Dressing for summer in the office can be tough. Ninety-degree weather and a suit jacket don’t exactly mix, but neither do guys in shorts and corporate boardrooms. Not to mention the fact that, at any given point during the summer, it’s about 40 degrees cooler in the average office building than it is outside.
But it is possible to create a summer work wardrobe that’s comfortable yet professional, and cool yet collected. Here’s how.
1. No flip flops: Ladies, this faux-pas is typically committed by you, so listen up: “Flip flops are beach wear which transpired into ‘commuter-wear’ and then slowly into office wear,” says Lizandra Vega, author of “The Image of Success: Make a Great Impression and Land the Job You Want.”
Not only do they look unprofessional, but their namesake “flip-flop” noise is an easy way to drive your co-workers nuts every time you walk by their desks, so opt for strappy sandals, espadrilles or ballet flats instead.
2. Choose light colors: “Lighter color garments help you keep cool during hot summer months,” Vega says. “Dark colors absorb heat, while light colors reflect heat.” That said; make sure the color isn’t too light. See below.
3. No peep shows: Summer clothing is often made of lightweight, lightly colored fabric. This can make for a comfortable commute, but it can also make for awkward over exposure. “Avoid apparel in fabrics that are so lightweight that they are see-through,” Vega says.
4. Wear an undershirt: It may seem counter-intuitive to add an extra layer when it’s hot out, but (men especially), if you don’t already wear an undershirt, you might want to start now. The extra layer will help absorb sweat during a mid-summer commute.
“Wearing a cotton undershirt actually helps men feel cooler as it will absorb perspiration,” Vega says. “[Plus],if a lighter fabric shirt is chosen, the undershirt will prevent it from being see-through.”
5. For women, dresses are best: Women are at a serious advantage when it comes to dressing for summer at the office for one simple reason: They can wear dresses.
“Dresses are a great option because it avoids having to wear a jacket,” Vega says. “A wrap dress, a sheath or shift dress are appropriate options.”
If you will be forgoing the jacket, look for styles with short or three-quarter length sleeves, even sleeveless if you feel comfortable. Tank-style dresses are too casual for the office without a jacket or cardigan, though.
6. Keep an extra layer at work: Women can keep a wrap or lightweight, neutral-colored cardigan in their desks in case the air conditioning is kicked into overdrive. Men can do the same with a blazer or sweater.
What is your go-to outfit for summer? What’s the biggest faux-pas for office attire? Share your opinions in the comments section, below.