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Managers ticked off by inappropriate officewear

Helen Mayson

Hawaain wear: not appropriate for the office

Hotpants, vests, Hawaiian shirts – managers share their officewear bugbears with Edge

As temperatures (thankfully) rise in the UK, office workers across the country have to decide what to wear in the heat while keeping their cool. A new survey from ILM says that this can be a tougher task than first thought, with many managers admitting to still getting it wrong.

Almost three in ten managers (28%) said they were stuck for what to wear to work on hot days, while one in 10 (11%) said their own organisation's officewear policy wasn’t reasonable about what is acceptable when the temperature rises.

The survey also asked the 1,200 managers about their officewear don’ts.

Topping the list of articles that should be banned from the office were vests and flip flops for men, while women were thought to look most inappropriate while wearing shorts or hot pants and strapless tops.

The full list of things to avoid


  1. Vests (81%)
  2. Flip-flops (76%)
  3. Baseball cap or hat (71%)
  4. Shorts (63%)
  5. Hawaiian shirt (63%)


  1. Shorts/hot pants (74%)
  2. Strapless tops (70%)
  3. Low-cut top (70%)
  4. Flip-flops (68%)
  5. Sarong (65%)

“As temperatures rise, many employees opt to dress more informally in their desire to cool down,” says ILM CEO Charles Elvin. “Every workplace is different and some are a lot more relaxed than others but to avoid people dressing down too radically, organisations should set clear guidelines on what is appropriate for summer office attire.”

The Edge guide to office appropriate attire

  • Check your official workwear policy – if your organisation doesn’t have one, have a chat with your manager
  • Dress for your day – shorts and flip flops aren’t likely to be appropriate if you’re presenting to the board
  • Be clear with your staff – if you set the dress standards for your team, be clear about what you’ll accept in advance.
  • If someone gets it wrong – never single out a staff member as an inappropriate example in front of others, but pull them aside to discuss informally

What do you wear to keep cool in the office? Share with us below or over on our Twitter feed


  • Anne-Maria Brown of PNE Development

    It's easier to wear a summer / cool top and something to put over the top if necessary. Surely it's easy to work out what you can and cannot wear in the workplace by looking at what everyone else is wearing. If the company doesn't have a policy then perhaps workers should force one to make it easier for everyone to adhere to what is expected.

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