Which are the best stores for summer workwear? Everyone has their own list, it seems, but today’s comes from the online shopping experts at SHEfinds, a blog I’ve been reading since before I started Corporette. Welcome! – Kat.
Whether you live in the city or the country, drive to work or commute, every woman knows the perils of dressing for work during summer. It’s hot when you’re outside, cold in the car or on the train, hot on your walk to the office, and then cool again in your office. How the heck are you supposed to dress for this?
One word: layers. Yes, it may seem like a bother to carry something extra when it’s 80+ degrees out, but not only will a good blazer, cardigan, or jacket keep you warm in A.C., but it will also pull together a professional outfit like nobody’s business.
So as we embark on sweltering summer months, we rounded up seven stores every woman should hit up for workwear to survive the season. Whether you’re looking for business attire or something more casual, these spots won’t fail you. (Pictured: Notch Neck Shift, $67-$134 at Boden, marked down from $168.)
- MANGO. This probably isn’t one of your usual go-tos, but it should be. Not only are MANGO’s clothes well-made, but they’re also pretty affordable. We love their tailored trousers and slightly edgy jackets and blazers, but they also make lots of pretty flats that are a comfy alternative if sandals are a no-no in your office.
- H&M. No, H&M doesn’t just make club clothes. They have a whole office wear section that will blow your mind. Be sure to check out the business casual dresses and skirts, which will look great with lightweight sweaters during summer.
- Zara. Don’t miss out on Zara’s amazing new collection of lightweight (and light colored!) spring/summer trousers. If your office dress code is a little more lenient, we also recommend investing in one of their gorgeous printed short sets.
- Boden. The Brits do many things well, and classic, conservative yet fashionable dressing is definitely one of them. Boden is one of our favorite places to score timeless dresses that aren’t too short, but they also have loads of classic cardis that will work season to season.
- Kohl’s. Don’t sleep on Kohl’s! We love the Dana Buchman collection for work shirts and classic blazers and there’s pretty much always a sale and/or coupon code.
- J. Crew. This should go without saying. Obviously, J. Crew’s suiting collection is great, but their dresses are also a modest length and unbeatable quality.
- ASOS. If you’ve got time, dig through ASOS’ massive selection. There’s a lot that’s not work-appropriate, but there are also loads of blazers and trousers that will mean you aren’t wearing the same thing as every other woman in the office.
For more shopping advice, visit SHEfinds.com.
Readers, what is YOUR list of the best shops for summer workwear? How has the list changed for you over the years?
These are the same places I shop at in the fall, winter, and spring.
Yes, I’m not sure how these stores would be particularly appropriate for summer clothing.
I clicked on the “printed short sets” link, and it was even more gloriously horrible than I’d imagined. Formal shorts: just say no.
OMG. This is not ok
Never thought I’d see the day that a shorts suit was recommended on this s!te.
Those clicks generate income. It doesn’t matter if the choices are relevant or not.
For the love of God.
NO shorts for work
Agreed. Thought Kat had pretty much stated that as a r e t t e rule!
I could not disagree more that J. Crew’s quality is “unbeatable.”
And the dresses end up about 4-6″ above the knee for me after the inevitable shrinkage from the first dry cleaning because the fabric wasn’t properly preshrunk during manufacturing.
I was coming here to say exactly this.
Also, shorts in an office? Especially printed shorts?
this… is not a super helpful post. hey, here’s a list of commonly known stores that you might want to root around in! Links to actual examples of appropriate lightweight layers would have been more useful.
I’ll throw one in – Vineyard Vines, if you’re preppy-inclined. I’m a fan of their button front shirts (in gingham or other simple patterns like this one http://www.vineyardvines.com/women-shirts/mearwater-stripe-poplin-popover/2W0392,default,pd.html?dwvar_2W0392_color=961&start=10&cgid=Womens-Shirts-Tunics) with ankle length pants on Fridays. It feels like the female equivalent of polo + khakis but vastly more flattering.
I always have such a hard time with “female equivalent of polo and khakis” but I think you may have hit on it!
Mine is always a relaxed summer dress, sometimes with a cardigan.
Totally ditto the vineyard vines recommendation. Some of their dresses are fair game even – the derby collection dress in blue and pink from this last year was long enough on me to meet my company’s (and my) standards.
