Style File: How to Make Your Office Attire Summer Friendly



Let’s get real for a second; office attire can get hot and stuffy, especially in North Carolina when it’s 90 degrees in the summer. The last thing you want when at work is to be distracted by the hot temperature. I’m sharing my tips on how to dress “cool” in an office environment (pun intended).

Layers can be your friend.

Here’s the good news about layers – you can take something off. Try pairing a lightweight shirt with a linen or summer tweed blazer. If you get hot, you can take off your outer layer, but the key is to make sure your bottom layer is office appropriate and can be worn alone. Also, even if it’s super hot outside, many office environments are air conditioned and can be pretty chilly. You’ll want those layers for cold meetings and conference calls.

Think about open toed shoes.

If your work environment does not strictly require business attire, and open toed shoes are appropriate, summer is the time to bring out the open toed shoes. Warning: you have to be careful when purchasing open toed shoes for work because they can quickly look too casual and sloppy. Do not wear sandals that can be worn at the beach. Instead, choose a more structured open toed option, such as a peep-toed pump or mule.

Give your ankles some love with cropped pants.

Cropped pants are all the rage for 2017, and they are here to stay! Exposing your ankles can keep you cool and when worn with the right shoes, can elongate your legs. Choose pants that are tailored and professional instead of loose-fitting capris. Cropped pants are another perfect seasonal-transition item and will give your outfits a fresh new look for the coming months.

Go classic with all-white or monotone.

Personally, I enjoy wearing all black but usually keep that to the fall and winter months because I feel it’s more seasonal for the colder months. I know you’re probably thinking, “There is no way I will wear all one color, Madison, unless it’s black.” I’m asking for you to trust me and try all white or monotone. When I say all-white, this can mean a pair of soft ivory linen trousers and a stark white cashmere sweater shell. The general rule when wearing all one color is to have varying textures to create interest and flow. Add an extra pop of color in your accessories. Going all white or in softer colors (as opposed to black), instantly says summertime!

Go bright and be bold.

With the warmer temperatures, summertime is a great time to bring out the brighter colors. I like to pair soft neutrals with bright pops of colors. You could be bold and rock a pair of hot pink capri pants and pair that with an ivory blouse, or keep it simpler by adding the pop of color into your outfit with a bright turquoise necklace.

Go with light weight fabrics.

Obviously, July is not the time for you to be wearing your wool suit. Keep your heavier weight fabrics for the late fall and winter months. Choose cotton, linens, lighter tweeds, khakis and poplins to keep you cool and looking fresh during the summer.

Don’t underdress.

I know it’s tempting to dress as comfortable as possible in the summer heat, but don’t use the heat as an excuse to underdress for work. Avoid spaghetti straps, strapless or thin summer dresses that can be too casual for work. Choose sleeveless dresses, short sleeves and dresses or skirts that go to the knee or just above the knee.

Here’s your general rule of thumb for summer fashion in the office: keep it classy and cool with your fabric choices and choose brighter colors to add personality!