10 Ways to Stay Cool While Dressing Business Casual This Summer
This article is the first of many from our new fashion and beauty column at GainesvilleScene. Inspired by the various styles in Gainesville, Fla., author Isabella Sorresso aims to highlight the ways to feel and look your best, even in the sweltering swamp weather.
We’ve given you ways to survive the heat on the weekends, but what about during the workweek?
Dressing professionally during the summer is always a struggle in Florida, and resisting the urge to just throw on a swimsuit and jump in the pool instead of going to work poses its own kind of challenge.
But, if you have no other choice than to go to work and face the weather, hopefully these tips can help you to brave the heat, humidity and possible thunderstorms all while balancing trendy and professional this season.
Before changing up your look too much, be sure to check if your office has a dress code and see how to work in some of these fun summer wardrobe changes within the guidelines.
- Check what types of material your clothes are made of. Fabrics like cotton, linen and rayon are typically the most breathable materials whereas polyester, denim and nylon are much less forgiving.
- The three-finger strap rule. We all want to wear as little clothing as possible to avoid getting too warm outside, but often the tops that fall into this category are not work appropriate. To decide if they are good to go, we can take a tip from our old high school dress codes (that we all loved so much) and see if the straps on our tops are at least three fingers wide. It rules out a lot of tank tops in our closets, but still gives the opportunity to go sleeveless this summer.
- Learn to layer. If you have a top or dress that has spaghetti straps or any straps that don’t follow the the three-finger width rule, bringing a cardigan or sweater to layer with can be the solution. Layering may seem like a fall/winter practice, but in the summer it can also be a helpful tool.
- Wear lighter colors. If middle school science fairs taught me anything, it’s that darker colors absorb more heat than the lighter colors. So, not only are brighter colors more on-trend because it’s summer, but switching out the dark blue, gray and black t-shirts out for a more colorful piece might work in your favor.
- Dresses and skirts. If you’ve been wearing pants to work every day for the last few seasons, dresses and skirts are easy ways to feel more summery and change up your look. Try to apply rules 2 and 3 to your dress options as well as making sure they are an appropriate length for work. I would stray away from maxi dresses or skirts as well as mini dresses or skirts — to be safe, keep the length as close to your knees as possible.
- Skip the denim or trousers. If you have to wear pants to work, or run out of dresses and skirts, try wearing pants that are more a more comfortable material. Palazzo pants can be more flowy and might be a happy medium for pants-lovers who can’t bring themselves to wear slacks. If you want to retain the look of slacks but with a sleeker and more comfy feel, try out Pixie Pants from Old Navy. Pixie Pants are more soft and stretchy like jeggings, but are very professional and come in a multitude of colors if you wanted to switch it up a bit for summer.
- Go ankle-length. Another pants option is to wear ankle-length instead of full length pants. The Pixie Pants are slightly cropped already, but pants that don’t quite reach your ankle are usually less tight around the leg and end up being more airy. This pair from Forever 21 is a good example of both lighter material pants as well as being this length.
- Try a jumpsuit. If you don’t know, a jumpsuit is like the adult version of a romper. It’s one item, but has full pant legs instead of shorts. Some jumpsuits are not workplace appropriate, but others could be a perfect solution to dressing professionally. For example, this jumpsuit from Forever 21 could be dressed up with a blazer and some nice shoes, or dressed down with some sandals and a summer hat for a day out.
- Find breathable shoes. Sandals may not always appear as work appropriate, so to fight sweaty feet this summer, find shoes that can breathe. If you need to wear heels to work, try a pair of peep-toe pumps, or go full-on airy with some simple and classy sandal heels. If heels are not your cup of tea, flats are usually a safe workplace option. Though flats can get warm too, so try some chic loafers with cutouts to let your feet breathe, or just take the backs of your shoes out of the equation entirely with these on trend shoes from Target.
- Wear your hair up. This may seem like another obvious tip, but you might want to switch it up from the usual ponytail once in a while. Instead, go for a cute variation on the classic ponytail or put your hair up in a topknot to keep your hair out of your face entirely.
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