55. Scarlett – yes! And we were also supposed to wear pantyhose. I have no idea how that rule works with open-toed shoes being permitted in the summer. This firm might be one of the last to still require full suits for attorneys every day. No matter what.

  56. I’m trying to think of really horrible fashion choices for work for men… the only one I can think of is the pants so low that you’re showing your underwear. Or maybe wearing one of those white under shirts and nothing over it to work.

    Is the focus of HR dress code policies more geared towards women because men really don’t have many clothes choices?

  57. Kate – ugh. Around here the “secondary” New England markets (like Manchester and Burlington) tend to have more formal dress than the Boston firms. I often wear a suit but would HATE to have to wear hose and skirts.

  58. This is the look I’ve seen. Just seems weird, but so do some other fashion choices.

  59. I’m trying to think of really horrible fashion choices for work for men…

    How about an inseam that makes it all too clear on which side they carry? Maybe not something you see at the office, though. Or the guy who wears tightly-cinched pants below a vast gut restrained only by a logo polo shirt?

  60. I’m trying to think of really horrible fashion choices for work for men…

    The only one I can think of is guys wearing shorts or team apparel.

  61. “Or the guy who wears tightly-cinched pants below a vast gut restrained only by a logo polo shirt?”

    common look here for men

    Didn’t we discuss before how dress codes are inherently sexist and aimed at women?

    Wasn’t there a link where a woman compared school dress codes to what she wears to work?

  62. “I’m trying to think of really horrible fashion choices for work for men”

    I’m thinking more of the ill-fitting, schlubby or stained variety. Too-tight pants, too-long pants dragging on the floor, wrinkled clothes, pit stained shirts, etc. Although I have definitely seen people try to pull off hipster looks here that really didn’t work.

    I don’t mind wearing hosiery in the fall/winter, but I would hate for it to be mandated everyday. I don’t mind wearing skirts/dresses sometimes, but I don’t like wearing full suits. I would have a lot of trouble getting used to a more formal environment again. I hope to never own another pair of khaki pants (or the equivalent).

    The woman in my building was wearing a dress kind of like this. I don’t think this is really work appropriate even in a casual environment.

    I don’t like the bra showing look that L or COC describe at all – visible adjustable straps/hooks. What looks good about that? Bralettes that look like tank tops – okay, maybe. Sports bras & workout tanks – totally fine.

  63. One of the nice perks of working for myself is that I can wear whatever I want. Today I didn’t have any client meetings, so I wore shorts and a t-shirt to the office. A nice t-shirt and nice shorts, but still way more casual than I could get away with at a regular office.

    For summertime professional wear, I have turned almost exclusively to dresses. On days when I have client meetings, I’ll put on a dress like this paired with kitten-heeled slingbacks, and call it good.


  64. But HM, the polo shirt example might be a company-issue shirt, so 100% ok. And, as to your first example, even when I was young and in shape, I couldn’t stand pants/jeans that were tight fitting.

    and re the bra talk “please make it stop”….it’s like when we guys talk about car buying, probably the most frequent example. Those who don’t like it (often) just stay away that day.

  65. Ivy, I agree, that is NOT an office dress.

    I’m looking through camp photos (my daughter is at camp again this week) and a plurality of the female counselors is in a sports bra and running shorts. Possibly this is to better show off their war paint as the campers are divided up into tribes and doing contests all week.

  66. What about hair and beard for men? One young man I know was told his man bun was not allowed. But that 5-day growth beard style seems to have gained wide acceptance.

  67. CoC – DH and I recently went out to dinner and every man in the place (except DH) has a beard or very styled moustache, waitstaff, bartender, guests, everyone. I didn’t realize how far the Williamsburg look had spread.

    Men do not have facial hair in my office.

  68. “But that 5-day growth beard style seems to have gained wide acceptance.”

    Apparently, so has the much longer growth beard style.

    I guess this makes Sikhs and Orthodox Jews more trendy.

  69. NoB, I love that dress. But that dress totally illustrates my problem. I could not wear that dress without a lightly padded bra to give me a curve. That front would sag down in a really weird way – trust me on this. Most dressy dresses and tops are simply not cut for my figure. So lightly padded bras are a must – but they are very hot and sweaty. It is frustrating because I think dresses like that are perfect for summer professional wear.

  70. When I worked at the software company, the only rules in the dress code were: no shorts, no holes in clothing, and no message Tshirts. A lot of the men were really badly dressed. We also had lots of dogs hanging out.

  71. Man buns don’t bug me too much but I detest those guys who striving for that 1865 look – short hair with huge bushy beard. Ick. It didn’t look good on the guys in the Civil War documentaries and it doesn’t look good now.

