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COMPANY CULTURE

Just How Casual Is Too Casual During the Summer?

So you run the business. Well, you might want to dress like it, even if it's hot out.

About three-quarters (74 percent) of employees think it's acceptable for both men and women to dress "more casually" during the summer, according to a recent report.

What does "more casually" mean? It depends on who you're asking. (Hint: Perhaps not surprisingly, men are in favor of women wearing less.)

More than three-quarters (76 percent) of women said strapless tops or dresses were out of place in the workplace—compared to just 55 percent of men, according to a survey done by Adecco Staffing. Four out of five women  deemed miniskirts an office no-no, compared to three out of five men.

Men and women were in agreement on the most inappropriate clothing item: 71 percent of all employees believe flip flops should be reserved for the weekend (or the beach). A little over half said shorts are inappropriate. Just 31 percent were opposed to open-toed shoes.

The consequences of casual dress can be more serious than just the annoying thwack-thwack sound of flip flops. A study from Jackson Lewis, a law firm specializing in personnel issues, found among firms that implemented a dress down policy a 30 percent rise in flirtatious behavior, contributing to an increase in sexual harassment lawsuits. Tension and complaints (both official and unofficial) have risen.

What's your summer dress code policy?

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Last updated: Aug 5, 2011

COURTNEY RUBIN

Inc. contributing editor Courtney Rubin was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.




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