As summer gets closer, much of the United States is looking at three (or more) months of sweltering heat and humidity. Offices might be air-conditioned, but you’ll still want to dress to impress without worrying about sweating your makeup off between your car and your desk. So figuring out how to make work clothes work for you in the morning can be a juggling act.
When dressing for summer in the office, there are a couple of things you should consider before choosing your outfit.
- Remember it’s hard to predict just how much air conditioning you’ll have, so be sure to dress in office-appropriate layers.
- Make sure you pick lightweight fabrics like cotton, linen, chambray and other blends that breathe well and wick away moisture.
- On the flip side, save the crop tops, miniskirts and strapless shirts and dresses for the weekend — these pieces are too casual for even the most laid-back offices.
With this in mind, beat the heat and invest in some cool clothing for work — it’s worth every penny.
Sure, this is the obvious choice, but sundresses are lightweight and can easily transition from work to evening. Play around with various colors and patterns and mix and match with different jackets and shoes for a new look every day.
Give your jeans, pants or dresses a whole new look by snapping up a few pairs of sandals. Depending on your office dress code, you might be able to get away with a nice pair of flip-flops, but invest in a good pair of gladiator sandals or wedges to kick your style up a notch.
There are a few clothing items everyone professional woman should own, and a lightweight jacket is one of them. There is no colder winter than summer in an office — so plan to have a lightweight cardigan and jacket in your bag or at your desk. Lightweight jackets are also key to dressing up those casual summer dresses up enough for the office. They’re also easy to drop in your bag when it’s time to walk to your car or if you’re headed to dinner or drinks.
Cropped Dress Pants
Upgrade your dress pants for a pair of skinny crops. These versatile bottoms can be paired with flats, wedges and even ankle boots. You can also add a pop of color to your wardrobe by having a few pairs in fun colors.
Maxi Skirts and Dresses
They’re light and cover up on the days you don’t feel like shaving your legs while still keeping you cool. They’re also versatile and can be worn with everything from light blazers to button downs to t-shirts. By pairing them with an ankle boot, button down or scarf, maxi skirts and dress also easily transition from summer to fall.
Jeans aren’t just for the fall and winter months to be worn with boots. Your everyday jeans will easily transition to summer by swapping your boots for wedges and your cardigan for a light weight top. For an extra pop of color, invest in a few pairs of light weight jeans in white or your favorite pastel color.
Shorts and Rompers
If you work and live in a particularly hot climate, like the southwest, and have an ultra-casual office, shorts and rompers might be another optional available to you — but, again, only if you're in an ultra-casual office. Be sure to know what business casual really means for you, and check your office dress code to remember to be conscious of the length. Dress up shorts or rompers with a blazer and nice shoe. And when in doubt, contact your HR department.
Samantha Smoak is a journalist turned tech public relations professional based in Nashville, Tennessee. For sports jokes and dog pictures, follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @samanthaksmoak.