Wearing shorts and flip flops when it’s hot is a great way to keep cool. But this is usually not acceptable when you work in an office or professional environment, even on Casual Fridays.

How can you adjust your work outfits to be lighter, cooler and more comfortable even if it’s 90 degrees outside? Here are 4 ideas on work clothes for women to survive the summer.

1. Choose a lightweight and light color suit

summer office clothes | 40plusstyle.com

There are times when a suit is unavoidable; even if it’s really hot out. The right choice of fabric and color can make a world of difference!

Look for suits with minimal lining to them. Choose suiting in lighter fabrics like cotton, rayon or a blend of both cotton and synthetic. Linen is wonderful, but choose a linen blend that minimizes wrinkling.

Lighter colors tend to feel cooler, especially when outside and in the sun, so consider wearing more whites, pastels and beiges.

Suit in image above is from the Ann Taylor summer suiting collection.

2. Wear a dress in a suiting fabric to add polish

Michael Kors fit and flare shirt dress for career women | 40plusstyle.com

A shirt dress or wrap dress is a perfect office look for career women in summer. The easy silhouette is flattering because it’s fitted in the right places (like waist and shoulders) and loose and flowy everywhere else, for good air circulation.

To keep the look professional, choose a dress in a traditionally masculine suiting fabric like a pinstripe, herringbone pattern or other type of suiting material.

The featured fit and flare shirt dress above is by Michael Kors and can be found here.

3. Choose looser, relaxed fit work clothes for women

easy fit summer work clothes for women | 40plusstyle.com

The key to staying cool for summer is to allow for maximum airflow so that your body keeps cool. A looser, relaxed fit will be more comfortable in the summer. Some great ideas for work clothes that are summer friendly include:

  • Cropped, wide-leg pants
  • Larger-cut blouses
  • A boxy, boyfriend-style jacket or cardigan
  • An unstructured dress with some interest to it, like lace detailing or an interesting pattern
  • Replacing a suit jacket with a loose cardigan, oversized vest or a wrap

The work outfit on the left is from Eileen Fisher.
The middle work outfit is by Jones NY.
The look on the right is by Club Monaco.

4. Skip the jacket

office looks for summer days | 40plusstyle.com

Although a jacket often completes a professional office look, you don’t always need one. Choose to pair a nicely tailored pair of pants or a slim pencil skirt with a lightweight summer sweater or well-tailored blouse instead. This simple look is just as professional, especially when you add some accessories like a statement necklace, fashionable shoes and a structured handbag.

Both work outfits: JCrew.

Here are more summer-ready work clothes for women, in stores now.

How do you look and stay cool at work for summer?

Work clothes for women to keep cool and look professional all summer | 40plusstyle.com

Feature image by My Mid-life Stylist 

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