10 Things Not To Wear To Work In The Summer


Go show off your calves walking around town, or at the beach, or really anywhere where it's okay to wear shorts--anywhere but the office.

Sunglasses (Indoors)

The second you step inside you've got a two-minute window to get them off your face.

Socks with Sandals

This looks ridiculous in a productivity-sapping kind of way.


We can see your toes. That's not good.


There is no such thing as a "dress sandal."


Are you still partying from last night? Because that's what mesh says.

Ripped T-shirts

They make you look like you got into a fight with a bear. And lost. And no one wants to work with a loser (of bear fights).

Yoga Pants

They are even worse than Hammer pants. So. Yeah.

Crop Tops/ Tank Tops

We don't care how ready you are for the "gun show." We'd like to disarm you now.


Unless your job is tennis or you are a Richie Tenenbaum impersonator, this is unacceptable office wear.

10 Things Not To Wear To Work In The Summer

We're as sick of the heat as you are. But that's no excuse to wear shorts in the office. Or any of the other sartorial sadnesses on this list. And Summer Fridays are not a free pass!

As you may have heard, it's hot outside.

We know. We're hot, too.

If you're lucky, your office has some form of air conditioning. But you've still got to get there without becoming a melting blob of sweat. So how do you deal with the heat?

Maybe you're thinking about wearing a little bit less, or only certain fabrics to beat the heat. That's a fine strategy, as long as you do it right. Just like a stinky lunch can ruin a perfectly good office environment in an instant, a few questionable wardrobe choices can do the same.

And you don't want to do that. Trust us, you don't.


Sorry about this one. No, you know what, we're not sorry. We're proud members of the anti-shorts brigade. Go show off your calves walking around town, or at the beach, or really anywhere where it's okay to wear shorts—anywhere but the office. Break this rule and you risk ending up here.

Sunglasses (indoors)

Okay, sunglasses make you look cool. But only when you're outside and actually using them.

The second you step inside you've got a two-minute window to get them off your face. Otherwise:

1. You're not mysterious.

2. You're not cool.

3. We're looking at you because you look stupid.

Socks with Sandals

As much as it pains us to say this (because socks and sandals are one of the most comfortable clothing combinations in existence) they have no place in the office. Why? Well, for one thing it looks ridiculous in a productivity-sapping way. As soon as the day's over, it's a different story. Yeah, even Zuck needs to heed this one.


We can see your toes. That's not good.


Oh you, fashionably misled men. Sandals are one thing, but big, leather, I'm-a-'90s-dad mandals. Quick tip: There is no such thing as a "dress sandal." Also: See above vis a vis toes.


Did you have fun at the party that apparently has moved to the office because you're still wearing mesh last night?

Ripped T-shirts

It's really cool, that you're so cool. But:

"Oh, my god. Are you okay?"

"Yeah, why do you ask?"

Because you look like you got into a fight with a bear.

Yoga Pants

You like to work out—that's awesome. Exercise is great for creativity and makes you smarter.

And who doesn't love yoga? The only difference is, we don't wear pants specifically designed for physical exercise in the office.

You also might be showing off a bit more than you'd like.

Crop Tops and Tank Tops

"Hey Mary, nice stomach!"

"Hey Mike, nice arms!"



Everybody sweats, but go wipe yourself off in the bathroom, or stick your head in the fridge for a few minutes—nobody wants to see a sweat-soaked cloth sitting on your head. Unless you are John McEnroe and your job is tennis.

This list is by no means complete, so please, share your office wardrobe Don'ts with us in the comments!

[Image: Flickr user Daniel Oines]

Add New Comment


  • This article wouldn't still exist from the 20th century if people weren't still making 20th century bad choices. Plus, my disdain for flip-flops in any level of professional setting knows no space or time.

  • Michael Pritchard

    Grow up fastcompany.com. Or better yet, have your domain added to my Toilet Media block list. Yes, we're doing that one.

  • so disappointing to read an article like this coming form Fast Company. I always considered you guys to stimulate disruption, not conformation.

  • Thierry Bezier-Membrey

    so here we are? This is what to wear? wear what you want and keep produce guys, Miles, it's OK to write this article in underpants I don't care as long you deliver and feel comfortable.

  • Natalia

    The rules you have posted here are exactly same in my country - Poland. I can't bear people who wears this kind of clothes. It's absolutely inappropriate in the workplace.

  • robjday

    Got to agree with Simon and many of the other detractors below.  Shorts/Flip Flops are common/expected in so many environments these days... at the right time and place.  I wear them on the regular and kick up the professionalism for meeting days.  Nothing wrong with that.  Just be smart about the differences.

    As for he rest... What?  Does that need to be said?  Who's wearing sunglasses at work all day... indoors??  Seriously - the rest wasn't worth the ink (and yes I know this was digital and did not actually require ink... that's the point)

  • Night Thinker

    What's the Comfort Zone?
    I worked for a great place that had a pretty loose dress code - shorts/sandalls okay - visible thongs - no. That was until one of the IT folks was spotted late one night wandering by the corporate suite wearing pajama pants and slippers. That was too much for the executive who ran into him. Ruined it for all of us.  A business casual dress code was promptly put it place. It devolved back to shorts again over time and equilibrium was reached.

  • Anon

    Haha..at the comments not the article. Yes the article is common sense and hence probably doesn't make a lot of sense to be here in the first place.
     However, am really surprised to see how many people judge conformity by what they do, or their neighbours do in the first place. What happened to the Rest of the World . I bet you think they are quadrupeds hunting in the forests. Oh hell, that's human nature anyways.

  • Patrick F. Flynn, Jr.

    Frankly, I liked the article and thought it made some good (general) points. Also, I appreciate the funny links (did not know about the salmon shorts!). Do though have a pair of sandals that I call "dress sandals" even though my daughter also says there is no such thing.

  • Shorts and Sperrys All Day.

    I, and the rest of my office, wear shorts and flip flops/sperrys/whatever the fuck we want from May-September here in Boston, are we doing it wrong? 

  • Lc Watlington

    Years ago I was given two simple guidelines for choosing office attire: If you would wear it to a cocktail party or a picnic, it should not be worn to work. It has proven to be good advice.

  • AngelaM737

    Bare shoulders. I've seen a lot of women in maxi dresses with bare shoulders. Maybe it's the Catholic school girl in me, but it's not for the office, or other work environment...