It’s that time of year again. Every morning you are forced to make that difficult decision of whether you are going to melt on your commute to work or freeze in your igloo (I mean office) all day.
When you work in an office all day with the AC set on 68 degrees, sometimes you can forget that it is over 90 degrees outside. (That is until you leave for the day and you run smack into that wall of humidity and sweltering heat that awaits you on the other side of that office door.)
It’s summertime! And in the Ohio Valley, that means record breaking temperatures combined with that evil thing called humidity whose only purpose is to melt your face off and make your hair look like Richard Simmons’.
So we felt the need to write the obligatory “Summertime Office Dress Code” blog. But let’s be honest, it’s been done before. Actually, we already wrote that blog two years ago. (You can check it out here).
In an attempt to bring you some fresh summer content, we’ve decided to tackle the deceiving beast also known as the Company Picnic.
What’s tricky about this event is that it is a company event trying to disguise itself as a fun, relaxing summer party. Do not be deceived!
Just like office holiday parties: what happens at a company event doesn’t stay at a company event. This isn’t Vegas people. We’re talking about people you work with everyday. And these people should not see you in your summer club wear.
Okay, so company picnics or office park/pool parties are tricky. You have to cover up enough to be appropriate, but you also don’t want to die of a heat stroke. So today, we’re bringing you, “What Not To Wear To A Company Picnic.”
Men, you may think that you’re off the hook. Oh no, some of you are the biggest offenders. “I’ll just wear shorts and a shirt. No big deal. Right?” Wrong.
Let’s start with you, businessmen, since you are often the forgotten gender when it comes to fashion advice.
For The Men: What Not To Wear To A Company Picnic
Anything with holes in it. Okay, so those jeans are really nice for painting the house or working on your Mustang, but no one needs to see your Hot Tamale boxers peeping out of those frayed holes. And even though you think no one will notice that little hole in the arm pit of your favorite polo, we all saw it when you high-fived Bob from Accounting after he won the potato sack race.
Here’s the gist: The only holy piece of clothing you should wear to a company picnic is if you work at a Church and your garments have been blessed by the Pope. Stick to shorts and jeans that do not allow you to feel the breeze in places you shouldn’t.
Jorts. Do we even need to go here? No grown man should wear jorts (jean + shorts). This isn’t even about being appropriate; this is just common fashion sense.
Graphic Tees. Unless you want to be “that guy,” stay away from the Ed Hardy tees. (This should really be a general life rule, not just for company parties). Now is not the time to bust out your “Beer Pong Champs 1996” t-shirt from college (even if you are really proud of that accomplishment). Sports team pride shirts can also be a little hazardous, especially is this area. Wearing a UK national champion’s shirt with the matching hat is the equivalent of begging people to push you into the pool. To stay safe, stick with a nice colorful polo shirt. Sick of wearing collars? A plain colored shirt with a rounded neck (or even a v-neck if you’re feeling a little hipsterish) is your best bet. Do stay away from grey unless you want the whole office to know how much you sweat.
Ratty shoes. Unless you are one of the 10% of men that admits to getting pedicures, then maybe you should stay away from open toe shoes. But please, do not dust off your gas-mowing shoes just because you are going to a park or a backyard party. Nice tennis shoes or even man sandals will do. Just promise us that you won’t wear socks with your mandals. Really, that’s all we ask.
Okay, so the men have it easy. They really don’t have that much to choose from. As long as they keep it clean, ironed, and in one piece, they’re good to go.
Now let’s tackle the women. Oh yes, the fashion forward gender. There are so many new trends and old trends trying to make a comeback just in time for summer. But just as men don’t want to be “that guy,” you don’t want to be “that girl” who shows too much. So let’s break it down.
For The Women: What Not To Wear To A Company Picnic
Booty Shorts. It seems that these days there are two types of shorts for women: “Pot Holders” and “Safari Down Under.” Just as with most clothing, you want to leave something to the imagination. And shorts are no exception. Luckily some stores are realizing that all women don’t like have their rear hanging out or the alternative: unflattering cargo Capri’s that cut you so wrong that your legs just lost five inches. If you’re going to brave the short department, shoot for a happy medium (walking shorts, Bermudas or Capri’s for example). Maybe even use the finger tip rule. If it works for the private schools, it can work for you too.
Belly shirts/Tube Tops. The trend this summer: Belly shirts. I’m not even joking. I lost count of how many belly shirts I saw at a church picnic last weekend. The only time you should bust out that belly shirt is if you’re dressing up as Kelly Kapowski from Saved by the Bell for Halloween. The same goes for tube tops. Any clothing that you look at on a hanger and you have to ask yourself, ‘Is this a shirt or a skirt?” you should stay away from. However, don’t be afraid to wear sleeveless tops. Just be sure to avoid tanks, cropped tops, backless and halters. The last thing you want is to be reaching for some more of Marge from Human Resources’ special five-layer dip and accidently slip out of your top. Everyone will be calling you Janet Jackson for at least sixth months.
Stilettos. Okay, so we don’t think anybody would actually wear stilettos to a company picnic but you never know! As always, consider the amount of activity you will be engaging in as you pick your shoes. Flip flops may be comfy, but you don’t want to break an ankle in the three-legged race. Heels also don’t play well with grass or mud. Oh and if this is the first time your feet have seen the sun in years, you may want to do some trimming and painting before they make their debut. Stick with comfortable yet adorable sandals that have backs to them. Luckily those are also trendy this summer so they won’t be hard to find.
Anything You Would Wear To A Club. That pretty much sums up everything we just described—shorts, tops, shoes. But there is one more tricky piece of clothing that can get you in trouble: dresses. Who doesn’t love a fun summer dress? When looking through your closet, find a dress that is still an appropriate length for work. If the top of it is a little “showier” than it should be (as most summer dresses are), simply put a camisole under it. Do the sit down and bend over test to make sure everything stays where it should. If you still have concerns, don’t wear it.
We’ll leave the accessories up to you. Did you know fanny packs are making a comeback? Okay, so it’s more a bunch of hipsters mocking the 90s, but still. To be safe, let’s avoid those too.
In the end, just remember you are still at a work function even if it has fun name like “Annual ABC Company Summer Picnic Extravaganza.” You may be out of the office, but you are still in the company of your boss, supervisors and co-workers. So keep it classy.
Make sure your employees know what to wear and what not to wear by including a summer dress code policy in your handbook. Read more about that here.