I live it Texas. It gets really, really hot in Texas. I work in a professional office and serve in professional capacities within my community, so I need to look neat and tidy at all times. But let’s face it…a suit in Texas in the summer would just be a big sweaty mess after a couple of hours. So how do we deal with looking professional during the summer?
To start the conversation, we need to consider what we mean by professional dress, in general. For me, clothing must be neat, clean, pressed, and look like it belongs in an office setting (bank, law office, title company, mortgage broker, financial planner, CPA, funeral director, chamber office, etc.).
Now if you work in a professional office, but you are holding a customer appreciation picnic, you probably would be way out of place with a suit on. So, always keep in mind to dress appropriately for your job or the duties you are doing that day.
Examples of professional dress for women are business suits (with pants or skirts), jackets with dresses, pants, dresses with sleeves or dresses with full shoulder coverage. If in style, gaucho type pants okay as well. Nice sweaters, silk blouses (not see through or with an under blouse if see through), and sweater sets with slacks or skirts are also professional.
Guys, you have it much easier than women, fewer options lead to fewer mistakes. Men can wear a golf shirt (with a company logo is even better), and a nice pair of clean, pressed trousers, with a good pair of shoes (Cole Haan has some nice looking, slip on, leather shoes that aren’t suit worthy, but work well for a business casual outfit), and look good. Of course, a nice, clean and pressed suit always looks professional (and handsome).
Clothes not suitable for an office setting are (in general): blue and colored jeans, cargo pants, shorts, un-ironed cotton pants, sweatpants, capris, leggings, jeggings, mini skirts, short suits, and hiking pants, anything torn or ripped, anything with holes (intentional or unintentional), tank tops, sports wear, sweatshirts, t-shirts, and most clothing items made of t-shirt fabric.
In summery (get it?), if you would work in the yard in it, go honky tonking in it, wear it to the lake, or wear it to a gala, then it is probably not professional clothing wear. Sequins, spaghetti straps, cleavage, mini, see-through, backless, bra less, patched, grunged, stained and worn doesn’t fit in at a professional office.
I summer-ize my wardrobe, and still stay professional, by wearing dresses, skirts, sandals, open-toed shoes and no hose. I don’t like to show my shoulders (just too casual to me), so I wear dresses with small sleeves or I add a sweater. There are some lovely and professional looking sheath dresses or A-line dressed that are wonderful for summer, since they do not cling to your body. They allow a bit of circulation between your skin and the dress. I particularly like those that are lined, since the lining not only keeps the fabric from “seating” (molding to the outline of your butt when you sit), but also helps the outer fabric to stay pressed and lay flat.
I have previously shared that my favorite summer wardrobe item is slip shorts. They will help you stay cool and keep your clothes from sticking to you.
So, I am sure you are thinking, “But I like to be comfortable.” Dressing professionally is not exclusive to being comfortable. A well-fitted dress is so much more comfortable than jeans (they are either binding or need pulling up all the time) and a slouchy t-shirt.
Plan your work wardrobe for comfortable and professional hot summer days. You will look and feel good!