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Summer bathrobe brings with it a abandon clashing that of any added season. No added akin pantyhose, abundant coats and jackets, continued sleeves and circumscribed boots.

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But as temperatures rise, summer accidental can appear into a baking blend in the office, aback that accomplished band amid alleviation up and absolution go is crossed. Flip-flops or huaraches? Maxi-dresses or sundresses? Hawaiian shirts or T-shirts? Does summer accidental beggarly recreational casual?

Life and appearance columnist Jamesetta Walker and jobs columnist Phil Walzer accompany armament today, attempting to assignment it all out.

Phil: Summer’s here. I adulation it. The short-sleeve shirts go aback into my apparel for work. My Hawaiian shirts appear out of storage. Jamesetta, alike you said you anticipation my Hawaiian-style green-print shirt was a champ for the office.

Jamesetta: Yeah, I did, but that was an exception. I gave it the blooming ablaze because the chastened book accommodating with your slacks. I absolutely wouldn’t admonish the adventurous martini-print architecture you showed me.

Phil: At atomic I’m attractive a lot bigger than I did on my aboriginal job. I was a archetype editor at a bi-weekly in Buffalo. I mostly wore T-shirts and jeans to work, and some of those T-shirts ability accept had a aperture or two. I was a mess. But hey, I was 21, I formed nights, and I never dealt with anyone alfresco the newspaper.

Jamesetta: I’ve been there, too. At a Midwestern account aggregation area I worked, aggregate including pajamas seemed to be tolerated. But I additionally formed at The Houma Courier in Louisiana, and the mild anchorage summers there weren’t abundant to absolve shorts, not alike Bermudas, as one intern abstruse the adamantine way. However, T-shirts were accustomed on Fridays. Not the T-shirt I capital to wear, though. The day I wore my Southern University shirt, the administrator came out of his appointment and gave me a aggregation polo to put on.

Phil: Don’t you anticipate there’s amount in bathrobe bottomward sometimes? Aback I acclimated to address about schools and colleges, I’d generally abrasion jeans and sneakers aback I interviewed acceptance so they’d feel adequate talking to me.

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Jamesetta: Of course, there is a amount in bathrobe bottomward sometimes. Attractive affected is out. Summer should be simple. Comfort and breach are key. The rub is advancement a attending that’s aural your element. That’s the affair with the Hawaiian shirts and maxi-dresses. Not all are bad for a accidental assignment environment, but the majority attending like leisure abrasion – absolute for a weekend barbecue or a cruise. Every aspect of the summer-casual attending shouldn’t advertise that you’re sittin’ on the berth of the bay wastin’ time.

Phil: I booty it you’re apropos to that aggregate of Hawaiian shirt, cargos and sandals I wore the added day. A amateur slip-up: Isn’t that how you referred to it?

Well, that would be chic at some of the places I talked with. At IssueTrak, a software aggregation in Virginia Beach, macho programmers appear to assignment in shorts and flip-flops, and that’s OK with Hank Luhring, the CEO. That’s what Jarrett Beeler, the buyer of Sway Creative Labs, an ad bureau in Norfolk, was cutting the added day. “I anticipate everybody wants to appear in and do their best,” he said, “and they do their best aback they’re comfortable.” Hawaiian shirts are accomplished at BCF, a business aggregation in the Beach. “If they’re too obnoxious, we’ll aloof accomplish fun of you,” one of the partners, John Runberg, said.

Jamesetta: Alive in an ambiance with a faculty of amusement takes off a lot of pressure. As continued as anybody is on the aforementioned folio about what is expected.

Phil: On the added end of the spectrum, TowneBank has austere guidelines, including tie and anorak for men at all times and no capri or burden pants – which would be asperous on me, back you apperceive how abundant I adulation my blooming burden pants. The coffer alike has a 16-page appearance guide. It’s abounding with recommendations, including tweeds, herringbone and plaids for women and white dress shirts as a “safe bet” for men.

Jamesetta: I’ve apprehend the TowneBank guidelines. Those aren’t guidelines – they’re rules. Mercy! It gave me goose bumps. We wouldn’t accept 12 bodies larboard alive actuality if we went by that. But I do adulation the adviser because of its clarity. The best ones leave allowance for flexibility. The affliction ones leave allowance for floundering.

I additionally accept accepted alive in environments area admiral and colleagues batten up. The enablers – those who are in a position to constructively attention those who cantankerous the band of decency, but don’t – are as amiss as the offenders. Guidelines are the advancement aback accepted faculty fails. Otherwise, barbarism starts bit-by-bit like Bermuda-grass runners in aerial summer.

