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What to Wear at Work: Summer Edition

Business Support

As the weather gets warmer, after work socialising in the sun becomes more common, and the line between office and casual wear can become a little blurry.

If you’re in the midst of job interviewing during these warmer months, it can be tricky to correctly gauge what to wear. An easy approach; when confirming your interview or job, simply ask the employer what’s appropriate to wear for the first day. You don’t want to turn up in a suit and tie if everyone else is wearing jeans! In saying that, it’s always a good rule to be the best dressed in the office, to make a positive first impression.

Here at the Madison office, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite tips for staying comfortable AND professional in summer:

  • Treat your interview at Madison as you would any other. The impression you make with us will affect the jobs you’re considered for, so put your best foot forward.
  • Get good basics! You can’t go wrong with tailored blazer or jacket, the classic white button-down shirt, and pencil skirt or trousers. As long as you have more than one (ironed!) shirt, you can get away with the same trousers and jacket all week.
  • It’s always a hard no for jandals and slides. These are inappropriate, as well as unsafe. Sorry, but usually sneakers and street shoes aren’t suitable either. Aim for shoes to be clean, un-scuffed and smart. Black or brown are classic, and go with everything.
  • Carry deodorant and a hairbrush with you so you’re always prepared for a quick freshen up when needed.
  • If you already know that the role you are applying for will require you to wear a shirt and tie, then wear a shirt and tie for the interview.
  • How to stay unruffled after a walk to work in summer? Easy! I walk to work in a singlet top and sneakers. When I step into the air conditioned office, I change shoes and throw my jacket on—a simple adjustment.
  • If you’re lucky enough to work near a dry-cleaning service, make the most of it! Wear a t-shirt for your commute, and then when you get to work, enjoy a fresh work shirt to get changed into.
  • Whether headed to your own office or to an interview, be mindful of how much ‘skin’ you’ve got on show. If you’re already questioning it before you leave the house, you probably won’t be comfortable in the interview.
  • Clothes should be of a material that is suitable for the office rather than the beach or poolside—nothing too sheer or strappy. If you’re lucky enough to be hitting the beach after work, or heading off for the weekend, take a change of clothes, or wear layers. (Have a look here for some summer day-trip suggestions from Auckland.)
  • If the organisation has provided you with a dress code, read it!

As you become more comfortable in your new office, you’ll learn what is acceptable for your personal presentation. Your confidence will grow, and you can let a bit more of your own style shine through.

…And a special mention for casual Fridays

I’m interviewing on a Friday with a company that does casual Fridays, what do I do?

Still dress to impress! First impressions are important. The company knows that you’re there for an interview, but if you feel out of place just mention it: “…so obviously my current workplace doesn’t do casual Friday”.

My current company does casual Friday, but I’m interviewing on Friday at a corporate (and I don’t necessarily want my outfit to scream ‘I’m job hunting’)

  • When you confirm the interview, give your contact the heads up that you will be in casual dress.
  • Acknowledge the disparity early in the interview, “sorry about the outfit, Monday to Thursday I wear a suit”.
  • Go as tidy as you can without giving the game away, e.g. chinos, brown shoes and a collared shirt.

How casual is casual?

  • Jeans are fine, ripped jeans or hot pants are not.
  • No slogans or images on your clothing that others might find offensive.
  • The “no visible underwear” rule is a reliable one to follow.
  • Sneakers or sandals can be worn, but as always, stay away from jandals.
  • You’re still at work, so be aware of the impression you are leaving. Overdressed is ALWAYS preferable to underdressed.