Summer Work Wardrobe: Keeping Cool and Professional

Posted by Lisa Odierno

July 11, 2012 @ 04:34 PM

Dressing for work in the summer can be tricky with temperamental weather both inside and outside of the office. Will the heat index rise above 90 degrees? Is the AC working? Here are a few ideas for what to wear and what not to wear when the temperature is rising but you still have to look cool and professional in the workplace.whatdoesntwork resized 600

Foot flare: Women should stick to modest heels in classic shapes such as pointy toe or wedges that are easy to walk in. Peep toe shoes are acceptable as long as your feet are clean and manicured. Wear a comfortable pair of flats on the way to the office, but remember to put your heels on before entering the building. Men should stay away from sandals, flip flops and loafers without socks.

How short is too short? Make sure that your skirt length is at least as long as your fingers when your arms are stretched down your side. Keep your fingers flat – no cheating! The length can be adjusted depending on your work environment.

No tank or halter tops: Employers typically recommend against wearing tank tops around the office, depending on the work environment. Halter tops are off limits. Spring fabrics such as linens or cotton blends are a good alternative. If you decide to wear a sleeveless shirt, remember to bring along a blazer or lightweight cardigan to cover your arms.

Feeling the transit heat: You will quickly feel the effects of the summer heat whether mass transit, driving or walking is your preferred form of transportation to and from work. Remove one article of clothing on your way to the office to prevent excessive perspiration or overheating. Remember to put your jacket or cardigan back on before arriving to maintain a professional appearance.

Quick cool down: Leave yourself enough time for a 5-minute cool down before sitting at your desk or walking into an early morning meeting. Splash cold water on your face, fix your makeup, brush your hair and adjust your clothing.

Tip for the ladies: Carry a medium sized canvas bag or tote for your heels on the way to the office, makeup and a climate control hair product to tame those locks.

As a general rule, Angela Romano Kuo, Vice President of Human Resources here at TheLadders.com and our very own fashion guru, says “You never want to wear something that can be distracting, so if you have to think twice about it—skip it.” If you still find yourself thinking twice about your outfit for the day, consult our list above. Remember that not all wardrobe choices "work" for work, before you head to the office.