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Coffeepot Chatter: Finding The Summer Wardrobe Sweet Spot

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Tom: Ah, summer. You know, I love the buzz on campus when the students are here but I love summer too. Things seem more relaxed, there’s more parking, and casual Friday becomes casual every day.

Harry: I could not agree more, Tom, but do you check your calendar in the morning before you pull on jeans and a Lehigh polo?

Tom: No, should I?

Harry: Well, if you knew you were meeting with a VP or an external client, would you still want to be wearing jeans?

Tom: Yes! But I understand what you are saying. I might want to be wearing jeans, but should I?

Harry: Exactly. Even if they show up dressed more casually, it can’t hurt to up your own wardrobe game a bit in those situations.

Maria: Dress to impress, Tom. I heard a rumor that our new president may drop in on our stem meeting tomorrow. I’ll be leaving my polo and capris in the closet.

Cubicle Casual

Given the variety of settings faculty and staff work in at Lehigh, there isn’t one single uniform summer business casual dress code on our campuses. Employees in roles that require rugged wear and those who work in an office environment are naturally going to dress differently. Still, there are a few simple things to keep in mind before you head into work during the warmer months.

Plan Ahead:  You can check your own and your manager’s meeting schedule to ensure that you are dressed suitably for your day, but sometimes things will pop up unexpectedly. Consider keeping a jacket or sweater in a neutral color in the office for sudden meetings. You’ll feel more pulled together and combat air conditioning chill, too.


Shun The Shower Shoes:  Flip flops you would wear in the gym shower aren’t suitable or really even safe in the workplace.  You can keep cool and show off your pedicure in stylish sandals or other open-toed footwear.

From Boardwalk to Office? Think Again: Halters, tank tops, camis, and shirts that show off your six pack are not recommended for the office. And trust us, that shirt you thought was hilarious in Ocean City isn’t the look you’re going for back on campus.


Also, we hope this one is obvious, but please leave the cut-offs at home. Other pants considered too-casual-even-for-summer-casual include: bike shorts, tennis skorts, or yoga/sweatpants.


We know that as an academic institution with a business casual environment, it can be confusing at times to know where that line between business and barbecue casual is drawn. But even on the hottest days of the year, you can be more relaxed in your summer clothing without sacrificing your professional image.

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Spotlight is published monthly by Human Resources. Please address any comments to Hillary Kwiatek, Spotlight Editor, Human Resources, 428 Brodhead Avenue, send email to hik210@lehigh.edu, or call extension 85165.

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