Knowing how to dress for the office every day is one thing, but dressing for the office when it’s scorching outside can sometimes prove quite challenging. Am I supposed to wear a jacket? Will my legs be hot in trousers?
These are just some of the questions you’ll no doubt be asking yourself.
There are several factors you will battle with. One of them is trying not to sweat too much on your commute, yet still having to cover up in case the weather has a sudden turn. Another is avoiding freezing to death when sat working in the office, due to the ice-cold air-conditioning units that so many companies have in their offices.
Here at State Cashmere, we understand it can be tricky to navigate around the rules of summer workwear. However, you’ll be pleased to know that if you invest in a handful of statement pieces and accessories, you’re pretty much there. It’s just about learning what to pair them with, and how to style them up.
Below, we’ve put a list together of eight office-appropriate outfits to inspire you throughout the Summer months.
1. The Shirtdress Style
It’s impossible to go wrong when wearing a shirtdress to work during Summer. This is because this style of dress is extremely versatile. A shirtdress works wonders worn on its own, as a loose-fitting, relaxed style, or accessorized with a waist belt for a more tailored look. If the office gets a little chillier, you can pop on a pair of tights to keep your legs warmer.
Dress down days require nothing more than ankle boots or sandals, but for those days when you need to impress, the team with a pair of heels and a quality handbag. Due to the simplicity of a shirt dress, they work well when a blazer is added, or even if skinny jeans are required to be pulled on underneath.
2. Go For Layers
It’s one thing being hot outside and wearing a little short-sleeved t-shirt, but as the office can have a very different temperature, you need to prepare for both. Some offices are in shadowed locations and don’t have the benefit of the sun shining in through the windows. Or, as we mentioned before, many offices have strong air conditioning units.
This is where the art of layering is vital during the Summer months when dressing for work. Keep a cardigan with you throughout the warmer months to add a layered look, meaning you’ll never get caught out.
Not only do cardigans look smart and stylish, they instantly add warmth to bear arms if you are wearing a short sleeve top or vest underneath. Our Button-Down Blouse Cashmere Cardigan is a great option to layer over a vest top, especially in the Heather Grey color, which teams up perfectly with any black, white, or cream looks.
3. Choose Midi Length Dresses
A midi-length dress will act as your ultimate blank canvas outfit, letting you build up looks around it. Due to the ankle-skimming midi length, you can go bare-legged underneath, and wear ballet pumps or court style heels for your footwear choice.
A classic midi-length dress is a good idea to have in your workwear wardrobe as a failsafe. A well-fitted version complete with long sleeves makes the ideal option if you need to be a little more covered - especially if it is chillier inside the office than it is outside.
A perfect, classic style which will work well in any type of office is our Long Sleeve Turtleneck Cashmere Sweater Dress. Its super soft cashmere material will keep your arms and body warm, so you don’t need to layer up with a jacket in the warmer months, yet it allows your legs to breathe.
This bodycon style dress comes in an array of colors, although the navy version would particularly work well teamed with smart work accessories. There is also an Ivory colorway which would look fresh and bright teamed with other Summer color palettes.
4. Day to Night Sandals
An essential item for the Summer working months is a comfy pair of day-to-night sandals. Ideally, choose a block heel pair a couple of inches in height, which are high enough to give you height and a good posture, yet practical enough for rushing around the office.
A strappy pair in black, cream or tan should be able to pair with your work wardrobe, taking you effortlessly from your presentable office look, straight through to post-work drinks. Remember though, the enjoyment of Summer is that you can be experimental with color. Therefore, if you feel you want to inject a flash of bright hues through your footwear, you could always go for something a little more fun!
The key here is to invest in a good quality pair, and they will prove to be a versatile summer essential for your feet!
5. A Soft and Stylish Wrap
One of the most crucial accessories to have with you for office dressing in the Summer is a stylish wrap. Depending on which size you choose, a wrap can double up as a scarf, shawl or pashmina, which look fashionable when draped over the shoulders. It is best to think of ‘the bigger, the better’ rule here, as you then have the ability to wrap one around numerous times to create many different looks.
