10 Must-Follow Rules for Office-Appropriate Summer Fashion


(Original story published on Monday May 4th, 2015 on

It’s that awkward time of year when it’s sunny, cool and refreshing outside, yet sweaty, stuffy and uncomfortable in the office. While we’re always prepared for that transitional period between blasting heat and cooling air conditioning, we’re left feeling completely dumbfounded when it comes to dressing appropriately (and comfortably) at work.

To help you look and feel your best, we’re highlighting the dos and don’ts of warm weather dressing at your nine-to-five.

warm office dressing cotton top
Rule #1: Wear the right fabrics
In a warm office, it’s natural to want to dress light, just make sure you don’t pull a Bridget Jones and don a completely see-through blouse. Watch out for sheer fabrics, and opt for cottons and linens which are thick enough to be opaque, and light enough to keep you cool.

warm office dressing club monaco top
For a lightweight, yet totally professional blouse, try Club Monaco’s Claudia Shirt ($160).

warm office dressing flowy piece
Rule #2: Wear loose, flowy pieces
Wearing tight pieces will prevent your skin from getting air, and will result in you feeling even warmer. Instead, go for loose, boxy and flowy silhouettes.

warm office dressing aritzia skirt
The perfect skirt? Babaton’s Tory Skirt, available at Aritzia ($175).

warm office dressing pencil skirt
Rule #3: Looking professional is key
When you’re feeling hot, you’ll probably want to strip off some layers, which can result in you showing a little too much skin than you should at the office. Avoid feeling like you need to bare it all by wearing breathable, professional pieces. Our favourite look? Pairing a pencil skirt with a simple, loose-fitting cotton tee.

warm office dressing jcrew skirt
Go for J.Crew’s No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Cotton Twill (US $128).

warm office dressing mix suits
Rule #4: Mix and match separates
It’s common to have work suits made out of a wool blend, which can clearly pack some serious heat. You don’t have to ditch those pieces altogether, just don’t wear them together. Try pairing the pants of a wool suit with a lightweight blazer in a bold hue to keep it cool.

warm office dressing zara blazer
Zara’s Long Blazer ($100) is made of lightweight fabric to keep you cool through the summer sun.

warm office dressing closed toe shoes
Rule #5: Wear sophisticated shoes
You may be tempted to bust out the strappy kicks, but we both know that won’t go over well. Opt for a style that features a classic pointed toe, but is a little strappier (read: breathable) in the back.

warm office dressing club monaco shoes
Our pick? Club Monaco’s Lula Lizard-Effect Pump ($269).

warm office dressing nude accessories
Rule #6: Ditch the black accessories
Lighten up your look by swapping your black shoes and handbags for nude, white, or bright alternatives.

warm office dressing madewell bag
Keep it subtle by opting for a bag in a natural light moss hue, like Madewell’s The Transport Tote (US $168).

warm office dressing no spaghtetti straps
Rule #7: Be aware of what you’re wearing underneath a blazer
Whether you’re simply sitting at your desk or entering the office after a long commute, you’ll probably be tempted to remove your blazer. Pay attention to what you wear underneath it so you’re able to take it off without a worry. Avoid wearing straps that are too thin, and go for a sleeveless, flowy blouse instead.

warm office dressing joe fresh blouse
Try Joe Fresh’s Silk Ruffle Blouse ($30).

warm office dressing winter and summer clothes
Rule #8: Go for seasonless looks
No, it’s not appropriate to bust out those summer sundresses just yet. Instead, go for seasonless dressing and mix your light winter pieces with summer pieces. Our favourite way to rock this look? Team a loose-knit sweater with a pair of light trousers.

warm office dressing french connection sweater
French Connection showed off the look perfectly, with thisSummer Quilted Jumper ($78).

warm office dressing silk dress
Rule #9: Avoid clingy fabrics
One of the worst fabrics you can wear in warm weather? Polyester. Avoid it at all costs, and invest in some cool silks instead.

warm office dressing all saints dress
We’re loving All Saints’ Fleet Haze Dress ($340).

warm office dressing light layer
Rule #10: Layer the right way
You’re probably going to need a layer or two on your commute, especially in the early morning. Wear light pieces you can easily take off, like a simple jacket and a light scarf if needed.

warm office dressing ted baker scarf
For the perfect breezy, summer scarf, go for Ted Baker’s Blossy Long Window Blossom Scarf($130).

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