Beat The Heat: Dressing Professionally Cool

Summercasual_webJust in case you might have missed the past few months, there is a heat wave hitting the United States. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, temperatures are shattering records in the South and Southwest, while average precipitation has been well below average.

With scorching temperatures setting daily record highs, the summer look might just be pool clothes. But work doesn’t stop in the summertime, and it’s important to remember to know where to draw the line for acceptable work attire. Whether you’re starting a new job, or you’re a workplace veteran, you should know that what you wear represents yourself as well as your organization.

Dress codes don’t go by the wayside just because of the temperature. We’ve shown you how to warm up in the wintertime, so here are some tips to help you keep cool and professional in the summertime.

When putting together a work outfit for the summertime, think of breathable cotton fabrics. Wrinkle resistant linen-cotton blends can make a nice replacement for wool suits and lightweight fabrics will give a welcomed relief in unbearable temperatures.

Keep the Sleeves
Even though you might have incredibly shaped arms, resist the temptation to go sleeveless. It’s widely considered that tops with sleeves are deemed more appropriate for the workplace. If you were to go sleeveless, keep it covered with a thin cardigan or jacket.

Don’t wear sandals. Not only can flip-flops look unprofessional, they can be distracting and noisy. Open toed shoes are usually considered inappropriate in a business setting. For a little more breathing room, consider peep-toe shoes as an alternative.

Long hair can make you feel hot, especially in this scorching heat. Men, try getting a trim to cool off and cut down on maintenance. Women, try tying up your hair to keep your neck cool. Quick updos can help you achieve a simple yet professional style.

Summer Colors
When picking out summer work clothes, be sure to think about colors. Keep in mind that while some lighter colors are cooler than darks, extremely bright colors can be distracting. Stay with lighter more natural shades like neutrals or whites, which will direct fewer rays from the sun and keep you chill.

Men may consider changing to bamboo socks in the summer, they are more breathable than cotton and are said to keep you two to three degrees cooler. Ladies may try thigh-high and knee-high styles of hosiery to provide a slightly more comfortable alternative in the summertime.

Keep it Covered
Remember that just because some companies allow shorter sleeves during the hotter months, you still need to keep your tattoos covered up.

Maintain your reputable image by dressing appropriately year round. A consistent look will help project reliability and credibility.

Even though tuning into the morning news just to hear the weatherman say, “It’s going to be another scorcher” has become all too normal, you’ll know how to stay chill and dress appropriately. And don’t forget to check your company handbook on dress codes before contemplating any changes to your wardrobe this season.


  1. Corey Witt

    As a career resource ourselves, we have been asked about what constitutes as a proper dress code in the workplace and as you put it, the summer is even tougher. I enjoyed reading your take on this subject because you broke the dress code down in a different way then I have seen. I think it’s important for job seekers to never lose sight of the fact that they need to maintain professionalism. If an office is too hot, before wearing a less professional outfit, try to get the office to be cooler. It’s simple, but they’re not trying to solve the problem themselves by taking a risk with how they dress.
    Great way of discussing the dress code/workplace issue.
    – Corey
    Blogger at

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