summer style for work

In my humble opinion, summer is the most challenging season to dress for work especially if you (1.) work in a professional setting and (2.) live in a warm climate like I do. The humidity and high temps of the South are unforgiving and I, along with many of my friends, have to get a little creative with our summer style for work. What about you? Do you live in Austin and work in finance? Work in government in our nation’s swampy capitol? You’re probably feeling this too…

Yes, it is miserably hot some days and yes, we have a bit more physical maintenance to deal with (at least in the hair removal department, but I’ll leave it at that)…but we still want to look and feel good when we go to work. Also travel is picking up for most organizations, so there’s another scenario where we need to feel put together and not look like a sloppy mess.

For the good of the order, I’ve culled a few summer looks for work that will hopefully get your gears going. Sometimes all we need is a little inspiration, right?

The outfit on the left (above) features three of my top tips for summer style for work:

  • breathable fabric – the top is a gauzy cotton and wears light as a feather, but the button-down style makes it appropriate for work.
  • color – summer is THE season for playing with color, so minty green pants it is!
  • natural textures – for this look, I added a fun woven straw bag and suede mules (practical for standing and walking all day and still super cute).

The outfit on the right (above) is my summer version of the classic jeans-tshirt-blazer formula. I cuffed the blazer sleeves, added the (impulse buy) fuschia flats, and finished with a wrist full of bracelets that my 13-year-old self would absolutely wear.

Okay, first of all, here is your semi-annual reminder that clothing can trick the eye. In the photo on the right (above) I’m only standing slightly closer to the mirror than on the left, but because of my outfit choice, my body looks larger. And you know what I still really like the look on the right and will probably wear it again!

But I have to admit, the outfit on the left (above) feels the most “me.” The black pencil skirt is made of a soft, stretchy fabric that is very comfortable and forgiving. The t-shirt introduces a fun citrus color and trendy pattern and makes the whole thing a bit edgier (here is a similar one). And the white oversized button-down might be my most trusted piece; she gets the most wear for being easy, professional, and classy. (Also, the longer shirt length somehow makes this short girl look taller.)

For the outfit on the right (above), I paired a romantic top (again in the citrus yellow with a bright pink and white floral pattern) with the structure of these cream wide-legged jeans. Because I have two arms full of tattoos, sometimes wearing long sleeves is the best option for a more conservative work environment. When that is the case, I look for a flowy top that doesn’t stick to the skin in humid temps…and will usually pull my hair up for maximum comfort. Also, trendy cushioned slides FTW.

Did I mention yet that I’ve all but stopped wearing mascara? Consider it my unpopular opinion for this post, but it’s just such a hassle, never stays put (thus, raccoon eyes by 2pm), and is so annoying to remove every freaking day. Instead, I’ve been using this serum most nights to *pamper* my lil lashes and -I promise- I can tell a difference in the length and fullness when I do actually wear mascara.

I love both of these final looks. The one on the left (above) was inspired by fits I’ve seen from this lovely styling service that I follow on IG. In my version, I combined a bibbed top in periwinkle, pistachio suit pants, and patterned sandals. The outfit on the right (above) is all about comfort: essential black linen pants (YOU NEED A PAIR), a much-loved vintage tank, pastel pink button-down (and matching earrings), and easy black slides. If your employer is cool with it, you could also swap out the sandals for a pair of dad sneakers for either of these looks.


Which look are you most likely to copy? Do you have a formula for summer style at work? Let me know below or on the gram! xo

Published by Sara Beth Longenecker

Sara Beth Longenecker is a writer and blogger based in Nashville, TN. She helps women sort through the noise of our culture by bringing them truth, beauty, and everyday theology.

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