Dressing for the summer heat while remaining professional can be tricky, but possible.
“Looking cool and professional even in sweltering heat is not that difficult, you just have to get a little creative and pair the right clothes together,” says Nina Parr, founder of online retailer Sheify. For women, try paring light weight dresses with professional shoes and belts. Women can also wear dressy capris, those always look adorable, and pair with a dressy short-sleeve top or tank top and a light sweater. Men can pull off some seriously comfortable slacks that are light weight and look professional with short-sleeve button downs. This is a great look for summer and will always impress at the office.”
Some people dress plain wrong for the office in the summer. “The major mistake people make is wearing summer clothes that are too revealing. Or, people are too casually dressed because it’s hot,” says Kristie Glenn, owner of Blue Labels Boutique.
There are some perfect choices. “The best summer outfits for women are maxi dresses and skirts, as well as dresses that hit the knee, or right above the knee, paired with a blazer. For men, slacks with Polo style or button-up tops. Thin, cotton sweater with slacks,” says Glenn.
There are absolute ‘no-nos’ when it comes to summer dressing in the office. “For women, the ‘no-nos’ are mini skirts, crop and spaghetti strap tops, or shorts. Also, avoid sheer tops unless you wear a camisole to cover up and no flip flops,” says Glenn. “For men, ‘no-nos’ are muscle shirts, basketball shorts, tennis shoes, or any form of athletic gear. Also, no jeans with holes.”
Adds Parr, “The best summer outfits for women at the office are dresses! They are perfect because you can easily dress them up with a cute strappy sandal or elegant flat. You can also pair dresses with light sweaters in case you get cold in the office. The best summer outfits for men at the office are light weight slacks with short-sleeved button downs. This will help you stay cool while also looking professional.”
Certified personal wardrobe and image consultant Marian Rothschild says not to forget the air-conditioned offices. “The majority of us are working inside air-conditioned offices, and sometimes they can be downright chilly. So my first rule of thumb for business professionals, no matter what season, is to always have a jacket on hand,” she says. “For men, that means a sport jacket, tailored to fit the body, as you are now, in a color that is flattering to your skin tone and appropriate for the season and the situation…Ladies love our layers, so bring it on, even in the summer time, because you know how sometimes the air conditioning blasts and you are freezing. Always have either a light-weight jacket or cardigan on hand for office work and business appropriate situations.”