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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?

Last updated: Aug 5, 2011


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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