The days when only structured suits, pantyhose and pumps were a must for women in the workplace have certainly diminished. The modern day woman has much more flexibility when it comes to dressing for work. During Houston’s hot summer days where the temperature often breaks ninety, but your office is nearly thirty degrees cooler, dressing for work can be quite a challenge.
So how can you keep cool in the summer heat without freezing when you step into the office?! First, it’s okay to just say “no” to pantyhose and slip on your summer sandals. Women earned the right to bare legs years ago when Ally McBeal challenged the status quo in her hit television show, and in most offices, even dressier sandals and open-toed wedges are appropriate as long as toes are properly pedicured.
Nothing is cooler in the hot, humid summertime weather than a dress or a skirt, so put your suit away and wear a fun sheath or summer dress…
Diana Hudson, partner at Andrews Kurth law firm, explains that “many of our women lawyers wear separates rather than suits, and jackets are not really necessary unless meeting with a client.”
When sporting summer dresses, it is important to live in layers; many of your summer wardrobe pieces will be sleeveless or bare, so make sure to dress it up at the office with a cardigan, jacket, or jacket alternative. This add-on piece makes it easy to remove for after-work party fun!
If you’re a gal who likes to stick to pants for the office, try one of this season’s trendy twists on the long time favorite…the cropped pant or the wide leg pant. When wearing cropped pants, it’s amazing what just those 2 or 3 inches of extra skin at the ankle can do to cool you down. Pair cropped pants with fun wedges or ballet flats and a lightweight top for a chic summer look. Wide leg linen pants give your legs room to breathe, best worn in neutral colors and layered up with a matching top or pop of color. For an outfit completer, try topping either of these looks off with a sweater or cropped jacket for the office.
Styling tip: Remember, if the bottom is wide, the top should be cropped and/or fitted close to the body.
When it comes to your summer wardrobe in the workplace, Hudson explains that women are expected to avoid anything too revealing such as very low necklines and miniskirts.
RULE OF THUMB: If you look in the mirror before you leave for work and think that what you have on is not appropriate, it’s probably not! Trust your instinct; you know your office better than anyone. Only you know what’s acceptable.