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August 20, 2022  |  Apparel

13 must-have summer office outfits to keep it light and stylish

Planning work outfits for a hot summer day has been made even more challenging by our time working from home. While we may have gotten used to doing our jobs in joggers and tank tops, most offices will have slightly higher standards. Your summer work wardrobe may require swapping out sweats for slacks and hoodies for structured jackets. However, with summer trends featuring lightweight and casual pieces that are still office-friendly, it’s possible to go to work feeling comfortable no matter what the thermometer says.

How to dress professionally during summer

Layering

Mastering layers is the key to staying comfortable during the summer. Jackets, cardigans, or blazers will be a necessity to adapt your outfit from the outside heat to your office’s AC. Balance looser, comfortable pieces with structured blazers or pointed-toe shoes.

Don’t be afraid to go bold

Summer is a great time to pick brighter colors and bolder patterns. Consider Pantone’s 2022 Color of the Year, Very Peri, a rich periwinkle that can read as an unexpected blue. For prints, try big, abstract florals or gingham check in Kelly green, poppy red, or canary yellow.

Professional yet comfortable fabric choices

Cotton

For comfort and breathability, almost nothing beats 100% cotton clothing. Look for gingham, chambray, or cotton (not synthetic) jersey for your summer office wardrobe.

Linen

A quintessential summer fabric, linen fabric helps you stay cool thanks to its ability to wick away moisture and dry quickly. Linen is popular in everything from pants and dresses to blazers and sport coats. It may need to be ironed for a more professional look.

Modal

Modal is made with beech cellulose. It’s good at naturally wicking away moisture, and it’s soft and comfortable with a slightly satiny finish. You’ll often see it in undergarments, but it’s also used in shirts and dresses.

Twill

Twill is a woven fabric with good wrinkle recovery. It’s a popular choice for pants such as chinos, which get their name from the twill fabric they’re made with.

Summer office outfit ideas

Preppy blazers

A blazer is a must-have in many offices, but it doesn’t have to be black, nor does your summer blazer need to be made with heavy fabrics. Linen and seersucker in cheerful fabrics can lighten up your work wardrobe while still looking put together.

Tailored Bermuda shorts

Make shorts in the office happen with crisp, business-casual Bermuda shorts. Make sure they have neat, hemmed leg openings. Pair them with a coordinating blazer and a button-down or blouse.

“Business comfort”

Loungewear has proven itself to be an invaluable part of our wardrobes, and it’s tough to give up comfy styles for traditional professional clothing. This has led to the growth of “workleisure” or “business comfort” fashion. Many workplaces have loosed their dress codes to accept dressy sneakers, joggers disguised as slacks, and shirts made with more comfortable fabrics.

Summer office footwear

Kitten heels

Classic pumps are almost always a good choice for the office, but there’s no need to suffer in sky-high stilettos, especially when it’s hot out. Opt for lower kitten heels, block heels, or stacked heels for a more comfortable workday.

Low wedges or slides

Summery styles such as espadrilles, mules, slingbacks, and slides are generally office-friendly styles that won’t make your feet feel stifled. Look for wedges or platforms that are low enough to walk comfortably in. If your office allows open-toed shoes, choose nail polish colors that compliment your summer wardrobe.

Sneakers

Shelve your dress shoes and try out a pair of structured, polished sneakers made with breathable fabrics such as jersey, canvas, or denim instead of leather.

FAQ

What should I wear for a Zoom meeting?

A: Even if only your top half will be visible on camera, it’s a good idea to fully dress for work if you have a video meeting. Dressing the part will help you feel more prepared and confident. Pick a shirt color that contrasts with your background and avoid large or busy prints. Be mindful of your fabric choice and accessories, too. The sounds from swishy fabrics or jangly jewelry could get picked up by your microphone.

Can I wear boots in summer?

A: Sandals may look summery, but in an air-conditioned office, your toes can end up feeling frozen. Don’t put your ankle boots in the closet just yet: try pairing them with a midi-length skirt or dress. Colorful boots are also easy to wear year-round paired with summery dresses or tapered slacks.

What you need to buy for summer office outfits

Summer office jackets

And Now This Women’s Oversized Blazer

Roll the sleeves up on this roomy, oversized blazer for a casually chic look. Pair it with cropped pants or dark-wash skinny jeans.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Draper James RSVP Women’s Textured Cardigan

With its flattering V-neck and nubby cotton knit, this colorful cardigan will level up your layering game. It’s available in six colors.

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s

Lauren Ralph Lauren Men’s UltraFlex Classic-Fit Linen Sport Coat

Lighten up your look visually and physically with these linen sport coats, which come in warm-weather hues such as light blue and sage green.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Apt. 9 Men’s Premier Flex Slim-Fit Essential Sport Coat

This jacket offers modern updates such as a slimmer fit and comfortable stretch fabric. It comes in essential navy and black as well as summery khaki and gray seersucker.

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s

Summer office shoes

Sam Edelman Hazel Pumps

Swap out your go-to black heels for these classic leather pumps in blush or white. They feature a 3 ¾ -inch stiletto heel and an elegant pointed toe.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s and Revolve

Polo Ralph Lauren Vaughn Chambray Herringbone Sneakers

The herringbone weave and suede laces in these polished sneakers elevate them to work-appropriate. They come in a variety of colors and patterns to dress up or down.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s and Amazon

Summer office bottoms

Tommy Hilfiger Women’s Hollywood Bermuda Shorts

These fitted, stretch twill Bermuda shorts come in four professional neutrals. Pair them with a coordinating blazer for a put-together look or try a more casual colorful jacket.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

White Mark Midi Skirt

Tired of your pencil skirts? Try this breezy midi circle skirt, which comes in a range of bright colors as well as wearable neutrals. Add a belt and a button-down or short-sleeved sweater.

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s and Macy’s

Tommy Hilfiger Men’s TH Flex Stretch Chino Pant

Made with stretch chino fabric for comfort and breathability, these pants feature a classic fit in eight color choices.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Summer office tops

Nine West Women’s V-neck Tank

This breezy, classic tank works well on its own or under a blazer. It’s made with georgette, a lightweight crepe fabric that looks elegant and professional whether you’re on Zoom or in the office.

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s

Izod Men’s Classic-Fit Printed Button-Down Shirt

Wear these pastel print button-downs with navy or khaki chinos or match them with pastel-hued Bermuda shorts.

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s

Summer office dresses

DKNY Striped Tie-Back Shirt Dress

This dress updates the classic chambray shirt dress with a trio of blue pinstripe patterns and a tie belt to give it shape.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Tommy Hilfiger Textured Sheath Dress

The subtle texture in this otherwise simple dress makes it the perfect canvas for a colorful blazer and a statement necklace.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s


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

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