Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer, especially in Texas where the thermometer easily is topping 90 degrees.
Add in a humidity index that rolls over 50 percent most days, and it could be hard to dress comfortably for work.
While the temptation is there to dress more comfortably, Vishal Agarwal, former Managing Director at GE, said in a statement that casual office attire is toxic to the workplace.
Agarwal says that when doing business, one should “dress for battle.”
Julie Snyder, CEO of the Kyle Area Chamber of Commerce, also believes that dressing professionally for work is important.
“I think an individual can be professional regardless of the way they’re dressed, but personally, I feel like I carry my responsibilities better when I dress professionally,” Synder said.
The Kyle Chamber is currently in the middle of writing its employee guide, and Snyder said their dress code really does not change from the summer to the winter. However, Snyder said the chamber does have short-sleeve polos with the chamber logo that employees can wear that might be cooler than the typical dress code.
Snyder says each chamber member has their own policies and some even have uniforms, but she recommends employers have a dress code policy in place so employees know what is expected of them.
JR Gonzales, executive director of the Buda Area Chamber of Commerce, said the number one recommendation is to stay cool this summer.
Gonzales worked in Washington D.C. for nine years and he says the culture in Texas, and even more so in Buda, is a lot more easy going than the Beltway. “We breathe easy here,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales says it is important to be smart when dressing in the summer. Gonzales said dressing professionally and for your industry is critical, but workers should also dress for the weather.
“Our temperatures will be over 100 degrees this summer, looking professional is important, but being comfortable and your health are also important too,” Gonzales said.
For men, Gonzales recommends a polo style shirt, with slacks and closed-toed shoes. He also recommends keeping a linen or light sports coat in the office in case there is an occasion to be more formal. Gonzales also says, no matter the weather, boots are always appropriate.
Recently, Gonzales used a sports coat he had in his office for an unannounced interview for a television story. Gonzales said he kept the coat in his office for “professional emergencies.”
“Be smart, dress cool, know the culture of the place you’re working for, because first impressions are still very difficult. You only get one first impression,” Gonzales said.
Even in today’s technology savvy world, the need to dress appropriately for work maintains. Randolph Goodman, business community liaison with the Gary Job Corps Center in San Marcos, said its career training program teaches students ways to be professional including how to dress for success, tips for resume writing and interviewing skills.
Gary Job Corps is a no-cost education and career-training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. The program helps people 16 to 24 years of age.
Goodman recommends to dress for the position above the one you are seeking.
“It’s extremely valuable to be dressed professionally for the position you’re seeking,” Goodman said. “You can’t be casual when you’re seeking a position, in the same way you don’t want to text during an interview.”
Analisa Zuniga, a business education teacher at Lehman High School, brought in a representative from Men’s Warehouse to talk to her students about proper business and business casual attire.
The representative brought a presentation of best practices and taught students how to tie a regular tie and bow tie.
“When students are left to do it themselves sometimes they don’t have good examples,” Zuniga said. Or, Zuniga said, sometimes they get the sizing wrong for suits and other professional clothing if they do not have someone to guide them.
Zuniga says that with the millennial generation, she has seen the expectation for dressing in the workplace relax a little and embrace a more business casual code, especially in Austin.
But she also says dressing professionally can affect your mindset and efficiency in an office setting.
Zuniga said her students are still in the stages of gathering experience and getting internships, but they should now be well prepared for future job interviews.