I also though sometimes put together nearly identical outfits to my husband, so polo + khakis is a total staple in my wardrobe. But, I work in IT and its not abnormal for women to be in slacks and polos.
I agree 100% with Kat that the key in the Summer to keeping cool (and warm inside) is LAYER’s. I can NOT tell you how many times I came in sweateing from walking about town, even just 3 block’s over to Macy’s, and the office was either VERY hot or VERY cold. We have a terrible HVAC system that the manageing partner promised would be better at our new place. So I would be all sweatey and smelley and the AC was to strong, so I freezed until I learned to keep an extra blazer on the coat rack. I did this for 2 year’s and now there is NO AC in the summer so I just keep schvitzing when I come in.
The opposite is true in the winter. We would like it to be warm, but often the HVAC is broken so it just blow’s cool air. That is when the blazer come’s in handy. Fortunately, the courthouse has upgraded their HVAC and it acualy is beareable.
Speakeing of HEAT, I am laugheing b/c Lynn is stareing at me after I told Mason to stop nuzzeleing her at work. I told him being like a dog sniffeing another female is NOT good b/c I have a cleint comeing in to go over cases and the last thing I want to show are 2 peeople in heat nuzzeling each other. Mason got the 100% brush off from Myrna so he has been taken down a few notches. I guess he know’s Lynn is a sure thing that he does NOT want to loose, as I do NOT see any other women vying for any part of him. FOOEY!
Like I would even be interested in that? Lynn should NOT worry that I will seduce Mason. He is as immature as Harold, even if he Does have a JD degree. Lynn should know that just haveing a JD degree does NOT make a man sexy to me. Otherwise I would have found plenty of guy’s in law school to MARRY me. I onley hope that now that I am OLDER, some man will want to do more then just sleep with me. I am NOT goeing to go out with Butch b/c he, after all the talk, just want’s me to come to the Hamton’s and have me take all of my clothe’s off when I go swimming in his pool. That, I know, would sureley lead to sex I do NOT want with him. DOUBEL FOOEY!
H&M office wear is awful if it is even slightly warm. It’s all the same polyester-ish material – I used to have a shirt from there and while I am not a sweaty person, half the time I wore it I’d get sweat marks at my armpits.
I think it depends. I just bought this dress in both colors and wore it in NYC’s super humid weather yesterday with minimum issues beyond what is already to be expected in gross weather. And unlike my other standard sticky weather go-to’s, I can throw these in the wash if they get sweaty, which is a big plus. Obviously a polyester shirt with sleeves might be a different story, but H&M does have some good options once in a while.
BTW, speaking of H&M finds – I bought a lovely navy with black trim cardigan there in a pointelle knit recently too and can’t recommend it enough. It was around $29 which is on the higher end for their cardigans but well worth it. I have the beige with black trim one from last year and it’s held up very well. Perfect summer sweater. They have it available in both colors now, but alas I can’t find it on their site.
I have a few blazers that I love from there (gray and blush colors), but I can’t speak to issues with sweating since I can just slip them off when warm.
Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie
I have been loving Ann Taylor’s suiting selection lately!
me too! I just bought a tan suit for 40% off a few days ago. I’m excited because Ann Taylor is one of the few stores that I can wear their pants because I have a curvy bottom. And they even have talls.
I like Boden for all season wear (not just summer). One thing to point out – I tried on this dress that is featured in the post and as expected, it made me look pregnant. The waist sits too high.
A Nonny Moose
I tried it and loved it. I wanted to keep it but it was a little dressier than I was hoping it would be. I thought it was very flattering, but maybe I’m high waisted.
Maybe that’s why the Boden cuts work well for me. I realize I don’t actually know what high-waisted vs short-waisted actually means. Hm.
Boden likes to do the high waists. I run into that issue with them a lot. They also have smaller chest-hip ratios in their clothes, so if you are more straight up and down or hourglass or broad shouldered, you may need to get the waist/hip area taken in.
Did I stumble onto the wrong site? So many things in this post (shorts suits, J.Crew’s “unbeatable” quality) seem to oppose Kat’s viewpoints.
Not on this list but IMHO good for summer (and winter) is Land’s End, with it’s great selection of wrinkle-free shirts, dresses, and a pretty decent ponte pencil skirt (sizes run large), usually with free shipping. Frequent sales.