Awesome piece Adrian! I wish I had places to wear them!! My favorite part is that you worked to try and find dresses that fit a wide range of budgets! Cause people may want the business look, but their budget doesn't allow it. Great job!
It’s summertime, and living’s easy! But dressing? Not so much, particularly from nine to five. Sweltering temperatures can make even the idea of wearing work clothes unbearable, and those comfortable summer sundresses are rarely office-appropriate. What to do?
Fear not: The Daily Muse‘s summer dress guide has got you covered for any dress code, any occasion, all summer long!
Dress Code: Business Attire
If your workplace requires you to wear a suit everyday, don’t think you’re constrained to pants, a button-down shirt, and a jacket. Your regular office ensemble may be fine at your air-conditioned desk, but what about your commute and those cross-town meetings?
Your best bet: start with a solid-colored, sleeveless shift dress that will keep you cool when you’re going to and from work. Once you’re in the office, top it off with a lightweight, ¾-sleeved blazer (no need to sweat in your wool suit jackets). Resist the urge to wear open-toe shoes. In most workplaces, though, slingbacks and peeptoes are an appropriate option and will keep your feet cooler than pumps.
Our picks for beating the heat in business attire:
- J. Crew Attache Dress, $158
- Ann Taylor Belted Cotton Sateen Sheath Dress, $138
- Calvin Klein Suit, Sleeveless Sheath with Belt, $99.98
- Gap Ponte Shift Dress, $49.99
- Target’s Mossimo Sateen Dress, $24.07
- White House Black Market Gray Peplum Jacket, $158
- Ann Taylor Loft ¾ Sleeve Everyday Cotton Jacket, $128
- Gap Shrunken Blazer, $98
Dress Code: Business Casual
While it’s tempting to ditch the “business” part of this dress code when it’s hot, it’s important to look no more casual than you would during any other season. So, sundresses, tanks, and sheer materials are definitely a “no.” And a good rule of thumb for baring your shoulders: Don’t do it unless you see several of your superiors doing it, too.
Invest in a few lightweight, flowy, short-sleeved dresses in light-colored neutrals, bright solids, or pretty prints. Summer colors (other than neon) and patterns are perfectly fine as long as the dress’ cut and fabric is modest and professional.
Open toe heels are (usually) fine for this dress code, but avoid espadrilles, sandals, or anything that looks like it could be worn to the beach.
We love these colorful looks:
- T Tahari Dress, Holley Sleeveless, $138
- Max & Cleo Belted Cotton Sateen Sheath Dress, $138
- Ellen Tracy Cuffed Short Sleeve Blouson, $99.50
- Ann Taylor Loft Airy Flowers Tuck Detail Dress, $69.50
- Zara Two-Tone Dress, $59.90
Dress Code: Festive
Summer work parties can range from evening cocktails to backyard BBQs, but the same basic rules apply. First, it’s OK to show your shoulders (if everyone else is), but absolutely avoid spaghetti straps, strapless tops, or too-short hemlines. (If you have to ask your roommate if it’s appropriate, the answer is no.) Secondly, have fun! Now is the time to bust out summery whites, bright colors, and bold patterns. Finally, go one step dressier on your footwear than you would if you were wearing the same dress with friends. For example, sandals can be fine for a cookout, but make sure they’re dressed-up leather or nicely embellished.
Toast to the summer in these fun frocks:
- Banana Republic Silk Abstract Floral Dress, $150
- J. Crew Indira Ikat Dress, $148
- Zara Printed Dress, $59.90
- Francesca’s Collection Swing of Spring Dress, $44
- Forever 21 Sleeveless Floral Dress, $17.80 (now out of stock)