Summer Office Wear

Written by on June 20, 2012 in Career - No comments | Print this page



Summer Office Wear

Her short sleeve button down is perfect for the office.

Now that it’s summer, clothing is getting more casual and it’s getting smaller. While it’s more comfortable to shed your winter wear, it’s important to remember to do this in a way that won’t harm your career.

If you work in a place with a business casual or casual dress code, it’s easy to adapt your wardrobe to winter. Unfortunately, those who work in a formal business environment don’t have a lot of choices beyond choosing a slightly lighter suit fabric.


The first thing to think about is your top. In the summer, your sleeves can get shorter. Just don’t make the mistake of wearing a tank top or a sleeveless top alone.

For men, polos and short sleeve button downs are good options. Remember though, it is never a good idea to wear a short sleeve shirt with a tie. It makes you look like a used car salesman.

For women, a silk t-shirt or light, short sleeve cashmere sweater are nice choices. Like the men, women can also wear polos and short sleeve button downs.

Another option for women would be a layered look. You can wear a tank top or a sleeveless top with a light cardigan. Depending on your office’s air conditioning, you can wear a short sleeve cardigan or opt for a longer sleeve version. Either way, it is a look that is professional but, adapted to the warmer weather.


For bottoms, there are few options for men. Basically, just look for khakis or dress pants in a light weight fabric. If your office allows jeans, light weight jeans are another option. Just make just that they are in good condition, with no holes, rips, or fading. Also, a darker rinse always looks a little more formal. These are really the only options available for me. Few work places are casual enough for anything else.

Women have more options. Like men, women can wear khakis or dress pants in a light weight fabric. Women can also wear darker jeans without holes, rips or, fading.

In addition to long pants, there are also capris. Capris are a great warm weather option because they are cooler than pants but, dressier than shorts. Despite what fashion magazines may say, few people can pull off shorts at the office. It’s really not an option for most of us.

After pants and capris, there are skirts and dresses. They are also a great option when it’s really hot outside. They are as cool and comfortable as shorts but, more acceptable at work. When wearing skirts and dresses, make sure they aren’t too short. Pretend you’re 16 years old again and your father is scrutinizing your outfit. If he wouldn’t approve,it’s probably too short for the office.


For shoes, men are once again at a disadvantage. It’s never really appropriate for men to wear sandals to the office. So, they are stuck with shoes with more coverage, like loafers. Whatever you choose, make sure you wear socks because, otherwise, you may end up as the office smelly kid. As I mentioned in a previous post, no one likes the smelly kid.

 Women have a lot more choice when it comes to footwear. There are wedges, espadrilles, flats, sandals, etc. Whatever you wear, make sure it has a back, covers at least half of your foot and, doesn’t look too beachy.

The key to adapting your work wardrobe to summer is to make sure you still look professional. You never want to be mistaken for someone on their day off. Plus, you never knew when a client may drop in and you don’t want to be stuck apologizing for your outfit. Keep this in mind and you’ll have a more successful summer.

 What rules do you follow for a professional summer wardrobe?

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About the Author

Jen Small

Jen is a writer who is originally from South Florida. A former recruiter for a Fortune 500 company, she has also worked in several different industries - real estate, insurance, construction, and education. Jen has now taken this experience to help others as a resume writer and designer. She currently lives and works in South Korea. View all posts with career advice.