Are sleeveless tops appropriate for the office?

posted 2 years ago in Career
Post # 2
Member
979 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I’m an HR manager and it really depends on the culture of the company.

At our company, i’m one of two women that ever wears a skirt. We have a very casual dress code and most everyone wears jeans everyday. Myself and the other woman who wears skirts/dresses occasionally both wear sleeveless tops/dresses sometimes. I always have a cardigan to put on if I need to cover up (or just because it’s freezing in our buildling).

If it’s spaghetti straps, definitely not. But when the straps are thick and only your arms are showing, we’ve never had an issue. Really the bigger issue i’ve seen in the past has been cleavage! Even in long sleeves, some tops are NOT okay for work without a cami underneath and back when we had a lot more women in the office, it was like WHOA to some of them.

Post # 3
Member
2114 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I think it depends on where you live. I am in Indiana, and my office is pretty lax – I will wear sleeveless dresses on 90+ days (not spaghetti strap though), as will many of my female coworkers. I wouldn’t dream of doing it in DC though, where my counterparts dress a little more stereotypically “business”.

Post # 4
Member
2661 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I will wear sleeveless but if it is a tank, I’ll put a lightweight sweater over it.

Post # 5
Member
647 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

I think as long as the majority of the shoulder is covered it’s fine. Something like a spaghetti I think is a no no but something like the tops below I think is totally fine, I wear them myself.

 

Post # 8
Member
111 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Office culture does matter. That said, I live in DC, probably one of the more conservative places in the US. I have no problems wearing a sleeveless dress or top, as long as it still has a business vibe to it. I’d say that it’s appropriate for 90% of work places. You can always put a jacket on for more formal meetings.

Post # 9
Member
13003 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I agree with Pinkstripes.  Those two are completely office appropriate to me, but anything less I put a cardigan over.

Post # 10
Member
6644 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Our office sleeveless is a big no no, must have sleeves.  And the office I am in is causual setting.  Though I telecomute so as I write this I am in my pj’s yet. lol

Post # 11
Member
4147 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I work in the construction industry and am the only woman other than the receptionist.  When I first started, I made sure I was always covered up because I wasn’t comfortable showing skin around an office full of men, but now that I’ve been here a while and become comfortable with the fact that these guys are not pervy (at least not in the open haha) and it’s quite warm outside, I usually wear a sleeveless shirt. For example, I’m wearing a nice sleeveless blouse from Banana Republic which also has a neckline that does not allow the chance to show any clev. I also bring in a cardi since later in the morning, the AC is a bit too cold for me. So for me, as long as they’re not spaghetti straps, or too low cut, I think it’s totally fine.

Post # 12
Member
992 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

MsGinkgo:  The rule of thumb for my office is straps must be at least three finger width wide. 

Post # 13
Member
188 posts
Blushing bee

I agree with pretty much everyone on here, as long as the straps are wide. Three fingers is a great rule @lalavla! I just used it on my dress to visualize. I just passed. Whew. Haha. Also wearing a cardigan. (I’m on a break, btw! Not just a constant slacker at work! Lol) There WAS just recently a battle over sleeveless with our manager, though. So, I guess it depends. Sleeveless won, but it was a ‘better make sure it’s ACTUALLY PROFESSIONAL not borderline win. So yay for sleeveless! I’m always cold so it’s not really an issue for me, haha.

 

Post # 14
Member
1893 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Dallas, TX

PinkStripes:  Agreed! A wide strap is fine, but if you are seeing more shoulder than strap, that’s not ok.

Post # 15
Member
3866 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I wear sleeveless to work in the summer – but they are the type of sleeveless that have very wide “straps” – most of them cover from my collar bone to the top of my arm (easily three fingers, maybe more). They’re dressy too, not plain cotten tanks or anything, and not at all low cut.

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