    Tattoos have gotten totally out of hand. I was at a waterpark last weekend, and I would estimate that 75% of the adults there had huge tattoos. A lot of the guys were very overweight, and their chest and abdominal flab was covered in big mean tattoos, often going right up their necks. I don’t mind an artistic little tattoo here and there, but this was just revolting.

  72. Mooshi, I agree. Those James Harden-type beards look uncomfortable, especially in hot, humid weather and when doing strenuous activity.

  73. Did someone here mention StyleWe ? I liked their clothes – very colorful and I ordered. If I like the fit, that store will be on my list.

    The bralette tank style is silly and women should just dispense with the huge armhole tank top and go around with the just the bra. Going around in workout/yoga tops/bras is acceptable so it’s just a little more than that :-).

  74. I finally had my Nest Protect smoke/CO alarms installed. Cool. Next up are indoor and outdoor video cams.

  75. For those with issues of roots showing, you need to check out the different root concealers. I use it between my quarterly colorings (which probably should be more frequent). I use Style Edit, but Oribe has some too and it looks like L’Oreal is even getting in the game. Can buy at salon or Ulta (probably Sephora, too). Best analogy I can make are the spray-on baldness cure from late night TV about a decade back. Its not that bad. I’m hooked.

    “Man buns don’t bug me too much but I detest those guys who striving for that 1865 look – short hair with huge bushy beard. Ick. ” Ha ha, I had a guy in my law school class a few years back (PT evenings) who I always thought of him as “that Civil War reenactor.”

    Also, after a trip to Mexico for work this week, I can confirm the trendy male facial hair + curled mustache is not reserved to the US.

  76. My work never mentions a dress code, and there is a huge variety. My VP where’s very tailored jeans and tailored shirts, but they’re still jeans so casual is OK. One man in my general area wears cargo shorts a lot in the summer, and another guy I pass in the hall wears jean shorts every day. Both men are over 50, and it is just a weird look for an office.

    I am sitting in the airport now, and I can’t understand how women can travel in Daisy Dukes. All of that public transportation all over your bare skin. Yuck

    I am jealous of you with cold offices. My office is too warm, and I am a woman of a certain age, I cannot stand to be hot. I keep a fan on my desk and have to use it 80% of the days

  77. Scarlett and Rocky — I’m generally not a fan of LL Bean clothes (I find most of them beyond dowdy), but I do love that dress. I have it in a couple of different prints. It’s sort of become my summer work uniform.

    Mooshi — I do have to wear a t-shirt bra with that dress. Actually, I have to wear one with pretty much everything to even out my proportions. I don’t love it in the summertime either, but I haven’t thought of a good alternative.

  78. And to each her own, but personally I don’t think I could ever stand kissing a guy who had one of those Civil-War beards.

  79. NoB,
    I have that dress in several different prints as well, and wore them recently at a week-long conference It meets my fundamental objective — clothing that feels like you aren’t wearing clothing. Is there a winter version??

    Houston, I used my awesome packing cubes and the friends hosting me (an engineer married to a physician) immediately ordered some for themselves. You should get a commission.

  80. Mooshi, I know your dean is into faculty dressing in office attire, but what about something that just announces that it is summer time and you know there is a dress code, but it is summer? I wear shirts and dresses with s(h)elf bras all the time. They’d never do for daily office wear, but for occasional summer meetings on campus, I bet you could do something like this http://www.backcountry.com/prana-rebecca-dress-womens?CMP_SKU=PRA00G3&MER=0406&skid=PRA00G3-X003-M&CMP_ID=PLA_GMm001&mv_pc=r101&utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PLA&mr:trackingCode=24ECFD3E-93D1-E511-80F3-005056944E17&mr:referralID=NA&mr:device=m&mr:adType=plaonline&gclid=Cj0KEQjw2ua8BRDeusOkl5qth4QBEiQA8BpQcEhU-bmoKg-Vg-qbngWIfUdwltonljkqadW5UKuEDj8aArOv8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds

    The strappage on that one is kind of crazy, but given the AC issue, you’d probably have a cardi or jacket of some sort along anyway.

  81. I sent this to a lawyer friend who I respect about a week ago, haven’t gotten a reply, but we have texted about other things since then. I’m seriously curious. Individual lawyers liking fashion and wanting to dress a certain way to give off a professional vibe is one thing–I’m fine with that–but judges reprimanding lawyers for peep toe shoes? Really ? There are several mentions in this comment string of judges forbidding fashion things that I would not even notice. I much prefer WCE’s boss’s approach to this.
    Seriously? Are judges really so fashion-conscious and are most lawyers such prima donnas? I’m sure you look awesome in a suit, but also in any of the other things mentioned here. And I think your knowledge and abilities would shine through any outfit anyway. This, from a bunch of attorneys, just blows me away. http://corporette.com/wearing-a-dress-blazer-instead-of-suit/

    L, this is at least the third time that MM’s bra has been a topic of Totebag discussion.

