Choosing appropriate clothing for the business environment can be challenging at the best of times. It becomes more difficult when temperatures rise and we feel being fully covered is uncomfortable and downright hot. It becomes even more of a challenge when we leave home in sweltering heat and then move into an air conditioned work environment. How do we dress? What should we wear?
Knowing how to dress for the summer heat and still remain comfortable and professional has the potential to boost your professional image and maybe even move you up a notch or two.
The Rules of Summer Dressing in a Business Environment:
1. Focus on professional: Resist the urge to wear clothing that shows bare skin. Low necklines, short skirts, sleeveless tops, sheer tops, bare legs are great for summer weather but are more fitting for barbecues and nightclubs than a day at work. When choose our clothing we are also choosing an image to project. If your intention is to move up in the business world keep your business clothes professional.
2. Wear lightweight clothing: You can still stay cool and not show skin. Choose fabrics that are lightweight such as cotton and linen. For example wear a cotton jacket over a lightweight blouse or wear a sweater set. If it gets too hot you can remove the jacket and still be covered underneath. If you work in an air-conditioned environment you will appreciate the added layer while you are inside and the option of removing it when you move into the heat.
3. Choose the proper footwear: Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean that sandals can be worn everywhere. Sandals are not appropriate in a professional setting. Wear only closed shoes such as pumps and sling backs.
4. Stay away from clothing that spells “summer”: That means bright jewelry, cropped pants or skorts. Summer clothing can be worn in a professional environment but ever so subtlety. Wear lighter colored accessories and clothing but nothing that brings attention. For example, choose a pastel blouse or light colored professional handbag.
5. Wear loose clothing: Choose to wear skirts and pants in a light fabric so that the fabric glides over your hips and tummy. White is great for summer but will show every bump and lump if worn too tightly.