Professional Summer Attire: Beat the Heat Without Showing Your Feet

Warm weather is finally upon us. Time to bury those dull colors and heavy fabrics for the next brutal winter. Now is the season of bright hues, fashionable hemlines, and snow-free footwear. We’re here to tell you all you need to know about being seasonable, fashionable, and professional.

Of course, there’s more to a professional wardrobe than the seemingly obvious “Don’t wear flip-flops”. (Seriously, don’t). When you are dressing for the office, even on Casual Fridays, always dress to be prepared for the unexpected meeting or introduction.

Tips for Women:
• Keep all straps under wraps. Lightweight cardigans and blazers instantly dress up sleeveless blouses and dresses.
• Go to great lengths. This isn’t to say to only don on long dresses, skirts, and sleeves. When it comes to appropriate skirt length, err on the side of the conservative with skirts that stay put when seated and sleeves that cap the shoulders.
• Watch your step. Peep toe heels are definitely workplace appropriate (unless your company dress code says otherwise). Dress flats are also a nice option, as long as pants are the appropriate length.

Tips for Men:
• “Appropriate” doesn’t mean “professional. Just because men don’t succumb to the same fashion missteps as women doesn’t mean they are off the hook when it comes to seasonal attire. Read: No shorts. No sandals. No ball caps.
• Tuck and roll. Shirts should always be tucked in. Period. If warm weather (and hard work) have you rolling up your sleeves, do so crisply and neatly, so you can look polished at a moment’s notice.
• Make it go smoothly. Summer’s fabrics, like cotton and pique, tend to look unkempt easily, and ironing is that much more important now that you can’t hide wrinkles under sweaters and jackets. Check out wrinkle-free options to save the hassle.

When in doubt, always check out what management is wearing, and follow suit (pun intended). The “dress for the job you want” mantra has stuck around for a reason; if you want to be taken seriously for a promotion, a new position, or a raise, align your summer workplace wardrobe with the folks who make those decisions.

Bottom line: Despite the ever-casual nature of today’s workplace, there is a time and a place for shorts, sleeveless dresses, and sandals: Anywhere you want as long as it’s the weekend.

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