There’s corporate, there’s casual, and then there’s in-between. Figuring out what to wear to the office to look professional and appropriate in a relaxed office environment is a challenge any time of the year, but especially in summer.
Here are some ideas for how to look and keep cool on the job.
Summer is here, but unfortunately, you can’t spend all your time on your patio in palazzo pants. When you’re at the office, you need to stick to the dress code without sticking to your seat in a puddle of sweat. To survive the dog days of summer in your cubicle simply:
1. Keep covered-up
Showing too much skin will never fly at work- so no matter how high the mercury climbs remember: Skirts should always hit at the knee or below. If you choose to go sleeveless, choose a top that completely covers the shoulder. Sheer fabrics call for a cami. And always carry a cardigan or blazer just in case you need an extra bit of polish (or the a/c makes your office too cold).
2. Choose lighter fabrics
Staying cool and conservative is possible if you choose the right fabrics. Instead of polyester or synthetic fabrics, choose cotton and linen more often. The let your skin breathe. A linen blazer over a lightweight cotton blouse, for instance, allows you to command the boardroom no matter the temperature.
3. Cool Shapes
Another way to keep cool is to choose looser-shaped garments. But that doesn’t mean wearing sloppy, oversized pieces. Rather, try A-line skirts and dresses and cropped blazers. Cropped pants are a more polished version of capris and can easily work in an office setting. Also, wide-leg linen trousers will keep you covered but help you look like the boss lady you are.
4. Look Professional
In conservative, corporate environments, you need to stick to neutrals and conservative prints. In a more casual office, bright colors and prints are a great way to signal summer’s arrival. Keep in mind that your choice of accessories and footwear adds to your image. A beach bag shouldn’t go to any office, but you can swap out a black leather bag for a tan colored one, so you don’t look out of step with the season.
5. Summer Shoes
Never, ever wear flip-flops on the clock unless you’re a lifeguard. More casual offices allow structured low strappy sandals (like gladiator sandals). More conservative settings call for pumps, although some allow peep-toes or slingbacks which allow some air but still look appropriate. You can wear ultrasheer hose in summer if you want to with closed toe pumps or wedges or even peep toe shoes, but avoid them with strappy sandals as they can look old lady.
Summer’s here, but that doesn’t allow you to cross the line into sloppy. Keep your promotion and your fashionable status by following these tricks for casual office dressing in hot weather.
Do you have ideas for what to wear to the office in summer? I’d love to hear them!
*Contributor: Morgan Mullin.