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The Blog

Approachable inspiration for a stylish life. 


What to Wear to Work When It's Too Damn Hot

Kristen Berry

It’s not quite summer yet, but we’ve already had a few swelteringly hot days out here in the Bay Area. While the heat is ideal for a trip to the beach or poolside reading, it’s less appealing during the workweek, when you have to find something to wear that will keep you cool, comfortable and office-appropriate all day long.

I always add a few fresh dresses to my closet each summer for just this reason. Nothing feels quite as light, breezy and pretty as an easy dress in a breathable fabric. I look for forgiving cuts and materials that allow me move freely – or sit in front of my computer for hours without feeling like I’m wearing a corset.

Here are ten options (including one jumpsuit for good measure!) that will help you beat the heat in style this summer.  

H&M Sleeveless Dress in White/Blue Patterned, $50 at   .

H&M Sleeveless Dress in White/Blue Patterned, $50 at

This dress is perfect to help beat the Monday blues as well as look chic at a dressy weekend day party. You can easily turn the formality down a bit with a pair of flat sandals, or play up the fancy with strappy heels.

Everlane Silk Tank Dress in Persimmon, $88 at .

Everlane Silk Tank Dress in Persimmon, $88 at

I am obsessed with the color of this dress. I would add a bit of shape by cinching the waist with a belt, and pop a jacket on to beat the chill of the AC while at the office. Keeping makeup limited to a nude lip and a bronzey eye would let the brilliant hue of this dress shine.

Zara Linen Shirt Dress, $70 at .

Zara Linen Shirt Dress, $70 at

Doesn’t this look like it would be a slice of office-chic heaven on a hot day? I love that the slightly flirty slits in the skirt provide a bit of extra movement (and, ahem, extra airflow when it’s sweltering out). I’d wear a pretty pink lip, a girly ponytail and a pair of heeled sandals with this one.

H&M Crinkled Dress in White/Feathers, $35 at

H&M Crinkled Dress in White/Feathers, $35 at

How adorable is this print?! I love the multicolored feathers, as well as the overall femininity of the cut. I’d wear this dress just as it’s pictured here for a Sunday Funday with my boyfriend, or pop a pair of heels on to dress it up further for the office.

Everlane Silk Short-Sleeve Dress, $98 at .

Everlane Silk Short-Sleeve Dress, $98 at

The relaxed cut of this dress is just too good, with the rolled sleeves, body-skimming fit and high-low hem. There’s also a slim keyhole cut in the back to show just a sliver of skin. I’d probably toss a belt over this one to accentuate my waist a bit and introduce a little color, or a nice metallic shade.

Zara Printed Tunic, $70 at .

Zara Printed Tunic, $70 at

Guys, this print!! It’s so beautiful and summery and delicious. And it already comes with its own little tie to cinch in your waist. I’d wear my hair up and pop on a bright poppy-colored lipstick (playing up the same shade as in the dress) wearing no eyeshadow at all, just piles of black mascara. I’d stick to a nude shoe with this one – no need to compete with all of these bold, gorgeous colors.

Aya Cupro Draped Twist Dress in Charcoal, $102 at .

Aya Cupro Draped Twist Dress in Charcoal, $102 at

So, you know I’ve been playing around with proportions in my wardrobe, especially introducing a few skirts and dresses with longer-than-usual hemlines. I love that the asymmetrical cut of this dress offers the best of both worlds. The simple gray hue and crewneck neckline is the perfect canvas for a fun statement necklace, or layers of simpler necklaces in different lengths. Whenever I wear a longer skirt, I like to pair it with heels to avoid feeling matronly. And I’d definitely rock a bold pink or orange lip to brighten up the gray.

Zara Lace-Up Shirt Dress, $50 at   .

Zara Lace-Up Shirt Dress, $50 at

A sleeveless shirt dress is one of the crispest things you can wear to work on a hot-ass day. I love the contrast top-stitching on this one. And if you’re worried about perspiring as you’re running around, a dark color like this navy number will be more forgiving. I’d lighten the look up a bit with a pair of blush wedge sandals.

J.Crew Factory Chevron-Striped Dress, $64 at

J.Crew Factory Chevron-Striped Dress, $64 at

So I’m going to be honest – I thought this dress was adorable when I saw it from the front, but it’s the back that makes me want to throw money at it. However, I wouldn’t recommend showing off your lower back in addition to your arms and legs in the office, so I’d pop a little jacket on top while at work (preferably a distressed white denim jacket), and take it off for happy hour.

Zara Jumpsuit with Open Back, $100 at .

Zara Jumpsuit with Open Back, $100 at

Even I occasionally get tired of wearing skirts (or just don’t feel like shaving my legs) and need to reach of a pair of pants. I love jumpsuits for this reason (as I recently shared). It’s so easy to reach for a single piece rather than having to pull together a bunch of separates. I love the conservative cut of this one, combined with a peek of back. Because your legs are covered, you might be able to get away with the cut-out back at the office, but you can easily toss a jacket on top if it makes you feel self-conscious.

What are your go-to pieces to wear to work when it’s blazing hot outside?

- Kristen