Ask The Edit: What Boss Hosts an Office Pool Party?
May 31, 2017
My boss of two years sent an invitation to his home for a pool party. Yes, a pool party. Just thirteen lawyers (and families) enjoying his new pool. Setting aside that this is clearly so he can show off his new multi-million dollar reno to the other partners, what in the name of Mary and the Saints am I supposed to wear to a work pool party? I’m 33, packing a little extra in the middle (what lawyer isn’t?), and I haven’ been in a swimsuit in two years. Shorts are also completely out of the question for me. And did I mention that I will be the only woman there who is not a wife because the other female associate is on maternity leave? Oh, and my boss’s wife owns a popular workout chain and looks like Christy Turlington. #fml
With Regards, JD in a Bikini?
The only thing more amazing to me than a boss that equates morale boosting with pool party is how many of these e-mails I get. I was just in D.C., and heard from two people that their bosses also think an “Office Pool Party” is the perfect summer activity (or the name for a bad movie). And you just know the boss is sitting in his office patting himself on the back for being such a cool boss, while every woman in the place is silently cursing.
So what does one wear to an office pool party when one is a career-minded woman who 1) doesn’t want her co-workers ogling her, 2) wants to be seen as a ‘good sport’, and 3) doesn’t want to spend the entire gathering feeling bad about her body?
The great thing about a swing dress is that it’s fun, summery and doesn’t cling to you like a needy boyfriend at a relative’s wedding. The forgiving shape looks great on the vast majority of body types, and gives the air room to circulate in the heat. I like this LOFT option. Also on my list, this simple $20 option from TJ Maxx and this summery NM dress with an embroidered yolk. Plus-size? This striped Old Navy dress is cute.
For my first suggestion, I would wear this dress with a halter-tie swimsuit, either one-piece or bikini. This way, you can see the bow peeking out of the neck of the dress. It’s like saying, “Yes. I understood this was a pool party. Yes, I wore a swimsuit. Yes, I’m a team player. No, I’m not getting in, because let’s be real, neither are you.”
Add a fun panama hat, a good pair of sunglasses, and cute sandal or wedge, and you’re done.
Option No. Two: Poolside Glamour
If you want to make a splash at your office pool party, I recommend the always glamorous caftan. This Rachel Pally has a soft neutral palette. I also like this shorter, tassel trim caftan from Off 5th. Or to really channel your inner Liz Taylor, try this Melissa Obadash caftan.
So why a caftan? A swing dress is a fun, casual way to blend in. A caftan is a glamorous way to stand out. If you think the other female attendees will be decked out playing the plus-one card, it doesn’t hurt to step up your game.
An office pool party is basically just a fun way to torture your employees. You strip away any air of professional attire, add playing (yelling) children, pour on alcohol, serve cheeseburgers, and expect it not to be a fiasco. But at the same time, this is your job. So no matter what you wear, monitor your alcohol consumption, remember you have to see these people on Monday, and try to have a good time.