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How To Know If You’re Exposing Too Much At Work

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When the weather heats up, there’s a fine line between looking fashionably professional and like you’re already on vacation. How to avoid the NSFW look:

Shorts “are never acceptable at work unless you are at the company picnic,” says county-based image consultant Scarlett De Bease, while Westchester personal shopper/stylist Maritza Bernard advises those in more creative settings to stick to shorts “long enough where you would feel comfortable around your grandparents.”

Bare skin—On sweltering days, De Bease says, “go ahead and wear sleeveless tops.” But beware: “Nothing says ‘unprofessional’ faster than bra straps peeking out.” Personal stylist Cat Alessio, who often serves Westchester clients, agrees it’s okay to show a little more skin, “but don’t distract”—i.e., keep it tasteful. With breathable fabrics like cotton and light silk, she warns, “light is fine; sheer is not!”

Skirt lengthSays De Bease, “Just because the temperature rises, does not mean hemlines should. At work, dresses and skirts should not be more than three inches above the knee.” Alessio recommends the old middle-school test: With arms hanging at your sides, hems should reach your fingertips at least. 

Sandals “are perfectly appropriate” in today’s era of modern work-wear, says De Bease, “but stay away from flip-flop-type shoes that announce your arrival with that flopping sound.” And, be aware of dirty/cracked heels: “Pedicures are a must.” In most non-corporate environments, Alessio confirms, open-toe and backless shoes and wedges are a go, though she recommends a bit of a heel.

A casual office look from Splendid

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