Dressing for work in the summer gives me a fashion headache! What’s the perfect way to keep cool during your steamy commute, yet comfortable in an air-conditioned office? Thankfully, Marissa Rubin, Senior Fashion Market Editor of PEOPLE StyleWatch, has all the answers!
Which work-appropriate fabrics will help keep you cool? The best fabrics to wear to work in the summer are cottons, jersey blends, and lightweight wool. J. Crew makes a great breathable year-round wool collection called the Super 120s. This a perfect summer suiting option for more conservative offices. Linen is another lightweight fabric—but can be sheer and wrinkle, so look for linen blends. To be safe, always wear linen with nude shapewear underneath.
How do you build an outfit that factors in both indoor and outdoor temperatures? Dressing for work in the summer is all about layering. If you live in dresses and sandals all summer, bring a lightweight jacket, blazer, or cardigan with you to the office. These pieces will help you make the perfect transition from hot to cold. Summer-weight scarves are another option - you can use them as a shoulder wrap if the office is chilly. Scarves are also a great way to add a pop of bright color or fun pattern to your look.
Echo Python Silk Scarf, $58
Which layering pieces do you recommend? Cropped jackets and blazers, and even tweed jackets, can add a level of chic sophistication to any dress, skirt, or pant look. A draped cardigan that hangs open without any buttons can serve the same purpose. These sweaters are simple and easy, and you can always add a belt to truly define your waist. Always be conscious that your layering pieces don’t add any additional weight or bulk to your body, or you’ll never wear them!
Akira Collarless Blazer, $49.90
Express Mesh Cocoon Cover-Up, $49.90
Which shoes are best for the summer workweek? Dressy sandals in flats, wedges, and heels are great for the office. Low wedges are a smart choice because they give both height and comfort. If you work in a conservative environment that doesn’t allow exposed toes, look for sandals and pumps with subtle peep toes so your feet can breathe in the summer heat. Brighten up your look by wearing light or patterned pumps. Nude heels will elongate your legs, or you could try a bright hue to add a pop of color. A flirty floral, animal print, or stripe can add pattern to a solid ensemble.
Steve Madden Methodd, $69.98
Kate Spade Simon, $298
Are shorts appropriate? If so, which styles are the best? Wearing shorts to the office can be very difficult to successfully pull off. It takes a certain body type, a certain short, and most importantly, a certain office environment to do so. If you can wear shorts to the office, they should have at least a 4-inch inseam and they should never be fitted or tight. I think solid shorts are the most professional in either pleated or flat-front styles. Look for silk or cotton fabrics in a crisp wash. Steer clear of patterned or denim shorts – these styles tend to be too casual and playful for an office setting. The most sophisticated way to wear shorts to the office is definitely the shorts suit – match shorts and a jacket, then pair with a button-down or silk shell. Check out brands like Theory and Vince!
MARC by Marc Jacobs Shorts in Herman Twill, $136
Any summer accessories we should try? Accessorizing in the summer is all about fun jewelry! There are so many great summer necklaces and bracelets that can totally transform an otherwise simple office look into something fabulous. If you love basic office clothes, then take a risk with your jewelry. J.Crew and Ann Taylor offer some eye-catching options!
Ann Taylor Oasis Cabochon Necklace, $69.99
More from GalTime.com:
- Find the Best Earrings for Your Face Shape
- 10 Must-Have Summer Accessories
- 5 Dresses EVERY Gal Should Own
- What to Wear to a Summer Wedding
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Originally from Virginia, Marissa Rubin came to NYC with the goal of landing a career in fashion. Since then she has held fashion editorial positions at Us Weekly, Mademoiselle, Marie Claire, Teen People, and more. For the past 6+ years, she has called People StyleWatch her home and spends her days meticulously scouring the clothing market from designer showrooms to fashion shows and retail boutiques. She's always on the hunt to find the latest and greatest fashion to feature in the magazine each month. In a perfect world, her NYC apartment would be a bottomless closet. Rubin is a graduate of NYU and currently resides in Manhattan.