Cool Outfits for Hot Days

Share this post

It’s hot outside. The bosses are away on vacation. It’s tempting to make every day casual Friday. But if you want to leverage your wardrobe to help advance your career, it’s worthwhile to keep some office fashion dos and don’ts in mind.

DON’T show too much skin.

How much skin is too much skin? Think about it in terms of equal opportunity workplaces. In other words, if it would look weird for a guy to wear it, consider whether you should. For instance, would you like to see Marvin-from-accounting’s superhairy shoulders looming over you in your cubicle? If he can’t wear a tank top, should you?

How about that strip of belly on your seriously muscled ad sales guy? It may be aesthetically appealing, but a glimpse of his midriff is probably not the impression he wants to give new clients. Belly-baring tops should probably be left to the people whose jobs require it: models, lifeguards, Vegas cocktail waitresses.

DON’T wear flip-flops.

You might quibble with this one, since the world of flip-flops has expanded way past the rubber shower shoes of yore. Today’s flip-flops can be made of expensive materials and festooned with baubles. But that doesn’t make them office-appropriate. Here’s why: flip-flops make it look like you’d rather be at the beach than in the office. And while that may be true, broadcasting that wish is not a recipe for career success.

Instead of flip-flops, look for options like polished sandals or open-toed flats, or, if you’re daring, open-toed booties. (Make sure your pedicure is on point.) Casual Fridays call for a pair of clean white or navy Keds.

DO plan for the chill of air-conditioning.

Offices get cold in the summer. It’s hard to remember just how chilly your cube is when you awaken to a weather report predicting triple-digit temperatures. That’s why it pays to bring a scarf to your office. Another good option is a three-quarter-sleeve cardigan in a neutral color like light yellow.

DO look for seasonal switch-ups.

Your little black dress can take you through 10 months of the year, but 90-degree temps call for something a bit crisper. Why not switch your LBD to an LWD—little white dress?

DO explore shorts.

Tailored shorts in a Bermuda length can be a comfortable, cool option for men or women. Pair with a more formal look on top for a nice contrast. Possibly a sleeveless blazer (yes, they’re a thing now).

DO be careful with shirts.

Plunging necklines, Christmas sweaters in any month but December, see-through blouses—these are the tops that can thwart your workplace ambitions. And don’t wear a message tee unless the message you want to send is “I’m quite happy on the bottom rung of my career ladder.”

DO adjust your clothes to fit the workplace culture you find yourself in.

Every office has a different culture; what’s considered perfectly cool in the ad agency might not fly in the law firm. Look around you. Who has the job you want? What is she wearing? Subtly matching your style to the higher-ups you would like to impress is a simple way to show that you’re focused on your career.

Obviously the best place to find out what the community standards for your office are is in the employee handbook. Check it every so often in case you forget some obscure rule like “no chartreuse on Mondays.”

Miriam Wolf is the editor of The FruitGuys Magazine newsletter.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter

 

Recent WorkLife articles:

Help coworkers of all stripes get along and be productive
March 27, 2017
How food in the office impacts productivity
February 23, 2017
Do the old rules about not talking politics at work still hold?
February 21, 2017
Six easy ways to make your workplace healthier
January 11, 2017
Ten ways to get your office into the holiday spirit
November 16, 2016
How to survive an open-office floor plan
October 26, 2016
Exploring the meaning of work in America
September 28, 2016
Office etiquette for the election season
September 21, 2016
Will the king of the road finally lose its throne?
August 24, 2016
Dress for success—even in the heat
July 27, 2016

More recent articles:

The FruitGuys boosts small farms’ impact on environmental, economic, and community health
April 12, 2017
One exercise can condition from head to toe
March 25, 2017
The nature-health connection and how to find it
March 23, 2017
Food:
Easy hacks to spice up your packaged food
March 21, 2017
A good self-care regimen can help you feel better faster
February 22, 2017
Climb the stairway to wellness with a workplace stair challenge
February 22, 2017
Food:
A primer in praise of the potato
February 13, 2017
The FruitGuys donated 2 million servings of fresh produce in 2016
January 24, 2017
Why music boosts your exercise sessions
January 24, 2017

About Us

Our monthly online magazine features articles about fitness, health, food, and work, as well as recipes featuring farm-fresh fruit!