What To Wear To The Office in Summer

Looking professional and appropriate at work is especially challenging in July, and August when it’s hotter than heck and the dress code becomes a little more relaxed. Here are some tips for what to wear to the office in summer to keep cool, but look classy on the job.

summer office outfit blue wrap dress[

1. Keep Hemlines Professional

Just because temperatures shoot up, it doesn’t mean your hemline should too. Keep your skirts and dresses at a conservative business length. At the knee, or just above or below, is most appropriate for summer office outfits.

2.  Sleeveless Can Work

If you choose to go with a sleeveless blouse or dress, that may be fine depending on the office, but teeny spaghetti straps off the shoulder necklines or halter tops reveal too much skin and need to be worn under a cardigan or jacket.


summer office outfit floral-pencil-skirt-pink-blouse-cream-cardigan


3.  Keep a Jacket Handy

It’s a good idea to keep a  blazer or cardigan ready and waiting on the back of your office door. It comes in handy when you want to project more authority and is a lifesaver when an air-conditioned conference room starts feeling like a meat locker!

4.  Choose Lightweight Fabrics 

Staying cool and conservative is possible when you choose the right fabrics.  If it’s hot and sticky where you work, cotton and linen will let your skin breathe. A linen blazer over a lightweight cotton blouse, for instance, allows you to command the boardroom no matter the temperature. These are fabrics that breathe.

5.  Incorporate Breezy Silhouettes

Another way to keep cool during a heatwave is to choose lighter, looser-shaped garments. But that doesn’t mean wearing sloppy, oversized summer office attire. Rather, try flowy tops, A-line skirts, dresses, and cropped blazers.

Cropped trousers are a more polished version of capris and can easily work in an office setting with a dressy shoe. Wide-leg linen trousers will keep you covered but help you look like the boss lady you are.

6.  Don’t Go Overboard with Brights

Summer generally means brighter colors but in conservative, corporate environments, you are best to stick to neutrals, pastels, and quiet prints. Leave tropical brights for the weekend. In a more casual office, splashes of cheery summer colors and happy prints are a great way to signal summer’s arrival.

summer office black Trousers-

7.  Avoid Beach- themed Accessories

Keep in mind that your choice of accessories and footwear adds to your image. You might be tempted to bring your darling straw tote with ” Life is better at the Beach” written across it, but save it for your summer vacation. Beach bags don’t work with Summer office outfits. Instead, swap out a black leather bag for a tan or blush-colored one, so you don’t look out of step with the season.

8.  Say No Summer Sandals and Flip-Flops!

Never wear flip-flops on the clock unless you’re truly a lifeguard. More casual offices allow structured low, strappy sandals. More conservative settings call for pumps, although some are o.k. With peep-toes or slingbacks which allow some of your feet some air but still look appropriate.

9. Hold the Hose 

You can wear ultrasheer hose in summer with closed-toe pumps, wedges, or even peep toe shoes if you wish, but don’t wear them with strappy sandals, as they will make you look “old lady.”

Summer’s here, but that doesn’t allow you to cross the line into the sloppy territory at work. Keep your promotion and your fashionable status by following these tricks for appropriate summer office wear.

Do you have ideas for what to wear to the office in the summer? I’d love to hear them!


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11 thoughts on “What To Wear To The Office in Summer

  1. I love the ideas and would also love to have the sources. Great business casual examples that would work for my workplace.

  2. Deborah,
    Many thanks for this timely article. A great alternative to the pants ‘n top look I love to wear in the summer. I’m retired but do volunteer work and still want to look professional. I’ve also pinned this article.

  3. Love this. My retail work “uniform” is black slacks, dark jeans, and a black or white top with sleeves. But I could wear these everywhere *but* work and would love to do so!

  4. I loveve the dress, bag, and jewelry, but I’m just under 5 foot 10, and the thought of 3-inch heels makes us break into a sweat. Are there alternative shoes to the high block heel?

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