It can be difficult to exude confidence and professionalism in the workplace when you’re sweating bullets as a result of the midsummer heat. Even worse is when that sweat manifests itself as pit stains and an uncomfortably damp suit. Not very fun, right?
It doesn’t seem like we have much of a choice in the matter; summer is hot, and there are simply certain things you can and cannot wear in an office setting. Indeed, office-wear usually conjures in us images of restrictive polyester pantsuits and thick, black blazers, the sorts of things you would otherwise avoid during this season. However, professional wear extends far beyond this limited interpretation, and we’re happy to report that a comfortable workday is more than possible, even in the summer.
Light Fabrics and Colors
In general, it’s important that you pay special attention to the fabrics you select for your professional outfit. When the weather is hot, light and airy fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk will help you stay nice and cool, while acrylic, nylon, and polyester should be avoided. Check for lining on blazers to make sure that, if it’s there, it’s an appropriate material. Color is also something to consider when choosing a business outfit. Lighter colors are a helpful way to beat the sweltering summer temperatures, and darker, heat-absorbing shades should be used sparingly. Ditch the black and navy business-wear and opt for whites, tans, and lighter shades.
Your first instinct might be to limit your layers during the summer, but they can be useful when transitioning from a blisteringly hot commute to the chilly air conditioning in the office, or if you live in an area where the mornings and evenings can get particularly frigid. That doesn’t mean you need to don anything too elaborate. A simple blazer or cardigan should be enough to prepare you for any changes in temperature, so leave the parka at home and remember to select breathable options, like a red checkered blazer.
A good professional summer top should follow the established guidelines of breathable fabrics and light shades of color. Don’t be afraid to wear different patterns and styles! Just make sure that the blouse you choose isn’t too translucent, or at least has an undershirt, and that you have a modest neckline that is appropriate for the workplace. This white eyelet blouse with some slacks and a pair of nude flats is a great example of using shorter sleeves and a loose fit to stay comfortable while looking presentation-ready.
A dress is a wonderful option to stay comfortable during the hottest season of the year. There are a number of professional styles to choose from, but you can also dress up a more casual selection with a classy blazer or cardigan, or even a belt! Make sure the length of the dress is office appropriate (usually at the knee), and steer clear of spaghetti straps; thicker straps that cover most or all of the shoulders are ideal in a work setting. A belted tunic shirt dress with a sophisticated collar and chic striped pattern is a great, lightweight option that can be worn alone or with a blazer.
Shoes you would wear to the beach usually aren’t the same as shoes you would wear on the job, as much as we might wish they were. Even in the summer, a nice heel is still just as common at work like any other time of the year. However, that doesn’t mean you have to ditch comfort in favor of professionalism. If heels aren’t your thing, sensible flats or small wedges are excellent close-toed options, and you aren’t limited to these. Though it’s generally advised to wear closed shoes in the workplace, you can (depending on the business and its dress code) get away with a tasteful open-toed mule or peep-toe wedge. We’d suggest leaving the flipflops and gladiator sandals at home, though. Sometimes, it’s difficult to know what acceptable workplace attire is, especially in the hotter months, when the temptation to wear a t-shirt and shorts into the office reaches its peak. Here at WFS, we want to help people dress their best in any situation while providing them with the tools necessary to experiment with their style and discover what works for their wardrobe or boutique! We hope our tips help people stay cool and professional during summers in the workplace. Be sure to leave us a comment below sharing your own tricks to beat the summer heat. We love to hear from you!