Are Sleeveless Styles Professional for Work?

To Sleeve or Not to Sleeve? That is the Question!

When it comes to dressing for work, it’s important to maintain a professionally appropriate look in the office. But that can really vary depending on the workwear norms of each workplace. As we move into warm weather, employees may want to show more skin, which is very understandable. When deciding to wear sleeveless styles, there can be a lot of confusion about what is considered professional and what isn’t. So, what are the rules? Let’s explore some tips that can be helpful when going for your warmer weather pieces to explore what’s most appropriate or not.

When wearing sleeveless styles, 2 rules run paramount.

  1. Do not wear spaghetti straps. That’s my very humble opinion, but I believe that even in the most casual work environments, that crosses the line of too much skin.
  2. My second rule of thumb is, balance. A sleeveless top or dress that has a strap of 1 inch or more is usually much more appropriate for work. If you decide to wear a sleeveless top, look to pair it with a pair of bottoms that extend to the knee or longer. This will balance out the amount of skin that’s shown for your outfit.


The Pros of Wearing Sleeveless Styles

There are many benefits to wearing sleeveless styles in the workplace. For instance, if your office has a business casual dress code, then having options like sleeveless tops can give you some much-needed flexibility. You can easily transition from workwear to weekend wear without having to worry about changing up your entire outfit. Additionally, for those who live in warmer climates, opting for sleeveless styles can help keep you cool on hot summer days when the temperature rises in your office space.

The Cons of Wearing Sleeveless Styles

On the other hand, there are certainly some cons associated with wearing sleeveless styles in the workplace as well. The first thing to consider is what your company dress code might be—many companies have guidelines that dictate exactly how much skin should show while you’re working (and often times this means no exposed shoulders). Additionally, certain industries—such as finance or law— (both of which have been more traditionally conservative in workwear attire) expect their employees to dress more conservatively than others and this may mean that sleeveless styles aren’t allowed at all. So if you decide to show the skin, think twice, and read the room. It’s okay to push the bounds, but always ensure to look professional and read the room.

At the end of the day, deciding whether or not wearing sleeveless styles is appropriate for work will depend on both your company dress code and industry standards. It also depends on whether or not you feel comfortable wearing something that could be seen as unprofessional by your colleagues or superiors. Think carefully about how other people may perceive your clothing choice before making any decisions—the last thing you want is for someone else’s opinion of you (or worse yet – their judgement) getting in the way of making progress at work! That said, if you do decide that a touch of arm exposure won’t hurt anyone’s feelings (or break any dress codes), feel free to rock those warm-weather looks with confidence!

– xoxo

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Meet the founder behind Corporate Curly – a brand crafted with love to uplift the modern working woman through natural hair care, workwear inspiration, and career guidance. This journey isn't just about business; it's about pouring my heart into empowering women like you to embrace their authenticity and thrive in every aspect of their professional lives.