is it okay to change out of your commute clothes at your office?

A reader writes:

I’m about three months into my job. With the summer heat (90+ degrees F and ~90% humidity), it’s been so hot that I finally decided to forgo wearing my work blouses on the way into work (I have a 15-minute walk) and just wear a loose t-shirt with nice slacks. I also wear sneakers on my commute and change both the t-shirt and sneakers at the office.

I haven’t received any negative comments or attention based on it, but I’m still feeling sheepish about it. Is this an acceptable thing? Should I be changing before I get to my office? For reference: the dress code at my workplace is business casual in the summertime and formal business all other months.

As long as you’re going straight to the bathroom or your office to change when you arrive and not hitting the kitchen first or getting sucked into conversations with someone in the hall, in most offices this should be fine. Especially the shoe part, which is common to do. The t-shirt is potentially a little sketchier in some offices, but it’s pretty reasonable to do unless you’re getting odd looks or the overall vibe that it’s Not Done in that culture.

If it’ll give you more peace of mind, you could always run it by someone who’s been there a while and who seems to have good judgment, and see what they say.

But really, the day that it’s not okay to do this with sneakers is the day that 80% of the women in D.C. will rise up in rebellion.

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