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Goodbye Sweaters, Hello Sleeveless! How To Keep Staff Cool But Correct In Summer Heat |  June 23, 2015 (0 comments)


Miami, FL—As Ella Fitzgerald sang, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy.” As temperatures creep up outside, the temptation to shed buttoned-up layers of clothes is also easy. But jewelers need to make sure their employees are dressing for success even during these warm summer months.

Look around your store. An air conditioner can fix the physical temperature but the mental temperature is harder to fix. Employees might opt for lighter clothing, even if it means revealing more skin or dressing more casually overall and you may notice hemlines are creeping up, fewer shirts are tucked in, and more skin is exposed.

Spring and summer have a natural laid-back atmosphere tied to them, but this can leave employees making inappropriate choices when dressing for work. I’ve personally seen flip-flops, short shorts, and tiny tank tops in jewelry stores—behind the counter! I find it appalling and I think all of these are jewelry store no-no’s.

I’m sure every store and owner is different, but if you are working as a sales associate in a jewelry store, it is always important to look professional and appropriate in the workplace. Anything can happen at a drop of a hat: an important customer (not that they aren’t all important!) can come in, or a sales rep can come in to present a line, and if an employee is dressed inappropriately, it can reflect poorly on your company.

Andie Weinman

The message an employer should convey is that their associate’s career is very important, no matter what the temperature is outside. Big mistakes women make during the summer months include short skirts, revealing blouses, sheer fabrics, and sometimes bare legs, and especially flip-flops. Even if you have a store with a relaxed atmosphere, these are just not acceptable. Employees need to understand that they are dressing for the job, the raise, and the promotion—you’ll be viewed far more professionally in a skirt than a halter top and you don’t want to be a fashion faux pas—or worse, dismissed—because your skirt is too short.

Men don’t get off the hook so easily either. While men’s summer garments aren’t necessarily inappropriate in the sense of being too revealing, they can be equally unprofessional. I understand more casual blazers and pants may be acceptable as they are usually made with lighter fabrics. Some would say this is not professional enough, just like loafers opposed to dress shoes, but the key is to make sure that the male associate in your store does not look un-kept. I think the biggest problem in summer attire for men is un-tucked shirts as well as flip-flops, shorts, and jerseys. This is attire for the weekend at home.

Here is my pet peeve list for attire in a jewelry store:

These belong at a beach, bar, gym, or the privacy of your own home. Not in a jewelry store. I have also witnessed--would you believe--sunglasses! Once you’re indoors, lose the sunglasses. Huge summer offense! Your Ray-Bans should not be used as a headband. Plus, the visible bra strap trend is offensive and a major distraction when making a jewelry presentation. 

To avoid these problems, employees should have a clear dress code in place. First thing to do is to include a list of inappropriate garments within your store policy. Asking employees not to wear flip-flops or tank tops is not as awkward as having to send someone home to change. My saying to employees would be, “if you have to think about it, then it’s probably not appropriate.”

You also need to make sure your employees feel comfortable when you implement a strict dress code. The weather may be warm outside but the store has fabulous air conditioning. If employees complain that the temperature is too cold, ask them to wear a cardigan. They will be more comfortable and set a good example for other employees as well. I think sandals are ok, but make sure they are of a dressy variety, with a peep toe or that cover the majority of your foot.

Levels of formality may vary by your geography as well as the overall feel of the store, but I feel it’s always safer to err on the conservative side. Employees can take notes from fellow colleagues on how to handle drastic temperatures. Maybe suggesting they arrive a little earlier to change into the proper attire for the store atmosphere as opposed to the outside atmosphere.

In a nutshell:

1. When in doubt, don’t. If you think a piece of clothing is inappropriate, it probably is.

2. Strike a balance. A comfortable, happy employee is a more productive employee. However, employees must also remember that sloppy or skimpy summer dresses can be distracting to co-workers and can affect productivity and customer service. Employees need to balance the needs of their clients and culture when determining the appropriate dress code for warmer weather.

3. Be polished. No matter what time of year, it’s important that your employees make a good impression and present a professional image, even in a store with a relaxed atmosphere. Being allowed to dress casually does not mean you can be a slob. Always make sure your clothes are clean, pressed, presentable, and appropriate for a professional sales career.

In closing, for me the better I feel about myself at work the more efficient I am.

Andie Weinman, president and CEO of Preferred Jewelers International / Continental Buying Group Inc., was born with the “Jewelry Gene” working in the jewelry industry since she was only ten years old. Her first job was as a cashier in the opening of a catalog showroom doing a fantastic job even at that tender age. Andie holds a B.A. in musical theatre and a B.S. in marine biology from The University of Tampa. When she realized that seawater and marine biology were not good on her hair and she wasn’t quite good enough to make it on Broadway, the jewelry business beckoned. Andie has picked diamonds, sorted color stones, shot waxes and performed a multitude of jobs in the manufacturing of jewelry.  Her negotiating experience and prowess has given her the reputation as being tough but fair in her dealings with vendors. In 2012 the Indian Diamond and Color Association awarded Andie the Prestigious Doyenne Award of the Year.

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