Friday, December 3, 2010

Summer heats up

As summer heats up and the office is a cesspool of anticipation, humidity and irritability, what constitutes acceptable work wear?

 We’re getting closer and closer to Christmas and the summer holidays and most of us are getting edgy to gain a bit of colour before blinding the family with our pasty bods. But how far can you take your summer wardrobe to work?

We’ve discussed before (although a long time ago (The long and the short of it) – Debris has been running for over a year now!) the issue of shorts at work. Obviously this is not short shorts – but what is an acceptable length for a “work short” before you get into the stumpifying knee-length shorts or pseudo pants? It has been much argued between a few colleagues and only once have I managed to do it – with mixed results. (Do you remember? Work it) Just this week we observed a newbie wearing mid-length shorts but with footless opaque stockings underneath. After a bit of conference we agreed that it was acceptable but we would have gone for full tights. As an aside, can you get a tan through stockings? I would like to find out.

A few of the dresses I picked up to brighten my winter wardrobe have suddenly been rendered useless as work dresses – they were an acceptable length when paired with stockings, but the ol’ “bend over infront of the mirror” test has had them thrown back on the hanger on successive mornings. Tights were the “pants-ness” that made the length ok for work – they are now too short. I might get the “you look summery” innuendo once again.

So that’s the legs. What about arms? I tend not to wear sleeveless tops anyway because I am aware my upper arms aren’t as slender as they used to be. This is what happens when you spend 12 years holding your arms in ballet positions for hours at a time and then one day you stop and live the slothful and drink-fuelled life of a university student. The hardest job they had was holding up my head in lectures and raising glass to mouth every now and then!

Some “what to wear” sites suggest that no sleeves is acceptable at work – but only if it’s the grown-up sleeveless blouse type – that means no racer backs or spaghetti straps ladies!


I never thought I’d say this in reference to fashion, because guys have it SO so easy, but I do actually feel for the guys in the office at this time of year. What awful (and slightly sexist) law states that a man cannot get his legs out at work? Women are free to wear skirts or pants and keep themselves as warm or cool as they please – even get in a bit of tan time at lunch – but guys are chained to the pants leg.

I once raised this with a male member of staff and he (of “middle age”) said he remembered a time when it was ok for men to wear “work shorts” to the office. When did that go out? When women became more prevalent in the professions and some insecure CEO decided that men had to “wear the pants” at least in the literal sense? That certainly backfired!

So while women might have to ponder acceptability, at least they’re not sweltering in dress pants. Suck on that repression!

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