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Summertime is just around the corner. This means you can set aside your sweaters and gloves for lighter options! While summer often means t-shirts and flip-flops, you can’t exactly wear either of those things at the office. Both men and women still have plenty of options for professional wardrobes come summertime — you don’t have to stick with stuffy slacks and heavy jackets when it’s hot and humid.
Keep It Light
Your summer wardrobe should consist of lighter fabrics. Cotton’s breathability makes it an ideal choice in the hotter weather — cotton shirts, pants or skirts will help keep you cooler. Silk and linen are lighter materials that won’t weigh down on you like wool. Suits made of those materials are much more bearable.
Lighter colors will also keep you cooler. We all know black absorbs heat, so try to avoid wearing that, if at all possible. Gray, light blue and ivory are good options for professional colors.
Women’s fashion has many options for the summertime including dresses and skirts alike. Pencil skirts are always a great choice for the professional business woman — they’re sleek and flattering for many body types. Dresses are another way to stay cool in the office. Pairing dresses with a sharp blazer can make you stand out whether you’re an addiction specialist or a partner at a marketing firm.
If you decide to wear a skirt or dress, make sure you’re not revealing too much skin. Having a short skirt or low-cut blouse is not the way to make a good impression in a professional environment. Double check with your company’s dress code before choosing your outfit. If you’re unsure, bring along a cardigan to pair with your ensemble.
Shoes should cover the majority of your feet, but that shouldn’t stop you from staying cool. Peep-toe shoes can let your feet get some fresh air while still looking professional. Flats are a safe bet with most outfits — they especially match skirts and dresses well.
Menswear Staying Cool
Men’s options for cool, professional clothing is not nearly as limited as you may think. The go-to men’s professional outfit is a suit — pants, jacket and button-up shirt. However, times are changing and with that your options for staying cool and fresh in the summer are growing as well.
A solid investment for men to make is in a summer jacket. Summer jackets are made of a lighter material — linen or cotton — and won’t feel as stuffy as your normal blazer. They are higher maintenance than a normal suit jacket, but it’s worth it for those who get overheated easily.
Short-sleeved button-ups are another way for men to stay cool while looking professional. If you prefer, you can wear a long-sleeved button-up and simply roll up the sleeves. But the short-sleeved option is there for anyone who can’t be bothered with that. Polo shirts are an option for the more casual office environment. You’ll definitely want to double check with the typical protocol before donning the polo.
Other Tips for Looking (and Staying) Cool
If you aren’t lucky enough to work for a company that invests in solar power generation for their air conditioning needs, sweating in the office may be a problem for you. Sweat is a common enough occurrence in the summer that can detract from your overall appearance. Avoiding the dreaded pit stains or back sweat can make the difference for your professional wardrobe.
Staying professional while keeping cool can be a breeze. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort for professionalism — instead, embrace lighter fabrics and colors for your office wardrobe.