Do your flip-flops FLOP at work?


The Work Buzz is talking about 6 Guidelines For Your Summer Work Wardrobe (thanks to @kbaumann for tweeting so I saw it), and you may want to print out copies for your co-workers.

The #1 guideline is No flip flops.

There’s a comment posted that I have to address: “I believe that if you dress casual then you conduct business more in a casual manner. Which is okay if you work in a Surf Shop. If you dress up for work, even if you work in an office just answering phones, you will conduct yourself more professional. If you work in a store room and receive merchandise all day long then you should dress the part such as a “tasteful” plain t-shirt or polo shirt and work slacks (Dickies, etc.).

Before this job, I definitely would have agreed. I’ve spent most of my career in a business casual environment. 

At one company, HR sent out their summer dress code guidelines every year, and clear as can be was “NO FLIP FLOPS.”

Naturally people didn’t comply. A co-worker who insisted on wearing them tripped over her own feet in the parking lot and wanted HR to “do something about it.” The parking lot was dangerous! She bruised her knee on pebbles! Her friends talked her out of harassing HR, but she grumbled about it the rest of the summer–and kept wearing the same flip-flops. And, perhaps coincidentally, her work ethic in general was on the slacker side.

In my new job, I work in a casual office environment for the first time. And yes, that does mean flip-flops, though this time it’s not against HR rules. But here’s where I take exception to that comment above: These people work hard. If there are slackers here, they are very well-hidden.

I’ve come to realize that the casual dress code not only does not automatically mean you become a slacker, but it means you spend less time worrying what you’re wearing for the job and more time actually doing the job. You know that girl that always has to wear the mini skirt AND tight top AND stilettos?* Doesn’t exist here. There’s no competition like that. Plus your clothes budget is happier and on the hottest of hot or the coldest of cold days, you’re almost guaranteed to be comfortable. What’s not to like?

Does the sch-tunk! of the flip & flop drive you nuts? Do you feel that casual wear equals casual work? Let me know!

*Perhaps also coincidentally, I’ve found a lot of dressed-to-the-nines girls in a biz casual office to be slackers as well. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Do your flip-flops FLOP at work?

  1. I agree with the comments above! In some businesses, a certain level of dress or business attire is expected, and that’s fine. However, I don’t think that you HAVE to be dressed up to work hard and work well. Our office is casual and it’s a huge relief to not have to be dressed up and uncomfortable, especially during these muggy Chicago summers. At my last job we were required to be in business dress all the time, and there were days that I just couldn’t wait to get home and get OUT of my dress clothes. I never have that problem now.

    I also think that part of the “dressed up = work better” mindset has to do with office culture. As more and more people work from home or use flex time, I think this will continue to erode.


    • I was in a store yesterday trying on things to wear for work, and at one point had a rather stunning outfit in white and black–but it was the kind of thing that would be way above even the biz casual look the executives wear. So I put it back, though I did like it.

      I think there is a fine line between dressing well and dressing appropriately for your office culture. If you appear way out of people’s stratospheres (for we do make judgments based on appearance, even if we don’t want to, or think we shouldn’t), their manner toward you changes, as does their trust level. At least that’s what I’m pondering over.

      In any case, I agree that flex time and working from home is going to affect traditional office standards. It may take awhile, but it’ll happen.


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