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What to wear on a summer commute

Staying cool and comfy can be a breeze with a few stylish summer staples.

Best clothes for a summer commute

Now that you’re headed to the office in warm weather, you’re probably wondering what you should wear to stay cool and comfortable on the commute. And of course, you’ll want something stylish yet professional — which means your summer work wardrobe needs to tick a lot of boxes.

Whether you’re building a capsule summer work wardrobe or you want to spruce up your seasonal staples, there are plenty of commuter-friendly options. From lightweight blazers to sophisticated flats, the sky’s the limit. 

Shop this article: Calvin Klein Textured Roll-Tab Button-Down ShirtAlfani Tummy-Control Skinny Pants in Blue Geo Jacquard and Simply Vera Vera Wang Ruffle-Neck Tank

What to know about clothes for your summer commute

Summer-commute layering

When it comes to commuting, it’s easy to find yourself feeling overheated or too cool  — during the same trip. Layering is an easy way to make sure you’re always comfortable, no matter the temperature or weather. 

  • Cardigans: Lightweight cardigans, including relaxed duster styles, can be tied around the waist or packed away in a backpack or work tote when they’re not needed.
  • Base layers: Tank tops and camisoles are thin base layers that add comfortable warmth beneath dress shirts or blouses.
  • Shell pieces: Structured lightweight jackets and blazers can tie your look together, especially when you wear short or cropped tops. Rain jackets are also worth adding to a summer work wardrobe, particularly hooded styles. 

Summer-commute comfort level

When you build your summer work wardrobe, choose styles that are comfortable during every leg of your journey.

  • Stretch pants naturally flex with your body, including when you sit or bend.
  • Breathable materials, such as cotton, keep you cool in stuffy trains and buses.
  • Flowy staples, including dress blouses and wide-leg pants, boost airflow around your body.
  • Button-up sleeves can be worn rolled up or down, depending on how cool or warm you’d like to be. 

How to accessorize summer work clothes 

Minimalism works well for accessorizing summer work styles. Lightweight accessories, including huggie earrings and thin chain necklaces, are simple yet elegant — but they’re not your only jewelry options. Some people prefer simple outfits and give them pizzazz with statement necklaces, earrings or bracelets. 

Besides jewelry, you can also wear a hat on your summer commute. Not only does it top off your look, it also functions as sun protection by shading your face and neck. Panama and fedora hats are both polished styles that complement summer work outfits, ranging from casual to business-casual looks.

Summer footwear for work

Between walking and standing, you spend a fair amount of time on your feet during a summer commute. Although high heels add a wow factor to outfits, they’re far from practical for commuting. Instead, low-heeled slingback pumps, dress sandals and loafers are comfortable choices that don’t compromise on style.

If your office has a casual dress code where sneakers are acceptable, opt for lightweight, breathable styles with cushioning.

Best looks for a summer commute

Calvin Klein Textured Roll-Tab Button-Down Shirt

Utility shirts, such as this popular Calvin Klein style, are summer-commute favorites for their relaxed fits and roll-up sleeves. The flowy style lets plenty of air pass through, and it leaves enough room for base layers, such as camisoles.

Sold by Macy’s

Alfani Tummy-Control Skinny Pants in Blue Geo Jacquard

Swap your traditional dark dress pants for this chic geometric style. The pull-on style is made with blended stretch materials, so it's a comfortable choice for prolonged sitting. It coordinates well with light-colored tops, including whites and pastels.

Sold by Macy’s

Aurielle 3-Pair Polished Huggie Hoop Earrings

If you’re looking for a simple, no-fuss pair of earrings, this huggie set is a compelling option. Available in silver- and gold-tone, they complement accessories in the same finish.

Sold by Kohl’s

Karen Scott Draped Open-Front Cardigan

Lightweight and flowy, this open-front cardigan is as cozy as loungewear since it’s made with a cool-to-touch rayon blend. It’s available in 10 solid colors, including Berry Ice, a favorite pink shade for summer. 

Sold by Macy’s

Simply Vera Vera Wang Ruffle-Neck Tank

This ruffle-neck tank fits under virtually any shell from structured blazers to button-down cardigans. The hemline is on the longer side, so it’s easy to tuck inside pants and skirt.

Sold by Kohl’s

Michael Kors Lillie Moccasin Flat In Luggage

The popular Michael Kors flat is a popular choice for business casual outfits. The comfortable style has a flexible rubber outsole and a seamless, chafe-free lining.

Sold by Macy’s

Charter Club Wide-Leg Sailor Pants

Wide-leg pants have been revived, and now, they’re making their way into work wear. This sailor-inspired style comes in four light colors that add a pop of brightness to your wardrobe.

Sold by Macy’s

Inc International Concepts Menswear Blazer in Dutch Canal

Swap your heavy blazer for this menswear-inspired blazer, which has garnered plenty of attention from stylists lately. The contemporary style features three-quarter sleeves to keep arms cool during the commute.

Sold by Macy’s

Alfani Tassel Pendant Necklace

If your summer work wardrobe needs an accessory lift, reach for this tassel pendant necklace. It can be worn with most necklines, and it coordinates well with simple gold- or silver-tone hoops and studs, as it is available in both finishes.

Sold by Amazon

Furtalk Fedora Straw Hat

This lightweight fedora, an affordable investment, protects your face from the sun when you’re walking to and from the office. It has an inner adjustable band so you can find the right fit.

Sold by Amazon

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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