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How To Dress Professionally in the Summer

The days are sunny and the heat is sweltering, but you still have to maintain a professional appearance at work. Going to work in a sundress or shorts sounds so appealing, but this isn’t always a reality! However, there are ways to dress appropriately and nicely while still allowing yourself some relief from the heat. Check out these tips to dress professionally at work during the hottest months of the year.

1. Unlined Outerwear

Even though it’s excruciatingly hot, sometimes you still have to wear a blazer or jacket in order to look professional at the office. To combat this reality, make sure that your outerwear is unlined. Many blazers have an extra layer of fabric, which just makes you even hotter. So try out different styles of jackets, like lighter cardigans or unlined blazer-esque jackets. They generally have less of a strict shape, since there’s less fabric, like the example below.

Unlined jackets for men, while they are a little less professional, will be instrumental to shaping your warmer weather wardrobe. They look best matched with casual cotton garments, along with classic accessories like a watch. Another option for a more conservative workplace is a half-lined jacket for men, where all but the essential lining is missing; they retain their structure but have no lining on the lower part of the jacket. Find some examples of unlined jackets here.


Alfani available at Macy’s
Unlined jacket available at Macy’s


2. Light Colors

Both men and women should follow the number one rule of the summer – stick to light colors! While black and dark colors absorb light making you much hotter, lighter colors will keep you cool and fresh during a heat wave. Plus, lighter colors are just a summer essential, which will keep you looking on-trend and appropriate for the season. For women, build your wardrobe by picking light color essentials, like beige pants or cream blazers, which will allow you to mix and match different colored shirts and accessories. For men, a white cotton button up shirt will be much more comfortable than a black or dark shirt, and will keep you looking fresh.

Photo: @withlovefromkat


3. Soft and Wide Clothes

On a hot day you’ll want to avoid anything tight and clingy. Naturally, you should fill your summer wardrobe with soft shirts and blouses that fit relatively loosely around your body. For pants, try high waisted palazzo pants, wide leg pants, or straight leg pants that look polished and professional while still keeping you cool in the summer heat.

Pants by Missguided


4. Keep your Feet Cool

Pick shoes that give your feet breathing room. Depending on how conservative your office is, this could range from classic pumps to heels or sandals that are a little more casual, as pictured below. Try cute heels with a small cut out for your toes or strappy heels; anything that will provide a little more air on a hot day. Unfortunately for men, there are less options for warm weather shoes that will keep your feet cool. However, stick to the season and stay comfortable by switching out your typical black dress shoes for loafers or boat shoes like the ones pictured.

Adam Tucker sandal available at Nordstrom
Loafers from Steve Madden


5. Wear Natural Fabrics

Try to stick to natural fabrics like cotton, silk, and linen, as these will keep you much cooler than heavier fabrics that cling to the body. These lightweight materials will be your saving grace on hot and humid days, and will keep you as relatively cool as is possible on a hot summer day.

Tahari Ikat linen dress available at Nordstrom


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