    I wore one of those dresses–not Prana, but similar idea, with nice ruching to–the other day. Got all my errands run, was on my last stop which involved getting a receptionist to go get an individual I needed to speak with, and make a positive impression on. Walking towards that person, I lifted my hand to shake their hand, felt my arm graze something, looked down and realized it was the seam of my dress, which I was wearing inside out! Yes, really. Next (and last) stop was the coffee shop, where they convinced me it wasn’t noticeable–the band around the edge of the bodice was sewn with the edge turned under the same way on each side–but still 😳

  82. Manbuns; facial hair like ATM posted, and excessive tattooing all strike me as ways to keep women away, but what do I know? I recently spoke with someone who finds it attractive when men “sag” their pants so their undies show. I did not think that was possible.

  83. Mooshi, this one is a little longer, doesn’t have straps or shelf bra. You wouldn’t have to wear anything under it on top, because the ruching creates a nice little illusion. Are you on 12-month contract or doing them a favor by coming in? I always took the 9- or 10-month contract. Figured that it got me the same amount of money more quickly, so I could just put some in an interest hearing account until summer and get a few extra $$ that way.

  84. On the off chance that MM is actually looking for help, I heard great things about this brand. http://www.icebreaker.com/en/womens-bras

    They are not too structured, which probably works if you are smaller. They specifically came up in a facebook thread about avoiding “swamp boob”. Supposedly the wool makes them breathable compared with every other bra in the universe.

  85. Louise – I’m really interested about what you think about StyleWe. Their stuff is totally lovely, but I’ve seen mixed reviews online.

  86. Guys, the reason I was on campus last week was a) a get to know you private meeting with our new dean, a very sophisticated and stylish Italian lady that we are counting on to make a case for us for equipment and b) a larger meeting which involved the dean, the main administrator for facilities, the vice provost, and the head of IT. The men, btw, were all sweltering in full suits.

  87. “I am sitting in the airport now, and I can’t understand how women can travel in Daisy Dukes. All of that public transportation all over your bare skin. Yuck”

    I think the same thing everyday. Ewww! Same with mini skirts. I do not want my skin on the L seat.

    I have seen StyleWe pop up in my ads & was curious about it because some of the items are really lovely. Report back!

    Oh, I would die to see someone at the grocery store dressed as the tavern wench. That would be amazing.

    My office has lots of tattoos and facial hair. Facial hair is rampant even in the boring departments like mine. I really despise facial hair & am glad that DH does not go for that look. He is no hipster.

  88. My H left this morning for his NYC corporate office job wearing a 3-day stubble and a suit with no tie. He’s no spring chicken (does that term even apply to men?) but he looked good, and apparently quite appropriate for his office. A few years ago I would have said that stubble look is wrong and unappealing, but I’ve come to like it. OTOH, I still dislike that long beard and short hair look posted earlier.

  89. ““I am sitting in the airport now, and I can’t understand how women can travel in Daisy Dukes. All of that public transportation all over your bare skin. Yuck”

    I think the same thing everyday. Ewww! Same with mini skirts. I do not want my skin on the L seat.”

    You need Sheldon Cooper’s bus pants. Pants he wears over his actual pants when he travels on public transit so his clothes don’t get gross.

    If I hadn’t been watching the conventions I wouldn’t know which VP couple went with which party. They look completely interchangeable.

  90. CoC, the only people I have ever hear referring to themselves as “no spring chicken” have been men

  91. “totally rocking the Dad-pants.”

    I guess I better change my wardrobe.

  92. More than being Dad pants, it’s the physique that is making those pants look dumpy.
    2-4 day stubble is sexy on the right guy. Won’t look sexy on either of vp candidates or the other guy. Beards are just terrible unless you are a Sikh guy. And between turbans and beard, they all look the same to me.

  93. Rhett, your butler also needs to go with you then to help you dress and undress for the toilet!

  94. @Rhett – Maybe a version where the pants leave something to the imagination for work.

  95. Rhett, your butler also needs to go with you then to help you dress and undress for the toilet!

    Certainly not! That’s what a valet is for.

  96. Maybe a version where the pants leave something to the imagination for work.

    Speaking of that, a few weeks ago I was at the airport and there was a very fit sales douche looking guy wearing a quarter zip running shirt and running tights… Ok, a little odd but whatever. Then, a few days ago, I was out walking the dog and there was a guy wearing a fitted polo shirt and tights carrying a briefcase on his way to work. Dear God, I hope that’s not becoming a thing.