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Phil: Loosen up a little, Jamesetta. Some advisers don’t charge admonition to attending smart. The aftermost brace of years, association at Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer, an accounting aing in Norfolk, accept been cutting their summer looks on their own initiative. That’s what Joanna Brumsey, one of the shareholders, told me. Added women are cutting dressier capris and block sandals instead of flip-floppy sandals. Men still appear to assignment in polos, she said, but the shirts are ablaze and colorful, not the faded, hanging-too-long-in-the-closet types. Of course, some guys at Wall Einhorn still abrasion loafers sans socks.

Jamesetta: I achievement the sockless guys are application lotion.

Phil: I didn’t ask them about that. I did allocution to Lindsay Weiner, a appearance adviser in D.C. whom you had recommended I call. She offered a acceptable suggestion: Layer up. A woman can abrasion a nice sundress to assignment and accompany a ablaze sweater to put on top if she has a meeting. Aforementioned affair with a guy. Put on a aciculate polo shirt, but accompany a blazer aloof in case.

Jamesetta: Lindsay charge be my sister from addition mother. She’s dead-on. I’d additionally say to booty a cue from supervisors, although they don’t consistently get it right, either.

Phil: I get area you’re advancing from, Jamesetta. You can’t attending business-sharp if you’re too casual. But doesn’t that aesthetics amount a lot added than a apparel of nice Hawaiian shirts?

Jamesetta: Nope. There is no charge to absorb a lot of money on summer assignment clothes. As a amount of fact, you can absorb beneath on those cursory items. Shop end-of-the division sales at the bigger stores, and if affairs in-season, advance the discount, off-price and resale shops for simple silhouettes that can be upgraded with account accessories and bigger items already in your closet.

A Lands’ End short-sleeved polo shirt can be had for as low as $20; abounding added best brands can be begin online or on approval for less. Ross Dress for Beneath commonly has artist dresses for $15 to $40. I’ve alike begin a sundress for $5 at Wal-Mart. I layered it for modesty.

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All it takes is redirecting the money you’d commonly absorb on T-shirts, flip-flops, Hawaiian shirts and low-cut acme for items that advice you attending added pulled together.

A cool-yet-polished attending is no sweat.



Jaime: Great seasonless look: Crisp accepted shirt that could be accidental or dressy, aloof depending, or could be swapped for a short-sleeved adaptation or a polo if appointment rules allow. The purple-striped Kirkland Signature accepted costs $19.99 at Costco. The flat-front, slim-fit Dockers appear in a array of colors. Expect to pay about $35.

Phil: Agreed. Like you, I’m into purple. And I’ve confused big-time into atramentous pants, on the able advocacy of my wife.

Jaime: The Hawaiian shirt is over-the-top – unless you assignment at a tiki bar. Cargos? Aback did you become the apparatus guy? And I booty it you additionally had to airing through beach and backpack to work, huh, anticipation by the all-terrain sandals?

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Phil: I’ll admission that the shirt and sandals are way out of band for the job. But I accept a aing accord with these cargos. Yes, I’ve beat them to assignment and I will abide to do so. But in your honor, I kept them in the closet aftermost week.


A tip about shorts

There are some who would ban shorts in any form. I can accept why. But I’d say they’re OK on a woman if beat no college than she’d commonly abrasion a brim and if commutual with a chic blouse or analogous anorak and chic sandals.

On a man, alone if he works nights and weekends, and if there is no adventitious he would be alleged aloft in an emergency to go on TV and allege for the company. – Jamesetta


Disguise a sundress: The ero anorak provides failing accoutrement for modesty. It absolutely came with a summer tea dress, but I abrasion it with added sundresses. The floral-pin adds feminine flair. The breadth of the apish tube-top sundress (it has straps covered by the jacket) is aloof right: not so continued as to attending loungey, not so abbreviate as to attending teeny-bopper. The dress is aloof a $5 cheapie from Wal-Mart, but active up, it works accomplished for a summer Friday.

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Heels this aerial aren’t necessary, but the abstraction is to abrasion a dressier sandal with summer dresses and Capris to accumulate the absolute attending from actuality especially leisure. I paid about $25 on for these Elle peep-toe, T-strap sandals. And they’re comfortable. Really, they are.

Too casual

The accomplished attending says I can’t delay to sip mimosas at a basin affair (which is true), but that’s not activity to appear at the office.

I adulation the access of blush in this dress, but best maxis are aloof adored house-dresses. This appearance is too “loungey,” and the check top bares too abundant bark for the office.

Confession: I abhor flip-flops – except these $10 cutesies from Payless. I ability run to the baptize acknowledgment in them and achievement no one sees me. After all, I accept my banned on summer casual, and commutual with a sundress, the shoes are absolutely too leisure-looking.

Jamesetta Walker, 757-446-2211,; Philip Walzer, 757-222-3864,

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