Summer brings heat, humidity and the occasional thunderstorm. Most of the time, we are sheltered from the elements in our offices, and the air conditioning – not to mention professional environment – keeps us from dressing like we’re headed to the beach.
But for the times when we find ourselves at the company barbecue, an outdoor cocktail party, or when we simply want to look put-together when out and about – we’ve got to dress smart to beat the heat. Here are a few style tips that accommodate the summer weather without compromising a professional look.
- The linen suit is a classic summer option for both formal affairs and everyday elegance. The white colour exudes summer freshness, but the fabric makes all the difference: you will feel a noticeable difference from a wool suit. This is a go-to for both men and women; women could wear either slacks or a skirt as a bottom piece.
- A professional summer dress “don’t”: Don’t choose breezy maxi dresses or beach cover-up that you would wear over a swimsuit, as comfortable as it may be. That said, you can still find comfort in a more formal dress; opt for capped sleeves instead of a thin-strapped dress to keep cool. This placed leaf print dress from Loft has a modest boatneck, capped sleeves and a tailored fit, but the short sleeves and unique leaf print make it a great choice for summer.
- For blouses, again, do not go for thin-strapped, slinky tank tops or trendy transparent blouses. A slightly oversized long-sleeved linen shirt will keep you surprisingly cool – and will protect you from the sun – worn with fitted or tailored pants. Or, try a classic button-up shirt with a twist: short sleeves instead of long, like this J. Crew striped silk short-sleeved shirt.
- If you choose sandals to complete your professional outfit, make sure they are not rubber or plastic and are not generally found by the pool or in the locker room – in other words, don’t go for flip flops. There is a range of sandals, from materials like leather and suede to styles like heels or flats that could make a better statement.
- Heels generally are a good option because their style keeps feet exposed to the open air. The last thing you want is a foot that cannot breathe: it will make your whole body feel more uncomfortable. For extra breathability, choose heels with a peep toe.
- Certain flats are made for summer; for example, ballet flats made with open leather cross-hatching couldn’t be worn in any other season – at least not in most of Canada.
A fresh face
- When temperatures climb, sweat hits the brow within moments of leaving the office. Keep it at bay (or at least unnoticeable) with smart makeup choices. An expert panel reviews the best makeup brands for summer sweat, with general recommendations such as choosing waterproof mascara and eyeliner, and opting for cream eyeshadow instead of powder.
- Do not forget to put on sunscreen! Even minutes under the sun can do damage; keep your skin safe and looking radiant. If the traditional thick cream format makes you avoid sunscreen altogether, try a sunscreen mist, like Hampton Sun’s broad spectrum UVA/UVB mist.
Summer is a wonderful time to be outside and soak up the sun and fresh air. When it comes to looking professional in summer weather, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort: a few simple wardrobe adjustments will help you manage – and enjoy – the heat!