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How To Keep Your Office Outfits Professional In The Summer

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

The hot summer months may pose a problem even if you’ve got your work outfits neatly planned out for most of the year. How do you stay professional while avoiding overheating? As the temperatures rise outside, you may need to adjust your office outfits to a summer business casual style. Thankfully, this switch isn’t as complicated as it may sound. Here are a few tips for keeping your work outfits professional even when the temperatures are sweltering.

What To Wear to Work in the Summer

You may associate professional work outfits with heavy slacks or pantsuit combos, long, tailored dresses, or thick blazers in the cooler months. In the summertime, however, the typical work outfits go out the window since wearing heavy clothes would not only be uncomfortable in the heat but could even raise your risk of heat stroke. That’s why it’s essential to strike the right balance between keeping cool and looking put together.

You don’t need to give up your entire professional wardrobe for the summer – simply adding several key pieces could give you options for staying cool. For instance, it may be a good idea to invest in:

  • A lightweight professional dress

  • Loose-fitting slacks

  • A breathable blouse

  • White or beige pumps

  • Seasonal colors, such as pastels

  • White jeans and blouses for casual days

If these options sound a little bland for your tastes, remember that you can always dress up a simple base with the right accessories. For example, pair a white, flowy cotton blouse with a colorful necklace and some slacks to make your outfit pop. Alternatively, forgo jewelry altogether and let a bright purse or pair of work heels do the talking. Whatever accessories you choose, remember that the essential part is to pick an outfit base that allows you to remain comfortable in high temperatures.

Tips for Work Outfits When It’s Hot Out

Even if you have the time, energy, and budget to do a total refresh of your work wardrobe for the summer, you may be wondering how you can combine professionalism with comfort in sweltering temperatures. It may take a little trial and error to find cute professional outfits that work well for your summertime needs, but a few rules of thumb could cut down on the time investment needed. For example, it’s usually helpful to:

  • Opt for breathable materials, such as cotton, silk, linen, nylon, and polyester

  • Layer outfits so you won’t feel cold in air-conditioned buildings

  • Choose light colors for your outfits whenever possible

  • Pick flowy work dresses or loose-fitting blouses and pants to avoid uncomfortable sweat and irritation

  • Choose outfit pieces that come pre-treated with a UV screen to protect your skin from the sun’s rays

If you don’t have the budget to purchase new summertime pieces for your professional wardrobe, you can adjust your current outfits to make them work for hot weather. For instance, try to identify outfit pieces that are more lightweight and that you would usually wear as part of a layered outfit in the colder months but that could work well on their own in the summertime.

Why Staying Professional Is Important

After working to find summer professional outfits that won’t break the bank, you may be tempted to give in and wear casual clothes to the office when it’s hot out. However, there are several benefits to remaining professional and putting extra effort into how you dress in the summer months. Dressing professionally:

  • Projects a confident, put-together, and professional image that can bolster your reputation and your credibility in the workplace

  • Leaves a lasting first impression on your bosses and work colleagues

  • Demonstrates your commitment to the job and shows that you take your work seriously

  • It helps you fit into certain corporate cultures and allows you to present yourself as a team player

  • It allows you to showcase your personality every day through your outfits

  • Allows you to comply with your company’s office dress rules, if applicable

Instead of giving in to the urge to switch to T-shirts and shorts when going into the office in the summer, it’s worth it to put together lightweight professional outfits. This extra effort could well pay off in terms of professional benefits in the future.

When outside temperatures are rising, it can be challenging to strike the right balance between comfort and professionalism when it comes to your work clothes. However, keeping your office outfits professional year-round is the key to projecting a confident, clean-cut, professional image at your place of work. Fortunately, there are several ways to put together appropriate outfits that won’t cause you to go into heat stroke. If you’re stuck on what to wear to the office during the summer months, keep these top tips and potential outfits handy, so you can project confidence and professionalism while staying cool and comfortable all summer long!


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