Question I constantly ask myself: “How can I wear as little clothing as possible in the summer and still be office-appropriate?” HOW? How can I walk, bike, commute to work in the summer without arriving in a slimy layer of perspiration? It feels impossible, and I don’t even have a strict work dress code to blame.
You’d think living in Miami for 18 years would have helped me tackle this question. And yet, every time New York’s temperature rises, I find myself in a rut and succumb to the sweatiest of commutes by wearing something I am less than excited about. The good thing about ruts, though, is that sooner or later there’s a breaking point. And with breaking points comes change! Or in this case, a challenge.
I decided to challenge myself to come up with a week’s worth of outfits that would a) show the summer heat who’s really boss, b) make me feel capital G-O-O-D and c) not get me fired for showing up naked. It’s a tricky equation that took a few tries, but you know what? I think it worked. Below I’ve documented my findings. My office environment is very casual, I admit, but I think these styling tricks can translate across contexts. If you have any tricks of your own, please share them below! We’re all in this heat together.
Let It Loose, Let It Loose
The obvious solution to the hot-and-bothered problem is a loose-fitting dress. I used to dismiss the power of a good dress; something about one single garment being your whole lewk felt kind of boring. In reality, a dress, at its very best, will be your wardrobe’s saving grace. If it’s good, it’s all you need, and sometimes that’s really freaking great. Cue Sleeper’s linen dress. It’s so light that sometimes I forget I’m not naked. I tend to wear it as pictured but you can also button the top buttons and wear it off the shoulders for a little extra breeze.
Side note: I am on the “heels are making a comeback” team.
Go One-Arm Commando
A completely exposed shoulder is probably on the “No” list of office-appropriate clothing, but I’m gonna argue that a full one-sleeve is enough coverage for both arms. I’d also like to point out that there is no cleavage exposed, plus my shorts pass the finger-length test. That’s gotta count for something.
Bring Back the Slip ’N Slide
I based this outfit around my yellow Style Mafia slip skirt. I love slip skirts but I’ve only ever styled them for fall with an oversized knit and really wanted to make it work for the summer. My first instinct was to go for a button-down but that felt too expected. This Maison Cleo blouse is actually meant to be a wrap top, but I tied it in the front instead to give it a different shape. I think the big sleeves distract from how low the cut seems, but I made sure to pin it either way so there were no wardrobe malfunctions à la Janet Jackson. Plus, extra voluminous sleeves equal extra ventilation.
Wear Your AC-Unit
Crochet, lace, eyelet — essentially any fabrics that contain holes are good to incorporate into your summer wardrobe, because, well, holes. Open. Air. You get the gist.
Amazing crochet knit aside, I think the hero piece here are the Caron Callahan shorts. Shorts can be really tricky for an office scenario between the length and fit but these have such a great, structured shape. They’re like the tuxedo pants of shorts. (And who doesn’t wear tuxedo pants to the office?)
Okay, that’s it! Shout out below what you wear to sweat it out on your daily commute.
Photos by Edith Young.