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A New Corporate Dress Code for Global Warming?

Posted by: Michelle Conlin on July 11, 2007

Hot Sun.jpg
New York City is a steamy, drippy disaster. I wake up sopping in my Huis Clos of a bedroom with no air conditioning. I stare at the closet. Suits. Pants. Work-appropriate wear. So stifling. So unappealing. So Sartre.

I have long been tempted to pull a massive corporate dress code violation and show up in shorts at the office. The heat wave, melting everybody, is making a madness of pants. Our photo editor—he of the pressed Oxfords and professional-man slacks—started popping onto the 43rd floor in mod-Dad Bermudas, gruppie sneakers, and a delighted bounce in his step. Inspiration! Another temptation: Next week I am spending a few days with a high-ranking technology executive who, over the course of her entire career, has worn shorts to the office every single day. “What’s with the shorts?” I asked her. “Oh,” she answered, “I’m just more comfortable in them.” Revelation!

Yesterday I pulled on some gold short shorts and paired them with white, knee-high boots to approximate a miniskirt ensemble. I jumped on my bicycle rickshaw, dropped my daughter off at our babysitter’s, and then pumped my pedals from Greenwich Village to midtown. I arrived at our skyscraper in media gulch and pulled into my premium parking spot at the bike rack in front of the building. The rest of the day was leg-cooling bliss. A work moment I will always remember. Shorts in the office. A marvel.

Today I reverted to norm. Question: with heat waves rolling across the country, does the corporate dress code need an update for the age of global warming? Oh, and the roof. Can we get a pool?

Reader Comments


July 11, 2007 12:34 PM


I've been enjoy the Management IQ blogs. Not too stuffy -- like the weather you've been having in NY.

Dress codes are a guide not a requirement. It depends. I've never read them nor does/should anyone. It depends. So my BOLD answer to your question is YES and NO. NO because if you have the wrong boss you'd get fired. YES because if you have the right boss you'd be so productive at work that he or she would even let you go in your pajamas if it makes you more productive! My question to you (and your readers) is: what boss do you have?


John A. Byrne

July 18, 2007 6:01 PM

Shorts at Business Week? I recently strolled through Microsoft and was surprised to me many folks in shorts and flip-flops. But if the weather is oppressive and you're not having to interview an important guest, it's more important to be comfortable than not. So go for it, Michele.

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