HR Strange But True!
July 17, 2008

By coincidence, and each conducted a survey recently about summertime fashion faux pas in the workplace.

In the poll, a plurality of respondents (46 percent) cited revealing clothes as the most frequent fashion faux pas in the workplace. The next most common response was flip-flops, with 41 percent of respondents saying they are the most frequent fashion faux pas.

As you may remember, this editor of HR Strange but True! believes flip-flops are the biggest fashion sin of the summer in the workplace. While you can look away from someone whose clothing is leaving nothing to the imagination, the sound of flip-flops slapping against the bottom of feet is inescapable.

Readers should know that I purchased my first pair of flip-flops a few weeks ago. Have I worn them to work? No. Besides not wanting to be a hypocrite and cause sight and sound pollution in our office, flip-flops violate our dress code (page 31 of our employee handbook).

In a similar survey conducted by among visitors to its website, visible undergarments and tank tops  (61 percent)  were the top vote getters for the worst summer workplace fashion offense, followed by flip-flops  (29 percent), shorts  7 (percent), and t-shirts  (3 percent). offers some fashion tips for workers:

  • Take note of what others are wearing in your office--Acceptable forms of summer workplace attire vary from one workplace to the next.  Workers can determine acceptable summer office attire by comparing their workplace dress with their colleagues.
  • Err on the conservative side--Even with relaxed dress codes during the summer months, workers should comply with year-round workplace expectations and dress appropriately for client meetings or business lunches.
  • Remeber casual workplace staples--Chino trousers, pencil skirts, relaxed button-down shirts and linen, polo or knitted shirts. These clothes are generally made out of breathable fabrics ­ perfect for warmer weather. 

What's the most flagrant violation of summer fashion sense or your orgranization's dress code? Share your stories with us at .

Sources: and

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