Spring has finally sprung, and the weather is warming up around the country. Hot spring and summer days may mean relaxing in shorts and a T-shirt at weekend barbecues, but at work, you still need to maintain your professional presence with appropriate business attire.
So how do you do this without baking in heavy suits and thick fabrics? Go lighter without showing too much skin or shocking your colleagues and clients.
Where you live and where you work will obviously play a big part in your work wardrobe (for example, a small business owner in Santa Cruz, California might be able to dress a little more casually than a vice president of a large company in New York City). These are general guidelines to help you get started.
Tips for Keeping Professional Presence While Beating the Heat
1. Don’t dress for the beach. Even when temperatures rise, it’s not acceptable in most workplaces to don flip-flops, shorts, sundresses, midriff-baring shirts or tank tops.
2. Avoid heavy winter fabrics, such as wool and flannel, for lighter materials that breathe better in the heat, such as cotton and silk. Lighten up your color palette as well, incorporating white, gray, beige and other summery colors instead of black.
3. Trade in pants for a professional dress or a skirt paired with a short-sleeved blouse and a light jacket or cardigan. You will stay cool without compromising your professional presence.
4. Ditch the stockings. You may not be able to wear sandals, but you will cool down considerably by not wearing pantyhose to the office.
1. Wear a suit in a lighter-weight fabric (think linen instead of wool). Depending on your workplace, you may also be able to get away with wearing a shirt with an open collar instead of a tie.
2. Remove your jacket at the office (or leave it at home for a more casual office).
3. Opt for chinos or other pressed, lightweight slacks. They will be cooler and more breathable, but they will still look professional enough for work.
What are your tips for maintaining professional presence as the mercury rises?
Learn more about our Professional Presence in a Casual World course.