What to wear to work is challenging enough during the year, but when temperatures rise, it is even more confusing, especially for the business woman. In last week’s blog, I talked in general terms of how to approach your workplace wardrobe in the summer. This week I want to focus on the business woman’s wardrobe. The business woman faces more options than her male counterpart, and therefore has more room for error.
If a woman works in a strictly formal office, there is not much seasonal variation. However I can offer a few tips for staying cool and conservative.
- Choose suits of lighter colors and materials. There are lots of cottons and cotton blends available. Linen is cool, but not a good choice for the office since it wrinkles if you even look at it.
- Wear sling-back heels rather than the traditional pump. Sandals and open-toed shoes are never acceptable in a formal office.
- Skirts that come to the knee are cooler than pants, but require stockings. I know that’s not good news for many women, but it is the professional look and stockings are now being made in lighter weights.
If the office environment is informal or casual, here are my suggestions and cautions.
- Wear short sleeves or cap sleeves. Resist the urge to bare your skin and stay away from sleeveless.
- Skirts that are more than an inch above the knee are not acceptable. Go for the knee but you can forgo the stockings.
- Cropped pants of good quality and preferably with a cuff will work, especially when paired with a short-sleeve jacket.
- Dresses are comfortable summer attire. However, sleeveless dresses and sundresses are not appropriate for the office.
- Lightweight or loose-weave sweaters are always good to wear over sleeveless.
- Sandals are controversial. It really depends on how casual your workplace is. Just keep in mind that when you wear an open-toe shoe, your feet need to look well-cared for.
- If you are considering flip-flops, don’t . They are a definite no-no.
A final suggestion for the business woman’s wardrobe: Consider loose-fitting, but not baggy, clothes for relief from the heat.
In general, stay away from sheer, sloppy or revealing. Remember that you are still in the office and not at the beach.
Here’s to summer survival!
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