As the warm summer weather finally rolls in, the last thing you want to be wearing is a bulky, uncomfortable suit — especially at the office.
But just because the temperature has gone up doesn’t mean that you can pull a 180, disregard the dress code, and show up in open-toed sandals and a halter top.
We understand that every place of work has guidelines — some casual while others require a more formal look with suit jacket and tie.
Whether you work for a trendy public relations firm or in corporate finance, here are 12 looks you can get away with on a hot day.
First, the ladies.
A bold printed skirt paired with a basic top is a great look for any office environment. Aim for a blouse and skirt combo in radiant and vivid summer hues that complement one another yet aren’t overpowering. Always remember to go with a skirt that grazes the top of the knee — anything shorter will leave you squirming in your seat struggling to pull it down every time you sit.
Use your boardroom as your runway and strut your stuff in a pantsuit that is anything but boring. Go for a summer (and office) approved hue that can take you from your afternoon meeting to post-work drinks. Just make sure to pair the pantsuit with a fairly neutral top and shoes.
Don’t automatically associate vests with winter — there’s a new way to style them for summer in a professional-chic way. This is a modern take on a summer suit and can be paired with dress pants or a skirt. Add a short sleeve top underneath and you’ll be strutting down the office hallway fiercer than Beyoncé at the Super Bowl.
Office Approved Culottes
For those in the dark, culottes are women’s knee-length trousers that are cut with full legs to resemble a skirt; aka, the perfect office dress pant alternative. Go with a pair of navy culottes and pair them with a black blouse, or vice versa. This is an easy way to put a fun spin on office-appropriate dark hues. The colour combination is ideal for the office environment yet elegant enough for grabbing a post-work rooftop cocktail with co-workers.
Upgraded Shift Dress
The great thing about shift dresses is a) they look great on every body type and b) they are professional and appropriate for the office. Break out of your trusty dark colour routine and go for a shift dress with unique detailing, a vibrant hue, or a fun pattern that’s worthy of your co-workers’ attention.
Many employers require their staff to wear dress pants at all times. And while this might seem challenging during summer, you can liven up your basic Monday-Friday look by opting for an unconventional colour. Replace your plain black pants with a fun blue pair and suddenly your trusty dress pants won’t feel so simple anymore.
And for the gentlemen….
If you work in an office environment that requires suits, now is the time to add a cotton number to your repertoire. The warmer weather means you can go for lighter colours such as light grey and khaki while still maintaining professionalism and style.
Replace your basic white and Oxfords for some summer approved hues like light-blue and gingham.
Office Approved Polo
If you work in a more casual office, swap your regular t-shirt for a more updated short sleeve polo shirt. Both stripes and neutral colours are perfect for the office and can be worn with dress pants, pressed chinos, and dark jeans.
Summer Approved Ties
A statement tie surefire way to liven up a basic button-up. Have fun with colours and go for more vibrant hues and prints. Always remember that length is important and a tie should rest at your belt buckle.
The Dress Pants Alternative
If you’re one of the lucky guys who works in a more relaxed office, chinos are a perfect alternative to dress pants. Don’t hesitate to wear colours other than tan — navy, cranberry, and green can make a fun alternative. They can be paired with polo shirts and a pair of loafers. This gives you a very clean look while still meeting all office dress code requirements.
For men in conservative offices, it’s imperative to wear a proper dress shoe – even in summer. But the shoe doesn’t have to be black. You can lighten things up with a brown or navy shoe and even go with a loafer, which is a bit casual and should be worn with a blazer and trouser combo rather than a suit. Men in a moderately conservative office can have a bit more fun and try a suede buck shoe in tan, navy or brown. Remember: if you go with brown dress shoes, liven them up with a pair of coloured shoelaces that complement your outfit.