  97. I’d still love to hear from the lawyers on judges setting dress codes.

    This is from a recent VerySmartBrothas column. The comments took up the theme and are funny too.
    Tim Kaine isn’t just a fucking grown-up. He’s a computer-generated conglomeration of every dad from an 80’s teen movie. If someone today replaced Tim Kaine as Hillary Clinton’s running mate with Tim Allen, I doubt we’d even notice until September. Of 2018. If Donald Trump was born on third base, Tim Kaine was born in the driver’s seat of a Dodge Caravan.

  98. Rhode – yes! In my head I was screaming at those women “don’t you know about bus pants?! @

  99. Just one more bra suggestion. I find this one to be very comfortable and breathable because of the mesh material. When I first got it, I didn’t think it would hold up well because of the flimsy material, but it’ s one of my favorites and has held up very well. I have several of these now. I also like the natori mesh lace panties because they are invisible under clothes – no panty lines.


  100. You know my youngest would happily wear all that stuff to school. But the outfit I checked out (Edwardian newsboy looking one) has the pants all sold out in the smaller sizes. I wonder if that’s true of all of them?

    That reminds me, I’m supposed to be switching him over to a clothing allowance any time now. Which he’ll probably spend on games and Mexican food, and end up getting clothes for Xmas, if he follows his brother’s path. However the system does give the kids a strong appreciation for Plato’s Closet and other sources of cheap clothes.

  101. HM, about how much do you give your kids for their clothing allowance? I need to get DD on one for reasons similar to yours.

  102. How do you give an early teen boy a clothing allowance? ‘Saac grew three inches last semester, and has been “filling out” over the summer so several items I expected would be part of his school wardrobe are now too small. He has exactly five pairs of shorts for school that fit, because I assume that he will have another growth spurt soon. His school clothes are a mix of Hannah Andersson clearance, Lands End sale prices, and Target. We also hit an J Crew outlet store sale once last year. The clothes were good quality and the prices fine, but he dislikes shopping so much we’re going back on line.

  103. Finn, we give $80 / month / kid, and that also covers entertainment (games they want to buy, movies with friends), voluntary meals out (snacks bought at the little shop near the middle school after school, soda and candy runs to the grocery store, grabbing food downtown on the way from school to extracurric), and that sort of thing. We cover family cell plan, clothes and gear required for extracurrics, at least one set of dress clothes, family meals out, meals out required as part of a school trip, and that sort of thing. It’s more than enough to keep reasonably well-dressed, have the option to get some spendy items, and still be able to go on outings with friends and/or buy food sometimes. But it gives them the option to find their own balance between entertainment, food, and clothing.

    SM, I try to avoid starting them when they’re just heading into a growth spurt, but after that, well, that’s why they’re supposed to save toward future clothing needs. If someone is not buying adequate clothing we’ll give clothes for Xmas / birthday instead of fun stuff.

  104. HM, maybe it’s easier today with venmo and such, but we found that an allowance system always broke down as everyone forgot to keep track of it. However, by the time the kids were in their early teens, we had basically adopted your general system of paying for “needs” and letting them pay for “wants” with gift money or money we gave them for slave labor chores, before they were old enough that others would pay them for slave labor chores. It was interesting to watch them figure out that balance you describe, and all of them as young adults are now very responsible with money. There are many minor purchase decisions they regret — one DS bought a hardcopy of “Go Set a Watchman” (despite my warnings that the reviews were bad) that still haunts him, and St. Vincent de Paul has benefitted from some unfortunate impulse clothing buys — but they seem to have learned pretty quickly that wanting something often brings more pleasure than actually having it. In fact, two of them tend toward extreme frugality, which makes it easy to come up with gift ideas.

  105. For example, college DS just bought a $140 coffee grinder for his dorm room, but only has two pairs of everyday shoes and three pairs of jeans. He is very excited that his roommate is bringing a turntable to their dorm room, though his older brother snagged all of DH’s vinyl records for his own apartment.

  106. I appreciate the allowance discussion. I’ve been thinking about that question in terms of how to be fair while accommodating differences in personality for our close-in-age boys, when the time comes.

  107. HM, that’s an interesting thought. My kids get about half that as their allowance, not including clothes, so that seems a pretty reasonable number.

    Scarlett, DS went through a similar learning experience when he first got an allowance. He was in preschool and we started him on $1 per week. Initially, he spent it as soon as he got it, but it didn’t take him long to realize that he was getting stuff he didn’t really want that much, and that he wasn’t able to get stuff he really wanted, and so that spending habit ended fairly quickly.

  108. Finn, three in two years means rule changes associated with age (chores, piano practice, amount of allowance, bedtime, etc.) need to be consistent. I’ll get a do-over with Baby WCE

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