The weather is heating up and it may be tempting to get a little more casual in your work attire. But there are ways to keep cool in your corporate wardrobe.
“The summer is often a time to show off your individuality in the office, but there’s a fine line between dressing for success and revealing too much,” says Charley Polachi, partner at executive search firm Polachi. “Avoid being too showy. While showing individuality is a large part of being an executive, avoid clothing that’s too flashy and takes the focus away from your ideas.”
Some of the same tips apply for both men and women.
First: Pull out the lighter colors from your closet. “An easy way to add some instant ‘cool’ to your corporate look is by playing with color. Instead of going for your traditional black or grey, add some of this season’s hottest colors such as yellow or orange in a cardigan or blouse. Pair it with a black pencil skirt or pants to balance off your look. A colored skinny belt is another great option to add a fashionable statement to a rather basic corporate outfit,” says Carmen Ordonez, founder of Viva Fashion. Men can don a crisp khaki suit paired with a pastel or bright colored shirt.
Second: Choose airy fabrics. “Linen is great for summer, and looks beautiful in a suit. You can also try a simple linen blazer with jeans, if you want to stay more casual at your office,” suggests Cecelia Myers, chief style officer at CakeStyle. CakeStyle, an online personal styling and shopping service targeting busy, professional women. Men can do exactly the same idea. Wear a linen blazer paired with jeans for casual Fridays. Or try an all-linen suit.
Third: A tip for women who tend to get cold indoors during months when wearing no sleeves in an air-conditioned office is to have a lightweight sweater or jacket handy. “It gets quite chilly working in an indoor corporate setting all day, and scarves are a perfect layering accessory to take women in and out of the chilly A/C. Cotton, or cotton silk blends, are a perfect way to be polished and cool in the corporate office,” says Myers.
Fourth: Go light on the grooming. Wear a lighter foundation and minimal makeup. And get a short power haircut. The same goes for men as well: “Keep it clean shaven, with a close hair cut,” suggests Garrett Fortner, owner of Forty One Fifty Shaving Essentials. “When it’s hot out, the less hair on your body means you will be cooler in the summer. The rule in the summer is to keep light and simple; that’s the way to be cool and stay cool.” He also says to make sure to put on lotion and sunscreen to protect your skin in the summer sun.