Professional Dress for Hot Weather

Ah summer.  It brings so many delightful things: time outdoors, longer days, and fun in the water. 

However, it can be a nightmare when it is time to dress for your job.  Unfortunately, many professional garments were not designed with summer heat in mind.  As offices are becoming more casual this problem is not as universal as it once was but if you still must subscribe to the traditional office dress what can you do?  Here are some tips and inspiration for staying upscale yet cool.

Tip 1: Choose fabrics wisely

Linen, cotton, and lightweight jersey are your best friends in the summer.  They breath well yet when used properly appear upscale.  These three have synthetic cousins that also work well. 

Avoid silk, wool, and polyester as much as possible as they trap heat.

Tip 2: Create flow

Choose items that do not sit tight to the skin thus trapping heat.  Look for item that have a natural flow or sit slightly oversized.  This allows air to move freely through the item and keep your body cool.  It will also cut down on sweating which will preserves your look and the clothing item itself.

Keeping these two tips in mind here are some fashions you should be utilizing in your summer work wardrobe.

Rompers and Pants Suits

My personal professional summer item go-to is the one piece.  Romper shorts and long flowy pant suits are a great way to appear elevated but stay comfortable. 

Another great feature is they make dressing easy.  Since the entire item is one slip-on piece there is no need for spending minutes to hours trying to find two or three pieces that style together well.  The style is built right in.  Simply throw on a couple delicate jewelry accessories to dress it up and run out the door.

Afraid the romper will be too short?  If you know you will be in an air-conditioned office all day opt for pairing light hose or tights under them.  If this is not an option, look for rompers that come in longer Bermuda-short styles.  Capri pant styles are also available.

Kimonos and Short-sleeved Blazers

The problem with a lot of summer tops is that they tend to be spaghetti strapped.  This can be problematic in offices where showing a lot of skin is not an option.  It is also not air-conditioner friendly.  Many professionals rely on long-sleeved blazers throughout the fall and winter, but did you know that they also come in quarter length and short-sleeved versions?  Investing in summer versions of this office staple can be a lifesaver.  They also have the added bonus of elevating your favorite pair of cut-off shorts and t-shirts on your day off.

If your office allows for boho flair opt for a kimono.  These flowy outer wear pieces are ideal for many summer arenas.  They are most associated with the resort pool; however, in recent years designers have caught on to their universal appeal and delivered versions that lean more corporate than vacay.  Look for kimonos in solid colors or patterns more office palatable like geometric shapes over florals or paisleys.

Elevate the Maxi Dress

Like the Kimono, the Maxi Dress has been a resort-wear favorite for decades.  It is one of the most valuable items for appearing dressed up while still cool.  However, making it full on “professional” takes some modifications.

If the pattern is not too beachy or boho simply adding a belt and upscale jewelry can do the trick.

Like with spaghetti straps, adding a blazer or kimono over the maxi dress will make it office-ready and keep you comfortable in changing climates.

Another trick is to add a summer appropriate top or sweater over the dress covering the top but leaving the bottom portion showing.  This will give the illusion that you are wearing a skirt and top combo.  Try this trick carefully.  Adding flowy over flowy can add unnecessary bulk to certain body types.  Make sure the combo stays flattering.  Knowing your body type and how to dress it are very important here. 

If you do not know your body type check out my previous posts Determining Your Body Type and How Do You Dress Your Body Type?

Want individual help?

I hope this has given you some relief when it comes to planning your summer work wardrobe.  I will be sharing more tips for my community in the next issue of my email letter the Styled Life Guide.  If you are not a part of the community you can subscribe at the bottom of my home page here

As always follow Alexander Personal Image Styling on Instagram @alexanderpersonalimagestyling for more tips and tricks on your personal brand journey.  If you would like more subjective help I would love to connect.  Schedule a free one on one consultation with me.