It’s hard enough dressing for 90 degree temperatures once the summer’s in full swing, but factor in the extra issue of simultaneously needing to be prepared for tundra-like conditions in your office thanks an overzealous air-conditioning system, and well, you’re bound to have a full-on fashion panic attack regarding what to wear to work.
Luckily, dressing for work under these conditions—and in style—can be done. The trick is to essentially plan two different outfits, one perfect for wearing out and about in the blaring sun, and another one that’ll manage to keep you warm enough when you are in the AC—all while just adding in one extra layer to keep you warm.
Here, four outfit ideas to act as a jumping off point for dressing for the office during the summer.
Wear a Tuxedo Jacket Over Your Shoulders
It’s simply too hot in the summer to wear a pantsuit to the office. Instead, create your own summer-friendly version of the look by wearing a pair of loose silk trousers, and having a tuxedo jacket or another blazer on hand for when you’re are in air-conditioning. Fashion rules at the office tend to loosen a bit during the warmer months, so don’t be afraid to have some fun with the look, even finishing off the outfit with a graphic t-shirt.
1. Helmut Lang two-tone crepe blazer ($645; available at Net-a-Porter).
2. Bobo House Weekend tee ($90; available at Bobo House).
3. Zara leather handbag ($129.80; available at Zara).
4. Gianvito Rossi leather pumps ($640; available at Net-a-Porter).
5. Joe Fresh animal print silk pants ($69; available at Joe Fresh).
Bring a Cardigan With You
Consider the cardigan your best friend during the summer, it layers pretty perfectly over just about anything, and it’s compact enough that you can throw it in a tote bag. Transition from the street to the office wearing a sheath dress, and then layering a cardigan over it, once you’re indoors. We even suggest storing an extra cardigan in your desk drawer as your “just in case” layering piece.
1. J.Crew Collection featherweight cashmere cardigan in navy ($188; available at J.Crew).
2. Maggy London blurred tribal scuba sheath ($128; available at Maggy London).
3. Larsson & Jennings Lader leather and gold-plated watch ($334; available at Larsson & Jennings).
4. Stuart Weitzman The Solo sandal ($335; available at Stuart Weitzman).
5. Mansur Gavriel large tote in black ($485; available at Mansur Gavriel).
Make a Statement With a Print Jacket
In terms of fashion, the summer season often gets a bad rap for not having as many options as fall and winter. Use the fact that you’re cooped in air conditioning all day to your fashion advantage, and have fun with a statement blazer—the kind of piece you’d normally wear during colder months.
1. Zara leaf-print blazer ($99.90 available at Zara).
2. 3.1 Phillip Lim Totes Amaze cutout handle tote bag in nude ($1,100; available at Bergdorf Goodman).
3. Isabel Marant Cheryl button down shirt ($310; available at La Garçonne).
4. Burberry Brit pencil skirt with belt ($335; available at StyleBop).
5. Zara leather high heel sandal with ankle strap ($79.90; available at Zara).
A Shawl Goes From Day To Evening
Looking for an office friendly outfit that also transitions flawlessly to evening? Your best bet is bringing a shawl to work that you can wrap yourself in at your desk when you get too cold. With your cocktail dress already on, you’ll be ready for dinner or an after-work event in a matter of moments once the workday is over.
1. Max Studio large cashmere shawl in black ($248; available at Max Studio).
2. Topshop satin stripe a-line dress ($140; available at Topshop).
3. Third Crown Arc earrings in gold ($380; available at Third Crown).
4. Prada Saffiano small Gardener’s tote bag in gray ($1,930; available at Bergdorf Goodman).
5. Kate Spade Sadie sandal ($378; available at Nordstrom).