( All images via The Classy Cubicle)
We are thrilled to feature Mary Orton of The Classy Cubicle, a one-stop spot to find all the inspiration and style advice you need for the workplace, whether for an interview or for conservative, creative, or casual office environments. Mary shed light on practical workwear for the tricky summer season⎯and let us in on her secrests to looking professional during the hot, humid months.
Wearing business attire in the swampy sauna that is a New York City summer is no joke. In a button-down shirt and pantsuit, I have been known to emerge from the soul-crushing bowels of the New York Subway system in a Dickensian state of despondency, in greater need of a shower and one-hour dry cleaner than when I woke up.
If your summer workload involves contemplating your own mortality as you are sardined between fellow commuters in 95-degree heat and zero air circulation (much less air-conditioning), or something similarly torturous, you’re probably in need of some survival tools.
So now the big question is: What do I wear?
Below the waist, ditch the staid black pants. Wearing real pants to work in the summer is a fool's game. Shorts, from my experience, are rarely, if ever, appropriate in an office setting, but there are tons of business-appropriate suit separates with pants in cropped lengths, skirts, dresses, and even culottes (yes, culottes!) that can work wonders as far as air circulation goes. In terms of skirts and dresses, just make sure your heat-induced rage doesn’t compel you to start compromising on an office-appropriate hem length.
Above the waist, layer like your life depends on it. In general, go for breathable, lightweight natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk with finer threads and looser weaves.
Wear short-sleeve or (if appropriate for your work environment) sleeveless blouses and sport a lightweight blazer or cardigan on top so you can easily ditch that outer layer when outside. If you work in an office where blazers or suit jackets are mandatory, wearing a lightweight sleeveless shell is especially clutch and might be the only thing standing between you and heatstroke when beyond the comfort of AC.
While sandals might work wonders on your commute, you'll probably have to ditch those puppies upon entrance to the office. However, you can (and should!) think differently about your in-office hot weather footwear as well. Bust out your sharpest office-worthy peep-toe pumps, sling-back heels, or even mules heels to give your feet a bit of a breather."