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She works hard for the money

July 19, 2010

Wow. It has been an embarrassingly long time since my last post here. But believe me when I say I’ve been incredibly busy, what with moving and writing for other websites. And working from home is hard work. Do you have any idea how much effort it takes to shower in the mornings when I know I don’t have an office to go to?

(That may have been TMI. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Therefore, to give my life meaning, I make myself go to Starbucks practically every day, where there is free wifi and a steady stream of caffeine.)

Anyway, almost an entire month ago, I promised a dear friend I would write a post on this very blog about dressing professionally in the summer. And so, in honor of her first full-time job, here is that post. (Yes, it’s a little late, but writing this blog doesn’t pay the bills, y’all.)

Depending on where you live and what kind of office environment you work in, dressing professionally in the summer can be very, very easy or very, very difficult. A few factors that influence this include your commute (whether you walk, take public transportation or drive) and your office’s dress code.

Back in Atlanta, I was fortunate enough to work in a fairly casual environment. The men wear shorts and flip-flops in the summer and all in all, it’s a pretty laid-back environment.

However, that doesn’t mean we threw the dress code out the window. Your work wardrobe speaks volumes about your personality. For example, no matter how casual your work environment, there are always more professional options than flip-flops. If you’re allowed to go open-toed, there are tons of different sandal options out there. (Clearly, gladiator sandals dominate the market right now.)

Gladiator sandalsFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore – Shoes – Casual – 2055986266, $18

Charles by Charles David Motif, $40
ASOS FLORENCE Suede Trim Gladiator Sandals, $61
Chain Keeps Us Together Sandal, $32
Lily-ped Sandal, $28
Old Navy Womens Leather Bauble Gladiator Sandals, $25

Also, I hope this goes without saying, but spaghetti straps are always unprofessional. Throw on a cardigan, light jacket or blazer if your top or dress shows a bit too much on top. Make sure the blazer doesn’t hit at the thickest part of your torso. I really like a long, almost casual-looking blazer.

JacketsFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

BP. Three Quarter Sleeve Jersey Cardigan, $25
Women’s Aerie Ruffle Back Open Cardigan (Grape Smoke), $35
Old Navy Womens Lightweight Open Cardigans, $25
Slub Cardigan – Teen Clothing by Wet Seal, $23
Gap Sash blazer, $40
Old Navy Womens Plus Double-Weave Blazers, $18
casual fridays heather gray blazer, $45
Waterfall Collar Blazer, 15 GBP

And as far as skirt length goes, keep it modest. There are plenty of skirts and dresses that can seamlessly transition from the office to happy hour. If a particular skirt is too short, try layering it with another, more form-fitting one underneath.

SkirtsFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

Anglaise Tier Skirt, 10 GBP

Old Navy Womens Pleated Floral-Print Skirts, $30
Mocha lace print skirt, 25 GBP
Fusion Creation Cupro Skirt, 19 GBP – Bottoms – Bow Adorned Skirt, $18 – Bottoms – Skirts – 2000000366, $16 – Bottoms – Skirts – 2000003142, $7.80
Ruch Mesh Bodycon Skirt, 32 GBP
DressesFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

Old Navy Womens Shirred Cross-Front Dresses, $20
Deuce Coupe Darling Dress-Mod Retro Indie Clothing & Vintage Clothes, $45
Closet green polka dot dress, 30 GBP
Batten Down the Crosshatch Dress, $50
dELiAs > Jill Floral Dress > dresses > casual, $40
Bow’n Back in Time Dress-Mod Retro Indie Clothing & Vintage Clothes, $50 – New Arrivals – 2074384764, $20
Missguided: dresses, blue, cream blue dress, cream dress, ruffle,…, 25 GBP – New Arrivals – 2068362657, $25
Livia Floral Dress, $27

A note about high heels: If you can’t walk in heels, don’t wear them. Period. Yes, heels can make a great silhouette for an outfit, but if you stumble around in them, you’ll always end up looking goofy. Wedges gained some popularity this summer, and they’re infinitely easier to walk in than traditional heels or pumps. I’m not a huge fan of kitten heels in my own wardrobe, but hey, diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks. Some good closed-toe shoe options for more business-casual environments:

Flat shoesFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore
Nine West Oaks kitten heel pump (COGNAC), Wide Width, $30
Nina Women’s Paladin Satin Pump, $49
Aerosoles Women’s Raspberry Flat, $38
BCBGeneration Women’s Yelena Flat Casual Loafer, $44
Rocket Dog Madellats, $36
Old Navy Womens Faux Snakeskin Peep-Toe Flats, $20
REPORT ‘Kimball2’ Flat, $50
Fluoro Fabulous Flat, $30
Womens – View All Shoe Styles – Payless Shoes, $7

No matter what your work environment, commute or personal style, dressing for the workplace in the summer can be tricky. Admittedly, it can be difficult to keep it professional while staying cool, but there are obviously lots of options out there.

What is your workplace’s dress code? What are some of your summer staples for the office?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Katy permalink*
    July 20, 2010 4:40 pm

    We have a pretty casual office. Casual in the sense that a lot of things go, but we do still have to look nice everyday. The men are supposed to wear ties, which I feel sorry for them. I can wear dress pants, a skirt, a dress. No one has ever gotten on me for inappropriate outfits or anything. On weekends and holidays (this is a newspaper, after all) we can wear jeans…or even PJs if we really desired. I could get away with not dressing up as much as I do, but I find that I like to get all dressed up. It actually increases my productivity I think. Even when it comes to schoolwork, I find that I am more productive if I get out of my PJs and put on jeans or something like that.

    • July 20, 2010 4:59 pm

      I always prefer to be over-dressed in an office. I was usually one of the dressier people at my office in Atlanta. And now that I work from home, I certainly notice an increase in my productivity when I actually make an effort to put together a decent outfit rather than laying around the house in sweats all night.

  2. Christina permalink
    July 20, 2010 4:54 pm

    Finally! My post!! Well written dear!

    My current office outfit: White matchstick jeans, light grey Grecian inspired sleeveless top & black sandals.

    UA is super casual but I refuse to be one of those girls who shows up in bootleg jeans and a crew t-shirt every day. No siree!


    • July 20, 2010 5:00 pm

      I’m so sorry it took so long!

      I’m glad you’re loving UA. Your outfit sounds perfect for a more casual office environment while still looking put together. If I ever wore skinny jeans with a T-shirt at the office, I’d dress them up with some chunky jewelry and wedges.

      See you this weekend!

  3. Jenny permalink*
    July 22, 2010 11:05 am

    I love love love that second-to-last skirt in the bottom row. And I’m not even a big skirt person.


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