Rules for Wearing Sunglasses—and Other Questionable Accessories—at the Office

Real life and office life don’t always mix—especially when it comes to fashion and accessories. This week, Bloomberg Businessweek published its five rules for wearing sunglasses to the office. The list is a great mix of fun, irreverent, and stylish common sense, so I wanted to share it with you:

1. Take them off at the entrance. Period.
2. Hide them. Immediately (i.e. Don’t put them on top of your head!).
3. No Croakies (those are the lanyards that hang your glasses around your neck).
4. Your glasses are like nice clothes—take care of them.
5. Fluorescent frames are unacceptable.

These tips got me thinking—what about other casual real-life clothes, shoes, and accessories that sometimes make their way into the workplace? Are there unspoken rules for, say, flip-flops and gym bags? What about the-air-conditioning-is-too-cold sweaters or commuting sneakers? Or even baseball caps and leggings?

So many garments to ponder! To kick off, here are my five office rules to live by for flip-flops and gym bags.



1. Change into shoes immediately! Flip-flops are, at their essence, beach and pool footwear. Sure, they’re comfortable to commute in, but they’re too casual for most offices.
2. Don’t wear your most beat-up pair. You can get a brand-new pair of rubber flip-flops starting around $1—there’s no reason to show up at work dragging a cracked, beat-up pair of slippers from 2003.
3. Err on the side of dressy. A good alternative to the standard rubber version of your favorite beach footwear is a slightly dressier look. Perhaps try a patent leather flip-flop?
4. Pay attention to your toes and heels. Exposing that much foot in a business setting requires at least the most cursory once-over with a pumice and a nail file. I’d recommend investing in a full-on professional pedicure at least twice a month during the summer season.
5. Avoid novelty flip-flops. Sometimes I walk by people on the train—women in suits, even!—wearing silly Strawberry Shortcake or Spongebob Squarepants flip-flops. Don’t be that person.

Gym bags:


1. You don’t need 100 bags. The more bags you’re schlepping, the more disorganized you’ll appear. Try to streamline your daily load to two bags or less. Here’s how: Get bigger bags.
2. Backpacks are your friends. Carrying a pair of sneakers, full workout gear, shower stuff, and gym accessories can make a shoulder tote pretty heavy—and could leave you lilting to one side, or even with back problems. Backpacks look neat and tidy—and are better for your spine.
3. Get a bag that zips shut. Nobody needs to see your sweaty shorts, socks, and sneakers, okay?
4. Just say no to rolling bags. If you’re not a makeup artist or hairstylist and you’re carrying so much stuff that you need a rolling mini-suitcase or daybag everyday, consider carrying less stuff.
5. Carry it in your hand or in the crook of your elbow. Nothing messes up the sharp line of a great tailored suit like a heavy, bulky gym bag dragging down your shoulders.

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