I find that summer is the trickiest season when it comes to getting dressed for the office. Hot-and-sticky commutes or wide temperature differentials between outdoors and air-conditioned interiors add complication to a workday dressing formula. Those of us who work in offices with a Business Casual dress code have a bit more leeway than our sisters in strictly corporate environments, but more choice can add to the temptation to dress more casually than normal when temperatures rise.
Even if your workplace dress code is very casual, there may be occasions when you need to quickly take it up a notch: an impromptu visit from the division head, a last minute client meeting. Over the years, I’ve found that either planning my workday outfits with one of more of these elements, or even keeping pieces stashed in my office helps me to be ready to look polished, even on the most sweltering days.
A cotton or linen blazer, whether neutral, bright or printed is one of the quickest and best ways to Bring The Business to Business Casual. Throw on over a simple tee and cotton ankle pants and you’re meeting-ready. Lightweight blazers can be found in a range of prices. Fabrics like cotton and linen are most lightweight and will breathe. If you are worried about wrinkles or need to be a bit more polished, look for lightweight knits or tropical weight wool fabrics.
If blazers aren’t your thing, a simple cardigan that can be thrown on over a sleeveless dress or top, or even a short sleeved blouse or tee when the a/c thermostat has been ratcheted down to the “meat locker” setting is a versatile option. I wouldn’t be without one. Look for pieces with a bit of heft that will hold their shape, and steer clear of limp, dishrag-y fabrics. One of my favorites year after year is the Jackie Cardigan from J.Crew.
And you know I don’t mean jeweled flip flops! If sandals are acceptable in your workplace, go for styles with a bit more coverage and that fit snugly to the foot. Leave the loose, floppy sandals for weekends.Next rung up on the formality ladder are peep toes, which are available in wide variety of styles and heel heights.If your office dress code is adamantly “closed toe shoes only,” check out a d’Orsay style which allows a bit more airflow, or styles with cutouts or open weave.
Forgive my indelicacy, but if you’ve ever been dashing around on a lunch hour and realized upon returning to the office that you’re a bit “fragrant,” a stash of these deodorant towelettes in your desk or purse are lifesavers!
Do you have any favorite shortcuts for warm weather workplace style?
Already Pretty contributor Une Femme is fifty-six, married to the same wonderful monsieur since 1995, the mother of a special-needs teenager and two hooligan dogs, a full-time administrative professional, a coffee-holic, Paris-obsessed, native Californian, and a petite and curvy femme d’un certain age. She believes that personal style is an essential form of self-expression, and started her blog, Une femme d’un certain âge, in 2007 hoping to start a conversation about style for women over 50.