Dressing for work in the summer can be a real pain in the patooty. There’s a fine line between dressing appropriately and inappropriately, and that line usually falls somewhere around the 80-degree mark. Summer in NYC is particularly tough because, for some reason, it’s always around that time that the air conditioning in all of the subway lines starts to break down. For someone like me who thrives in colder weather, it can be especially difficult. I mean, I already know my hair is going to be a lost cause, but how do I avoid pit stains and overheating when I’m trying to do my job?
Short answer: You kinda don’t. To a certain extent, you have to accept that you’re going to sweat—but there are outfits that you can choose that’ll make you much more comfortable. To make it a little bit easier on all of you, I’ve decided to put together a couple of outfits that are 100% work- and warm weather-appropriate, just to get you started. I’ve worn all of these in various office environments, and they’ve always worked for me. As always, gird yourself for my mirror selfies:
1. Full skirt and heels
Full skirts are just the best for warm summer weather. They’re almost always on the longer side, so you don’t need to wear tights, and choosing a print allows you to keep things simpler and more comfortable on top. I chose to wear heels to make them look a little more professional, but I’ve worked this look with flats and Oxfords, too. The T-shirt is from Forever 21 (and it’s soooo soft), the skirt is from Ann Taylor LOFT, and the ankle strap heels are Nine West.
2. Printed linen pants
This is actually one of my favorite outfits for any time of year, but it works particularly well in the summer. The pants are linen and breathable, so you won’t feel as clammy (sorry) and uncomfortable as you might in denim or thick trousers. From there, you can add whatever top and shoes you want—I’ve also worn this with a white button-down shirt and black flats, totally up to you. The top is from TJ Maxx, the pants are from ASOS, and the heels are Nine West (they seriously make the most comfortable work shoes ever).
3. A peplum top
I’ve worn this outfit both to work and interviews—it can work for anything, depending on how you accessorize it. Cropped pants are an absolute MUST for summer, and a peplum (even a subtle one like this) is always great for dressing things up a bit. Also, the thick straps on this shirt help you avoid any “no shoulders” rules in your office dress code! The top is from Ann Taylor LOFT, the pants are Gap, and the black patent flats are Steve Madden.
(Related: How to Choose the Best Outfit for a Job Interview)
4. An airy dress
The length of this dress is ideal, and the lightweight fabric and floaty skirt help keep you cool all day. If this is a little bit too much should for your office, you can always bring a cardigan or blazer with you. Layers never hurt nobody, anyway. The dress is from Express, and the shoes are Nine West.
5. A light, short-sleeve button-down
Okay, I’ll admit that this look might not work in more corporate environments, but I had to throw it in here just so you can understand the concept. The cap sleeve on the shirt makes it totally office-appropriate, and it’s lightweight enough to keep you comfortable. This skirt might be considered too short in a law firm or a bank, so you can always swap it out for a pencil skirt. And as for the booties, well, they’re my go-to summer shoes, and I always get compliments on them, so there you go. The top is from H&M, the skirt is from Banana Republic, and the booties are Sperry.