A cashmere wrap actually has similar benefits to carrying a cardigan with you. You can pretty much layer the large scarf over any outfit, covering up bare shoulders, little t-shirts, and dresses, without dressing down your look. They also work brilliantly for the whole ‘desk to drinks’ scenario, where if you choose a classic, luxury looking scarf, you can instantly add glamour to your look.
Choose a scarf or wrap in a versatile color so it blends in with many different outfit choices. They are very simple to style up, and the beauty of them is that there are no right or wrong ways to wear them! Just drape around your body and wrap to your heart's content.
Our Unisex Fringe Solid Color Scarfin mustard is one of our favorites – it’s bold and vivid color is perfect for the Summer months, and will add a pop of vibrancy to your office attire.
6. Short-Sleeve Sweaters Paired with Denim
When the Summer months arrive, it’s nice to be able to embrace getting your arms out and enjoy wearing statement short-sleeve sweaters. Go for smart-casual styles, which team nicely with denim. The two paired together are practical enough for the office, yet can be dressed up or down with blazers, sandals or belts.
You could pair the short sleeve sweater with denim skinny jeans, denim mini skirts or a pair of 2019’s latest trend – knee-length denim shorts. This type of look also works well with pumps, sandals, heels or sneaker style shoes, it all depends on how casual or dressy your dress code is at work.
The key is to choose a short-sleeve sweater which is warm enough to wear on its own in the office, like our Knot-Front Stripe Sweater. As this item is partly made with cotton, it’s lightweight and breathable. We can’t help but love its nautical stripe print, a print which remains in fashion season after season, year after year, meaning it will never date!
7. Have an Array of Button Up Shirts
Let’s face it: you can never have too many shirts and blouses. By owning a collection of white and cream shirts, these will make great base items for any season, but especially the Summer. A well-fitting shirt or blouse can team up with trousers or skirts, and even be layered up with camisole dresses. Plus, they always look sophisticated without any effort.
Add a few additional light-colored or pastel shirts to your office wardrobe this Summer if you’re unsure about new items to invest in. This way, you can repeat your usual office looks by rotating your crisp white shirts with alternatives in neutrals and pastels and neutrals.
A fitted shirt isn’t called a staple fashion item for no reason!
8. Sleeveless Top and Wide Leg Trousers
One of the more elegant silhouettes of Summer is to strive for a slim, clean line look on top, flowing into a billowing wide-leg look for the bottom. There is just something chic about the feminine, floaty style of wide-leg culottes or trousers.
You can easily create this look by teaming up a sleeveless fitted top with a pair of wide-leg trousers – why not try high waisted trousers which will lengthen the body visually? These can be full length or calf-skimming trousers – the choice is yours.
This pairing is perfect for the office, as it instantly achieves a balanced look, and one which is ideal for when you aren’t sure if you’re going to be too hot or a little chilly. And if you do get a little chilly sat under air conditioning or the weather changes, this is where your statement cardigan or wrap scarf comes in!
A great top to have for this look is our Cotton Tank Sweater, which comes sleeveless and in a light, neutral sand color.Its slim fit around the body means it will work well with a pair of fashionable wide-leg culottes.
Sand is one of the most multipurpose colors out there and makes the skin look a little warmer and tanned. Great for the pale ladies!
9. A Bright Block Color Dress
If you can’t liven up the office with add a touch of vivid color in the Summer months, when can you? Invest in a one-color block dress, ideally in a happy, sunshine-inspired color, like lemon, coral, or tangerine. It will brighten up your mood and perfectly go together with the lighter, brighter season.
Sticking to one bold bright will make it much easier to accessorize up the dress, whether you choose to pair it up with monochrome accessories, or with another statement shade.
If you follow the tips above, they will not only make getting ready in the mornings much more fun and stress-free but will bring an elegant aesthetic to your office. What’s more, we bet you already own a lot of the staple pieces mentioned above. You just need to work out what to pair them with, and how to style them up, so that you can really pull off the workwear look throughout the Summer months.