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  • Carly Hartman

A Guide to Dressing Up for Work in the Summer

After months of chilly weather, summer is finally here. But while we'd love to be perpetually clad in a swimsuit at the beach, unfortunately we don’t get to go on vacation all the time. With the heat, you still want to stay cool instead of being stuck in tight-fitting corporate blazers and wool trousers. The challenge lies in maintaining a professional look nonetheless.

Before you break a sweat, here’s a quick guide on how to dress up for work during the hottest days of the year without compromising your style.

Opt for light and breathable fabrics

Obviously, you need to stay away from wool and leather for now (sorry, your Cruella de Vil fantasy will have to wait). Instead, choose the most comfortable and lightweight fabrics as these will be an integral part of your outfits for the coming weeks and months. Style Craze's list of the best breathable fabrics notes how cotton is perfect for high temperatures. Fortunately, there's no shortage of cotton tops and bottoms ideal for work, being stocked in retail stores. You can also opt for linen, rayon, chambray, and viscose fabrics for your work attire. Just make sure to get them in lighter colors, like cream and khaki to help regulate the heat.

Elevate your summer dresses

Are you a big fan of breezy summer dresses? If so, there's no reason you can't wear them to the office. The summer dresses showcased on Good Housekeeping Magazine are not only fitting for the season, they're work-appropriate, too. You can style up a shirt dress, a shift dress, a wrap dress, a midi dress, a desk-to-dinner dress, and even a long-sleeved dress in light fabrics. Top it off with a chic handbag and some stylish stilettos and you’ll be good to go. Always remember to avoid wearing dresses that are too revealing if your workplace has strict dress code policies.

Keep extra layers on hand

Just because it’s scorching hot outside doesn’t mean it will be inside, especially if there’s sufficient air conditioning. What’s a gal to do? Layer, of course!

You can still wear your summer-appropriate outfit using clothes that you can easily take on and off. Having a cardigan, blazer, or jacket on hand may come in handy. The twill jacket featured on Woman Within is the perfect transitional companion for balmy days as it is made from lightweight materials. You can throw on your extra layer when attending a meeting and simply store it away when you have to go outside.

Sneak in casual pieces

Unless there’s a formal event or a very stringent dress code, you don’t have to wear full on power suits to work. Be creative and work in a few casual pieces into your ensemble. Case in point: a simple white tee from Three Dots that can be worn and layered in different ways. Pair it with a stylish skirt, keep it underneath a crisp suit, or with a trench-style dress and jeans.


Because your outfit may be pretty straightforward with very few layers, a simple way to elevate your whole look is to accessorize! Fashionable frames such as the ones from Sunglass.LA are perfect additions to your summer outfit. You can also strap on your favorite heels, put on a statement necklace, or a pair of gorgeous earrings so that you don’t look too bare.

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