What to wear to the office during summer

Many of us long for the summer months and yet, when they arrive, we remember that it isn’t like when we were younger. We can’t look forward to enjoying six weeks off school to make the most of the sunshine. You realise that, actually, you still have to go to work. You still have to do your daily commute, even if the weather is absolutely glorious.

Sometimes it’s wise to make the best of a bad situation then. Yes, we would all much rather be at the beach or sitting in the garden, but the 9-5 awaits, and so to, does the question: What shall I wear? No doubt I’ve spoken before about the dilemma of workwear when it comes to the summer months. If you travel to work by train or bus, you’re sweltering by the time you get into the office, and yet, once you’ve cooled down, somebody has turned up the air con so high that now you’re unseasonably cold. And yet, once you step back outside to grab some lunch or visit a client, you know you’ll soon be hot again. It isn’t exactly one of life’s greatest problems but knowing what to wear to the office during the balmy summer months can make life somewhat easier, and make you feel more comfortable too.

I’m a firm believer in layers. They work so well throughout the different seasons: in winter when it’s freezing outside but warm when you step inside the pub or arrive back home, and in summer too when the temperatures are close to scorching outside but leave a cold chill when you step inside a shopping centre or your office.

I wrote a post recently about the beauty of linen. This light, breathable fabric is highly welcomed during the hot, sticky months of summer, as it maintains a subtle air of elegance and professionalism. A linen jacket is perfect for popping over a cotton blouse too when those temperatures slowly drop as you sit at your desk.

If a jacket feels too heavy though, a lightweight cardigan is convenient to carry when you’re outside, and yet provides a comfortable and light layer when needed inside. I tend to keep a colourful scarf at my desk too should I start to feel the aircon. A bright colour makes it appropriate for summer and provides a welcoming layer to pop over my shoulders. 

If you often feel the cold more on your arms, a skirt or shorts suit may be a good option. Simply team with a plain tee or silk vest top so you still feel smart when you venture outside without a jacket. 

But because we aren’t always graced with long-lasting sunshine through the summer months, having a solid workwear ‘capsule wardrobe’ that you can mix and match will help getting dressed on those particularly warm days altogether easier.