Editor’s weekly: What not to wear

If it weren’t for the inevitable fashion nightmares that come to the fore during the hottest months of the year summer would be my favourite season.

If you’re anything like me then your principal concern during the summer will be giving your bikini its first outing. But there is arguably a bigger couture headache, which impacts professionals from both sexes – the dress-down conundrum.

Dressing down is a US invention that saw its heyday during the dotcom boom of the late 1990s. During this period, investment banks, accountants and law firms introduced ‘dress-down’ Fridays, while some even allowed staff to ditch their suits altogether.

Today dress-down policies vary from firm to firm and indeed between practice areas. For instance, magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has introduced a dress down policy in its finance and dispute resolution teams while suits remain in place for the corporate department.

Nonetheless, many firms do relax their dress codes during the summer months. The difficulty however is determining what is and isn’t appropriate to wear to work when temperatures are soaring. Indeed, to be perfectly honest I don’t think anybody really knows what business casual means.

So although it sounds boring it’s safer to err on the side of caution and to avoid wearing the following (after all you don’t want to be treated like a naughty school boy and be sent home to change into something more sensible):

• denim or ripped clothes;
• tracksuit bottoms or anything else you would consider wearing to the gym;
• spandex, lycra or any other fabric that is body-hugging or tight-fitting;
• baggy, oversized or extremely low-rise trousers (watch out for underwear popping out above the waist of your trousers when you sit down);
• shorts and mini-skirts;
• strappy or low-cut tops;
• T-shirts with slogans;
• leggings;
• flip-flops or sandals; and
• hats, caps or any other form of headgear.

Given the recent media frenzy you’re probably wondering why I’ve left fishnet tights off my list. That’s because I personally think that worn with a nice suit and appropriate footwear they can look extremely flattering. But then again I’ve never been one to shy away from controversy even when the heat is on.