Can You Wear a Bikini to an Office Function? Readers, Weigh In…

can you wear a bikini to an office function?2018 Update: If you’re pondering whether you can wear a bikini to an office function, you may want to consult the below advice — you may also want to check out our more recent discussion on what to wear to an office pool party, as well as all of our advice on what to wear to summer associate events.

This came up a while back and we wanted to postpone until it was actually warm enough to go swimming, but here is a question for the ages: if your conservative office has a pool party, boating trip, or something else where swimsuits would otherwise be appropriate, what do you wear? Particularly in light of the British scandal over some Speedo photos, we wondered what the masses thought.

For our $.02… it’s hard to answer this from a meta level, actually, because every part of our brain screams FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT WEAR A SWIM SUIT AMONG COLLEAGUES.  While on vacation amongst people you don’t know, it’s almost like being alone — no one can really judge, and so many people wear a swimsuit inappropriately (too small, too loose, too burnt to a crisp, etc) that it’s hard to single any one person out as The Worst Offender Of All Time at a public beach. However, change the group to fifty people who you vaguely know by name or reputation alone, and that “no judgments” rule changes big time. So, for our two cents, we’d wear a sundress or the most sun-dressy cover-up we could find, and leave the water to private vacations.

As we’ve demonstrated, this question is inevitably tied to personal body issues — but the more interesting question may not be what you would do, but what you think others should do.  So please answer as if you’re advising a little sister who has no body issues.


Is it EVER appropriate to wear a bikini to a company outing like a pool party, picnic on the beach, or other office function? If there is -- does what KIND of bikini it is matter? Don't miss the reader poll!

Tuesday’s TPS Report: Cole Haan Sabra Canvas Box Tote

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

iconWhat a great summer bag!  The straw-colored canvas, the snappy kelly green leather — le sigh.  It’s a great price at eBags at the moment, too — now $199 (was $350). Cole Haan Sabra Canvas Box Tote

Update: eBags has another 20% off sale going on right now — it’s valid sitewide, which should include this bag. Wild Wednesday: Extra 20% OFF at

If you’ve recently seen a great work piece you’d like to recommend to the readers, please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.

The Hunt: Beige-colored Pumps

2018 Update: You may want to check out this year’s roundup of nude-for-you pumps — as well as our general guide to wardrobe essentials for work!

We all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Yes, everyone knows that you can get Manolo or Cole Haan nude beige pumps — but if those don’t work for you for some reason (too expensive, too high), here are some other options on the market at the moment…

Type Z – KC 2 (Camel Leather) – Footwear, $75 at Zappos (1.5″ heel)
BCBGirls – Freud (New Cream Puff), $89 at Zappos (3″ heel)
Johnston & Murphy’s Julia Mary Jane Pump, now $109 (was $228)

Updates: We’ve been tied up all day and are just getting a chance to address the controversy over our use of the word “nude.” We sincerely apologize to anyone we’ve offended.

Reader Mail Roundup

Today’s reader mail has to do with office-appropriate jewelry…

I noticed that you said, “We’d wear it with a white cardigan or a cropped jacket, and maybe one or two long, simple necklaces” in a recent post. You, as usual, are accurately tuned into to what I’m thinking. Please help! Where can I find fun, simple jewelry that’s appropriate for the work place? I feel as though I wear the old standbys (pearls) or a gold necklace every day I throw on a necklace. I usually wear pearl or Tiffany silver ball studs for earrings—but what other earrings would be okay? I’m a summer associate at a medium-size firm and I’d like to show my personality, but still be appropriate. I’m looking for inexpensive jewelry, but am willing to spend more if it’s a piece that will last a long time in my wardrobe. Usually, I grab a piece or two from Ann Taylor or Banana Republic’s sale bin, but lately nothing has really excited me. Do you have pieces that a girl can’t live without?

We recently ran an open thread on this that might be helpful to you. For us, our standbys are huggy earrings (we can’t stand earrings with posts). For the long necklaces we mentioned, we’ve bought things in the past from Maria Chavez and really loved them. From her current collection, we’d suggest something like the 950-S, pictured at right (available at for $275). For our $.02, we’d rather buy one piece that’s made of real material (sterling silver, gold, gemstones) rather than buy 10 pieces that you get at a bargain store — but that’s a very personal preference. Etsy can also be a great resource for jewelry; we’ve also been eyeing the collection at Erin Gallagher recently.

Readers, anything to add that you didn’t say in the open thread?

Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Anna Sui’s Military Wool-Blend Cardigan

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

We’re kind of loving that what looks like a crazy pattern is actually a fairly typical wool sweater pattern, but with expert detailing and tailoring from Anna Sui. Absolutely gorgeous. We’d wear it with all black and white, and choose one accessory to pop — red shoes,  perhaps, or an emerald green necklace. It’s $430 at Anna Sui Military wool-blend cardigan

If you’ve recently seen a great work piece you’d like to recommend to the readers, please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.

Weekend Open Thread

We thought we’d give this a try — on the off chance you’re stuck at the office and want to talk about, well, anything, we thought we’d open a post for you guys. Enjoy! Pictured: Mikasa “Pure Red” Coffee Cup and Saucer, 10 oz., available at for $15.99 (was $25).