With summers becoming increasingly hotter each year, it can be hard to keep cool even in your own home. Choosing something to wear to work every day—especially if the air conditioning in your workplace isn’t as strong as you’d like—can be a challenging task however. When is short too short? What is tasteful and what is too revealing? Here are some ideas on how to dress to keep cool in the workplace during the summer months while not sacrificing style, comfort or professionalism.
Your goal is to assemble items that are attractive but not sexy and breathable but not skimpy. Cotton, linen, rayon, chambray, and certain types of denim all provide that much-needed breathability for those steamy summer months and will be the foundation of your wardrobe for the season.
How can you be sure that what you’re wearing meets the workplace standards for tastefulness? It really depends on what type of office it is and what the typical dress code is. Err on the side of caution, but trust your own judgment — if you feel like it’s appropriate to wear around your boss and co-workers then go for it.
Skirts, dresses, capris, lightweight slacks, and comfy tops are a safe choice for your summertime work wardrobe. The real question is: what types of skirts, dresses, capris, slacks, and tops should you wear?
The quickest way to enhance your feminine energy, florals are must-haves.
You can take a drab or solid-colored outfit, say, a plain top and bottom, and spice them up simply by throwing on a floral blazer. At that point, whether you choose heels or flats doesn’t matter. Footwear and accessories can take a backseat when florals are involved. So, let the flowers do the talking.
A floral sundress is a perfect choice for summer. Remember to double check the length. Other than that, all you need to add are some dynamic little studs and you’re on your way to winning the best-dressed title in your workplace.
Let’s face it, florals have a way of putting the wearer and those around them in a fantastic mood. They function the same way an actual bouquet of fresh roses and baby’s breath would. Super likable and acceptable, florals magnetize and exude beauty to everyone in their presence. And, like it or not, you are what you wear, you super-likable, acceptable, magnetizing, beautiful thing you.
As flawless as florals are, there’s always room for other prints.
Uniformity is key and the patterns themselves are extremely important. Unicorn prints are precious but could come off as a little childish at the workplace. Skulls and bones may make you look edgy in another environment, but steer clear from sporting them professionally. Less is more and safe is best.
Shapes, birds, fish, and, tribal prints are viable options. Camo and wild animal prints may prove to be a bit much for conservative work environments, but there are exceptions to every rule. So if you’re dying to slip into that fierce leopard number, play it by ear. Make sure it’s worth it. Use the same caution with regard to letters, phrases, and slogans. You wouldn’t want to offend anyone or send the wrong message. Be smart with your choices.
Bright colors have summer written all over them. Oranges, yellows, and hot pinks are eye-commanding and really fun. Take it easy on anything neon, though. It’s best to accessorize with neon pieces as opposed to strutting around in head-to-toe glow-in-the-dark outfits. A neon bracelet, belt or shoelaces would be easier to swallow than fluorescent apparel.
Sporting something in lime green while hanging out with friends can be stunning. Lime green while giving a make-or-break presentation in the boardroom, not so much.
Keep things bright and sunny but not bright and sunny enough to blind and distract your coworkers, customers, clients or supervisors.
Stripes, Plaids and Polka Dots
Vertical stripes, even diagonal and horizontal, are just fine career-wise. Their uniformity and universality is a win-win for everybody. Plus, they’re a cheap and easy way to add some oomph to your wardrobe without being over-the-top.
Polka dots are an easy option for work because they operate a lot like stripes in that they match with almost everything. Miniature polka dots are particularly good for work. They have a way of making an impression without making a scene.
You can’t really go wrong with plaid. Purchase a few pairs of lightweight slacks and you’re good to go. The amazing part is, if you’re lacking in the glutes department, plaid can give you a boost back there. Stripes produce the same result.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
It’s been said that you shouldn’t wear black and other dark colors during the summer months because they’ll cause you to overheat and sweat and all that jazz. Point taken.
However, going half and half could be ideal since dark colors are widely accepted across the board in professional settings. Think interview clothes.
You could opt for a pale or multicolored blouse with a black pencil skirt or a dark top and Hawaiian floral Palazzo pants. The combination is golden.
As an aside, don’t forget to bring thin outerwear with you at all times, something lightweight and breathable. Why? If your work environment feels like a freezer in the summer, you’ll be thankful for that sweater.
Work is not a fashion show, it’s true, but who said you weren’t allowed to look fashionable at your cubicle while you’re kicking corporate butt?
Emelina Vigier is a fashion and lifestyle writer. You can find more of her work on Awearness Blog where she writes about sustainable living.