Beat the Heat – Office Wear

Ladies, today we are the lucky ones. We may make 70 cents to a man’s dollar, and we’re plagued by constant sexism in the media, politics, and athletics – this is not news. But, I always say there is ONE area of life where women have it easier – summer office attire.


News to Nobody – It’s HOT Out

Today, at least for a few hours, Washington, D.C. was the hottest city in the country – we all know the “ICK” feeling as soon as you step out the door this time of year. While men are stuck in long-sleeved dress shirts (comfort be damned, short sleeved dress shirts are just tragic – sorry guys) and ties, women have some much better, more comfortable, options for beating the heat. Here are a few.

Wear a Dress

Dresses are the best – especially this time of year. Why? First of all – the one and done element. There’s no need to coordinate several different pieces like you do when you wear pants, a blouse, a sweater on top, etc. All you’ll need is an accessory or two and your shoes – out the door you go. Besides being an easy outfit, choosing one made from lighter, more breathable materials helps keep you cool. Think cotton, linen, or jersey. Wear a shape that isn’t too constricting. An ideal choice? The wrap dress, made iconic by Diane Von Furstenberg.

Summer wrap dress.
Summer wrap dress.

Be careful not to veer to far into sundress territory, though. Avoid spaghetti straps, halter tops, anything that is too open in the chest or back.

Look For Fuller Skirts

Graphic summer skirt.
Graphic summer skirt.

Skirts that are more a-line, pleated, or full are a breezy choice. Leave the more restrictive pencil skirts for October. Pair the skirt with a complimentary sleeveless blouse – just make sure it’s tailored to not reveal too much.

Get Graphic

Summer lets you have a little more fun with prints – just don’t go overboard. Find one of the fuller skirts mentioned above with a fun graphic print. Keep it professional by wearing it with a solid blouse on top. Prefer monochromatic looks? Now is the time to make all white work!

But My Office is FREEEEZING

A pashmina is perfect for keeping you warm in a chilly office.
A pashmina is perfect for keeping you warm in a chilly office.

Keep a neutral-colored pashmina at your desk. Use it to throw over your shoulders, should you get chilly. Need something more formal for a big meeting or presentation? Easy, throw on a well fitted blazer. Just keep it summery by wearing one made from summer fabrics, rather than the wool or cashmere you’d use in the cooler months.

Colleen Bayus photo


Colleen Bayus is a personal wardrobe stylist in the Washington, D.C. area. Her company, Styling by Bayus, provides personal shopping, wardrobe consulting, and closet editing & organization services. Like on Facebook,Follow on TwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn. Contact her with questions.


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