Friday, May 14, 2010

The right to bare arms

Summer may be playing hide-and-go-seek with Sacramento (back to 60s and rain earlier this week), but it will be nice and toasty here soon, meaning it's time to bust out the sleeveless tops. While traditionally conservative workplaces may frown on bare arms in the office, this look is great for layering under a blazer or cardigan and the right choice can even carry you outdoors in hot weather without losing your professional edge.

Key things to look out for:
  • Make sure the straps are wide enough and positioned in the right place to cover your bra straps at all times.  Be sure to check the view from the back, too.
  • With so much skin on your arms showing, you can go higher with the neckline without looking dowdy.  Too low of a neckline can make even the prettiest blouse not fit for work (although that goes for shirts with sleeves, too). 

Some of my favorites:
Clockwise from top left: NY Collection (Macy's), Forever 21, Banana Republic, Alfani (Macy's), Lauren Ralph Lauren (Macy's), Alfani (Macy's)

My office isn't super-conservative, and I've shown a sleeveless look here and a borderline cap-sleeve here.  I could see any one of these tops working under a blazer or alone, with skirts or pants.  Some of theses (the two on the left) are almost closer to being cap-sleeved, which is another great summer staple.

Can you wear sleeveless tops to the office or do you top them with a coverup in the office?  What are your favorite sleeveless looks?


  1. even while i was working in a warehouse i dressed semi-conservatively (altho i was def more work environment appropriate). the thinnest straps for tanks i wore were 'beater' tanks, and i would generally make sure my bra straps weren't showing. i think people these days can be too casual with their work clothes. :(

  2. I think work-environment appropriate is key!

  3. I love sleeveless blouses with buttons and a collar and like to wear them tucked into some nice slacks for a feminine, yet powerful look.

  4. @ anonymous - I love that style, but have yet to try it. Maybe once my shopping ban is over...

  5. Quick question my new employer has requested I wear "Country Club Casual" is this interchangeable with the term "Business Casual"? If not can you elaborate for me what this might look like I don't want to show up in a suit/blouse/skirt combo if a polo and khakis is what they are after. Any advise...

    1. Good question. I don't think "Country Club Casual" is the same as "Business casual." Country Club Casual is more the polo-khaki set, or pants-blazers as separates rather than a matched suit. The colors are generally lighter as well. For women, try khakis (pants or skirts), sweaters/cardigans, crisp shirts and flats.


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