Summer time always presents a professional wardrobe dilemma. It’s steaming hot outside, but iceberg temperature in the office. How can one dress for the two environments.
Keep it professional. “Summer has a tendency to relax us. It’s hot, there are more people on vacation and less in the office, and your social calendar may be a little more full, prompting the need for more day-to-night looks. The trick is to still remember you are making an impression and put forth effort in what that impression is. Common mistakes are flip flops instead of sandals, lightweight fabrics that are too transparent, not ironing, and showing undergarments,” says career coach Angelina Darrisaw, who serves as a national ambassador for Procter & Gamble’s My Black is Beautiful campaign.
Don’t bare it. It’s hot outside but choosing the right fabrics and cuts in clothing means you do not have to bare it all. Flip flops are unprofessional; one can get the same airiness with sandals that are much more stylish and chic,” says Kerri Quigley, owner of The Fashion Class, which offers fashion design and sewing classes for young people. Watch how much leg your show. “Hemline to the knee– and for most office environments, both men and women should skip the shorts completely, most are a little too casual for standard work environments,” says Courtney Barry, Merchandising Brand Manager and Style Expert at ShoeBuy, an online retailer of footwear, apparel and accessories.
Leave the beach wear for the beach. Spaghetti straps, halters, tube tops are a no-no. “These styles are perfect for the beach or bar, but out of place in the office when worn alone. Same goes for T-shirts for the guys, try to avoid them unless accompanied by a blazer, sweater or cover-up of some kind,” Barry says.
How to dress for the heat but be ready for the office air conditioning. “Choosing light fabrics like cottons, linens and lightweight jerseys can help keep you cool; cotton is a natural wicking fabric which means it absorbs sweat and dries quickly; perfect for summer. On the other hand stay away from synthetic fabrics that are too heavy or clingy–they’ll only trap the heat,” advises Quigley. Adds Darrisaw, “Layers, layers, layers. Keep a scarf at your desk, in addition to your blazer/sweater.”
What to wear. “If you work in an office where a suit is required, opt for a short sleeve button-up that you can wear to keep you cool during your commute and that your jacket can hide while in the office. For men, sleeveless is rarely appropriate in most offices and neither are thong sandals or shorts. Play it safe with short sleeves, sandals, and lighter fabrics. For women, sleeveless is acceptable in most business casual environment but keep a sweater or blazer handy for formal meetings that may pop up,” suggests Darrisaw.