To most people a day at the office, when it comes to fashion, means covering up to look professional. But when the warm weather hits and one would rather be in that polka-dot bikini at the beach, covering up for the office can be a challenge, especially when in fear of overheating. So here are a few tips to keep you looking your professional best while feeling your breeziest in that hot summer sun.
First, get a hold of some staple office hour garments that will allow you to mix and match outfits. “A white suit is great for the more daring to make a statement,” says Karen Richter, the showroom manager at H&M Canada. “A shirtdress or wrap dress are also staples in any working woman’s wardrobe.” For the women who don’t want to be too bold, there are plenty of stylish summer alternatives. “Sheer dress shirts can easily be worn by themselves with a camisole or under a blazer,” says Laura Pop, an associate at the Bay.
Second, breathable fabrics are one of the most important things to consider when dressing professional in the summer. The right fabric allows to cover up the appropriate amount of skin, leaving one with a clean and presentable look. “Cotton, silk and linen are light and comfortable to wear in the summer so a suit, dress or separates in these fabrics would be most ideal for helping to stay cool, yet still look professional,” says Richter.
Those unable to recognize whether their outfit is okay for work, could do a little self-check before walking out the door. “If it’s uncomfortably tight or showing too much skin it’s probably not a good look for the office,” says Richter. Just above or just under the knee is the general rule for business skirts. “Business attire is usually tailored nicely to the body and enough skin is covered that no one will feel the need to gossip about what you’re wearing at the water cooler,” says Pop. “If you’re not sure if what you’re wearing is office-appropriate, the blazer as a cover-up is always a good way to go.”
Summer business attire is basically anything worn during cooler seasons, but in a lighter fabric. Remember light colours and fabrics will allow you to survive the summer heat. Linen pants and a sheer blouse would be an ideal office outfit. If you’re bored with what you’re wearing at the office, don’t hesitate to accessorize. Necklaces, bracelets, rings and chiffon or silk scarves are definitely some summer business women must haves. So this summer, stay cool and be classy.
Written by Meghan Foley. Originally published May 2012. Updated July 2017.