You Asked, We Answered: Your Summer Workwear Troubles, Solved!

Hooray for warmer weather! If you’re like us, you’re jumping up and down at the thought of rising temps. But along with beach season comes one unfortunate side effect. (And no, it’s not limiting ourselves from another helping of froyo—the other problem!)  

Er…what do we wear to the office? 

Outside, it’s hot and sweltering. Inside, it’s colder than a Midwestern ice storm. Are sandals appropriate? Is there a way to make shorts look professional? Yesterday on Instagram, we asked you: What are your biggest summer workwear woes? Never fear! Your answers are below! 

What can I wear for Casual Friday? Jeans are too hot, but most of my skirts and dresses are too formal! 

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The struggle is real! A great alternative to denim in the summer is linen. It’s ultra lightweight, but still polished enough for work. We love this pair and this pair! Also, consider investing in a classic midi skirt—work appropriate when paired with a button-down blouse. For date night, swap the professional shirt for a flirty crop top and add a killer pair of heels! 

I was hired in the winter and I’ve always worn tights with skirts—do I need to wear them in the summer, too?

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This is a tough one, and really depends on your line of work. In most professions, tights would not be required in the summer. However, this isn’t always the case. It’s best to check with your HR representative, or ask a few women in your office. (Tip: When asking work wardrobe advice, always be sure to ask someone in a higher role than you. It’s always best to follow your superiors in terms of dress code!) 

Sandals are OK at my office, but what is considered too casual? 

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If your dress code is a lax one, it’s easy to abuse the privilege! If it flips or flops—leave it for the beach and go with a classic leather flat, minimalistic slides, or an ankle strapped sandal. Casual, yet polished. 

How do I make shorts look professional? 

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Although your denim cutoffs are not professional enough to wear from 9-5, great office friendly versions are aplenty. To make sure you’re not in the danger zone, choose shorts with a 6″ inseam at minimumBermuda shorts are also a great option! To compensate for bare legs, make sure you’re covered up on top with a long sleeved button-down or a cardigan. Additionally, watch your heel height, which can make shorts seem shorter than they really are. Stick with a 3.5″ heel at maximum. (No platforms!) 

What summer shoes can I wear to the office that aren’t open-toe? 

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Espadrilles and D’Orsays (or, any shoe that reveals the side/sole of your foot) are a summery alternative to your typical pump or ballet flat and will keep your feet cooler in the heat! Something like this would also work great! 

What should I layer over a sleeveless blouse? Cardigans feel frumpy but blazers are too heavy—help! 

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We have good news: Cardigans don’t have to be frumpy! The trick is to ensure your top and bottom is balanced. For example, do your slacks have a loose, flare fit? That means your top should be more form fitting. If both are loose, you’ll look sloppy! Wearing skinny slacks or pixie pants? Your cardigan can be a bit looser. For a more feminine touch, try belting the outside of your cardigan with a skinny belt to create a defined waist.  Also, look for cardigans in a fun pattern or color that can spice up your outfit, like this one or this one

Plus, the summer blazer is a lifesaver! Just look for versions of your favorite jacket made of (what else?) linen! This version and this version are extremely versatile, perfect for the office and beyond. 

Let’s talk about hemlines—how short is too short? 

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Our honest opinion: If you’re questioning your hemline even a tiny bit, chances are, it’s probably too short! This, again, very much depends on your line of work. Only in a more casual industry can you get away with wearing above-the-knee skirts. (Use your best judgment!) But if you’re still unsure, a good trick is to relax your arms at your sides. If your hemline isn’t well below your fingertips, it’s too short! (We also love this option and this option) On the other hand, a great pencil skirt or midi skirt in a summery color or pattern is a safer–stylish, seasonal, yet conservative in length. Remember, when in doubt, ask HR! 

My dress code is business professional. What are some warm weather footwear options I can still wear with a suit? 

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Unfortunately, your shoe options are very limited when it comes to business professional: black, nude, or navy pumps. That’s it. The happy medium? A strappy version of your classic pump like this or this is a great compromise between a pump and a sandal. Mules are also a good warm weather alternative–they’re backless, and will ensure your feet don’t overheat! 

Do you have more workwear style questions? Keep ’em coming below!