Almost all of my clients, both male and female, approach me about how they should dress for work. After we have developed their personal style together, it’s even more important to them that they remain stylish for work no matter the season. Unfortunately, this becomes complicated in the summer, because it’s so insanely hot outside and if they’re lucky enough to work in an air-conditioned space, they’re practically shivering inside!
Before I get into fun inspiration for your outfits, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Know your dress code: Knowing your dress code is a given, but it still needs to be said. You need to know what you are NOT permitted to wear to work. The last thing that you want is to go to work feeling uncomfortable with what you’re wearing, because you’re not sure if it’s actually allowed. If you spend the whole day worrying about your outfit, you won’t be productive, that’s just a fact.
- Be aware of your coworkers’ attire: I help a lot of my clients who work in fields that naturally have a wide range of acceptable work appearance. Some of their coworkers show up to work in jeans and t-shirts, while others wear a suit and tie. In that kind of environment, it leaves most people feeling confused and conflicted about what’s appropriate, and how they should fit in. Most of these answers can be found in your company’s handbook, or you can of course ask your supervisor. If you’re still confused about finding that appropriate middle ground for your dress code, I can help you with that too. (All of that being said, if you do receive concrete answers about dress code, and see coworkers not following it, leave it to their supervisor or HR director to handle it. It will only make for an uncomfortable and ugly situation if you decide to say something, and it is not your place to do so.)
- Consider summer styles and fabrics: Styles that are season specific usually have two major factors: fabric and cut. Cotton and linen are very breathable fabrics. Combine that with a top that is sleeveless, short sleeved, or has sleeves that can be rolled/cuffed, and you are prepared to survive the summer heat!
- Layers, layers, layers: If your workplace is a completely different temperature from whatever is going on outdoors, then you need to have layers available. Blazers are my top choice, especially since they come in a variety of fabrics – from linen to wool. You can keep a blazer or two in your office in case you get cold.
And now for the fun stuff – pictures and links! Gentlemen, I am actually going to start with you first!
I chose light and bright colors for the perfect summer outfit. You can even add a linen blazer to this outfit, if you needed an extra layer for work. If your job doesn’t require a tie, you could just leave that out! The belt provides a little more of a polished appearance, especially since you would wear the shirt tucked in. Planning on wearing this outfit outside? Cuff the sleeves up to your elbow, and show off your watch!
So, a brand that I really love for my male clients is Bonobos. Their clothes for work and casual settings are stylish and easy. Their colors and prints are perfect for anyone who is adventurous or more conservative with their fashion – just check out their chinos! They come in fun colors in addition to the staples – khaki, navy, and gray, and some of the styles are also available in moisture wicking fabric!
Now for the ladies!
Florals, stripes, and leopard are my FAVORITE way to mix prints. It’s bold, feminine, and strong all in one look. This outfit is bright and perfect for summer at the office. The classic button down with an “always in style” pencil skirt give off professional vibes, but you can add some personality by the details like the ruffle on the skirt and fun accessories. Just like I suggested for my male readers, you could throw on a cropped jacket or blazer over this to help with a colder temperature and cuff the sleeves to help transition back outside. Wearing a lightweight top and skirt will help you feeling cool outside!