How to Dress Heat Wave Appropriate for the Office

*Disclaimer: This list is comprised of options that are work appropriate for a business casual atmosphere. As in, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being working from home in your sweats and 10 being lawyer power suits, this list is for an office of 5.

Summer time is when you seriously consider emphasizing the casual in business casual. Now that summer is nearing its fiery end, it can seem like it’s getting hotter and burning up quicker than The Jonas Brothers. The sun rays make it seem like such a good idea to show more skin than usual but there’s a thin line between being literally cool and inappropriate.

  • Don’t wear beachwear.
    • This seems like an achingly simple rule. But it could be easy to break. Blame it on heatstroke or too many iced beverages but the right temperature can make that halter top look good for the office. It’s not.
  • Try to avoid sheer materials.
    • Sheer materials most likely mean that the garment is allowed to breathe. And it makes sense: thinner material equals less coverage and less warmth provided. But sheer materials also call for a peep show your coworkers never signed up for. Here’s a test: hold the garment up to the light. If you can clearly see through the garment, don’t wear it without something under it.
  • Wear a bra.
    • Again, achingly simple and equally tempting to break because no bra means easy living especially when the sun is beating down on your back and front and sides and you feel like the cup in your bra is threatening to become a literal cup filled with sweat. But a bra is always a work-must.
  • No crop tops.
    • There is only one (!!!) exception to this rule and that’s if the crop top at least reaches the point between your belly button and your pelvic line. Then this top must be considered only if your pants or skirt is high waisted.
  • No shorts.
    • Wear bermuda shorts at your own risk. This sounds like an old fashioned rule meant for women who churned butter for a living but this is quite sensible. Shorts are the radical version of pants and can’t be trusted on appropriateness simply because anything above knee walks on the line of acceptable. You’re safe with pantaloons that hit below the knee, aka capris.
  • Don’t wear camisoles by themselves.
    • Camisoles are like those friends you only go out with in a group; with another clothing item they’re great; but just you and Cami the Camisole? It could never work. What would you guys talk about? How inappropriate you look, that’s what. Camisoles make layering possible so use them wisely and in pairs with an actual shirt/blouse.
  • Don’t forget your sweater.
    • Because of the curse of overactive AC units, millions of people fall into an 8 hour nightmare when they enter a workplace that was too prepared for the sweltering weather. Is there anything worse than feeling like you’re in an icebox in the office while simultaneously being a wall away from sizzling UV rays? There’s no happy medium. Except when you bring a sweater. And you can even keep it in the office where the frigid temperature stays.

When it’s Unbearable° outside, it’s hard to function much less dress for the office. But these options help you keep cool and keep your job.

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