Over the years, we’ve had a lot of discussions about what to wear to work in the summer and still look polished, so I thought I’d pull some posts together for one handy dandy post. Readers, what are your biggest challenges for dressing for the office in summer? What are your favorite products or hacks to make summer office clothes more comfortable?
Workwear Hall of Fame: Favorite Products to Wear to Work in the Summer
- Jockey slipshorts to wear beneath dresses and skirts – more useful than slips, more comfortable than Spanx, but still slightly slimming — similarly, readers swear by demi camisoles if you want to raise the neckline without adding a ton of fabric
- Lands’ End ponte dresses – washable and mostly with pockets, with tons of sizes in regular, petite, plus, and tall sizes
- People really seem to love these lightweight drapey pants or these drapey pants.
- Readers love this $17 sleeveless shell for work (know your office before going sleeveless though!)
- This nylon tote is great for summer because it’s super lightweight but big enough to stash a cardigan and another pair of shoes
- If you’re a fan of commuting in flip flops, we’ve discussed people’s favorites — you also may want to get a foldable flat in place of your flip flops.
- I still love my spin pins for office updos — you can also check out our more complete roundup of easy office updos and our last discussion where everyone shared their summer hair secrets.
- Also check out our roundups of:
- If you’re looking for clothes that are machine washable, check out our roundups of washable pants for work, note the several brands offering washable suits we included in our big women’s suit roundup of 2018, and check out our blog for working moms, where we regularly feature machine-washable workwear.
Dressing for Work in the Summer: Our Best Advice
- How to deal if you have to wear pantyhose in summer
- Whether white pants are appropriate for work — and why I’ve always preferred very light gray pants instead
- How to stay warm (and polished) in a freezing office — particularly note that an office pashmina can be great for draping over your lap if your skirt is shorter than you thought it might be or to let you sit more comfortably
- How to stay cool on your commute (hooray for 105-degree subway platforms!)
- How to dress for a heat wave (a reader’s office dresscode was “comfortable casual” in light of record temperatures, and she wondered what the heck that meant)
- Dresses can be really versatile for the office — we discussed ways to layer non-matching blazers and cardigans on top of dresses, as well as how to know when you can get away with a dress and blazer instead of a suit
- Why is summer always the time of blisters? Here are our tips on summer foot care, including if you’ve walked too much and you need to make your sore feet feel better
- We’ve discussed summer makeup: what to change and how to arrive at work without melted makeup
What Not to Wear to a Conservative Office in the Summer
We’ve talked a lot about what not to wear as a summer associate, and what items should not be considered summer work clothes… for all of the below items, make sure you know your office before you wear them — ideally by seeing a midlevel wear them before you do.
- sleeveless looks
- maxi dresses
- Sandals of any kind (shoes that expose at least three toes per foot)
- Shorts (and yes, despite our April Fool’s shorts suit roundup a year ago, we do include short suits on the list of NO)
- Completely wrinkled clothes (linen has its own challenges, but it shouldn’t look like you balled it up, packed it in a suitcase, and then decided to wear it)
- Short skirts — there is a spectrum here, but for business it really should be as close to your knee as possible!
- Spaghetti-strap tank or other top that makes no effort to hide bra straps (or worse, requires you to wear a strapless bra)
- Off-season items such as heavy tweed, boucle knits, tights, boots, thick wool trousers (but note that summer tweed is OK, as is seasonless, tropical wool)
- Cleavage of any kind. If at any point you look down during the day and see your bra, you need a camisole. (You may want to check out some of the newer demi camisoles if the idea of another layer makes you swelter).
Readers, what are your best tips on what to wear to work in the summer? Do you prefer dresses, skirts, or lightweight pants in the summer? If you need a layering piece, are you on team cardigan or team blazer? Do you have any hacks to help with sweltering commutes, freezing offices, melting makeup, or other summer issues?
Stock photo via Deposit Photos / deagreez1.