How to avoid these summer style blunders


avoid style blunders
Ah, summer! I absolutely love summer and summer clothes. It’s so liberating to wear lightweight fabrics and fewer layers. But along with this summertime freedom often comes the quandary of just exactly which summer styles are appropriate for work.
In this article I made the case for a summer suit, but what do you wear when the mercury is sky high? What are the rules these days?
And how do you maintain a business professional or business casual image without melting or slipping into the too casual range?

Here are a few common summer dress dilemmas and how you can approach them the best way for your office and lifestyle.

Should you wear cropped pants to work?

Cropped pants or capri pants are a tricky. First off, cropped pants are those that fall about 3 inches above the ankle. Capri pants hit from just below the knee to mid calf. Currently, cropped pants and ankle pants are the more stylish, professional options.

If your dress code allows cropped pants and they flatter your figure, be sure to choose ones in a dressy fabric with a tailored fit. In other words, smoother fabrics with few details (pockets, etc.) that skim your body are dressier than a heavy twill with cargo pockets and a baggy fit.

Next pair your crops/ankle pants with a heel or tailored flat and a work appropriate top (see below) or even a jacket. And as always, don’t forget to accessorize.

Skirting the Issue

When it’s hot outside, it’s tempting to reach for a lightweight summer skirt and t-shirt or tank (see below) but before you do, consider the following. There’s nothing wrong with a summer skirt that’s not a lined pencil skirt. However, for the most professional look, be on the look out for skirts with smaller prints in tailored fabrics (i.e. smooth with body.) And be sure not to go too short with your hemlines!

Gauze skirts and short skirts with large prints scream “picnic.”  Tailored clothing says “I’m here to do my job, so I can get a promotion and raise.”


But it’s too hot to wear a jacket!

I’ll be the first to agree. Some days are just too hot…for most jackets. In this weather, opt for lightweight, linen jackets. Unlined jackets are terrific unless you work in an ultra formal office.

Another option for a second layer during a heat wave is a super lightweight cardigan. I especially like linen sweaters! Unlike woven linen, these sweaters won’t wrinkle and can easily be stashed in your tote bag if necessary.

Can I wear a sleeveless blouse to the office? 

When I was building outfits in my closet one day, I discovered I have a huge collection of knit camisoles. Otherwise, my options for tops that can be worn sans jacket or sweater were limited. Since then, I’ve been adding some terrific short sleeved and sleeveless tops…see below.

For business casual, it’s becoming more acceptable to wear sleeveless tops in the office in the summer. Skin can be distracting, so choosing tops and blouses with higher necklines and good coverage will be most professional. While woven blouses are the most polished, summer trend, my clients have also been having excellent luck with high necked knit tops with ruching at the waist and also peplum tops…so flattering! As I mentioned above, it’s always a good idea to keep a neutral jacket or sweater in your office for any unexpected meeting that might crop up.

Summer can often feel laid back and casual, and it can be tempting to dress as comfortably as we can, but by completely giving in, you run the risk of damaging the credible image you’ve worked to hard to achieve. Follow the summer wardrobe tips I’ve given above and you’ll not only be stylish and cool, but you’ll also maintain your professional appearance and exude success!

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