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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

4 HR-Appropriate Office Looks That'll Get You Through the Hottest Month of the Year

It’s unbearably hot outside, but you already know this. At this point in the summer, you’re sick of getting dressed up every day for work, and you’d love nothing more than to throw on flip-flops and shorts.

Yeah, that’s probably not going to fly.

Luckily, there are definitely ways to keep cool and office-appropriate in sweltering temperatures. Keep reading to see how you can make a stylish statement without sweating up a storm.

1. If You’re Headed to an Interview

See your trusty black pantsuit? In this heat, skip right over that baby. Instead, you’ll want to layer like a pro. Start with a sleek pencil skirt, then add a sophisticated top: short sleeved, sleeveless, 3/4 sleeved, or even a tank if it’s appropriate for your office. Then, right before you head out the door, simply throw on a blazer to look interview-ready.

My favorite look? A patterned top, like the one above. Unless you’re interviewing in an extremely conservative environment, patterns are perfectly appropriate and will inject personality into a potentially blah ensemble.

2. If You Have a Lunch Meeting

When you’re running around the city, steer clear of darker fabrics—they absorb heat and generate thermal energy when exposed to intense sunlight. Try whites, light greys, and blues, and invest in a statement necklace, which will kick your look up a notch when you’re meeting with someone important.

3. If You’re Headed to Happy Hour After Work

While a night out after work might inspire you to pull out something fun and fitted, loose-fitting garb is the only way to go. Remember, you want your sweat to evaporate, and tight clothing will only retain moisture.

Look for tunics and shift dresses, which go effortlessly from day to night. You can also keep a cute clutch and pair of heels in your car or bottom desk drawer and trade them in quickly for a more fun look. And if humidity has taken a toll on your hair over the course of the day, add a quick top knot to complete your transformation.

4. If Your Office Has Casual Friday

In the cooler months, casual Friday is so easy—throw on your favorite dark jeans with a great top, and you’re good to go! But the summer is a bit tougher: It’s too hot to wear jeans, but shorts and sundresses aren’t HR-approved at most offices.

My summertime go-to is casual-yet-covered dresses in cotton, rayon, and silk-linen blends, which will stay wrinkle free and “breathe” efficiently. (Synthetic materials, like polyester, actually retain both moisture and heat.) I picked this dress because it’s a more fun look than I’d wear Monday to Thursday, but it’s still perfectly professional if I get pulled into a meeting.

Do you have any tricks on staying cool while still looking office-ready? Share them on Twitter or Instagram!

Photos courtesy of Kimberly Kong.