Business Casual: Summer Outfit Ideas

Navigating the blazing heat outside and arctic tundra inside your office can be difficult in the summer months. If your office’s dress code is business casual, it might be even more difficult to figure out what to wear during these hot months while still looking presentable.

The term ‘business casual’ can differ between each company, but the common thread between all should be that your outfit is appropriate for the office place. When in doubt, be sure your outfit looks professional. Erring more on the conservative side is also best so to avoid potentially offending others or embarrassing yourself with your choice of clothing.

But what does business casual even mean?

In the summer for women, business casual attire means a skirt, that is appropriate length, nice pants or capris paired with a blouse that is short, ¾ length or long sleeve, in a light and breathable fabric. You can also wear sleeveless if your office allows. If you need a little more coverage up top, pair a tank top or sleeveless top with a lightweight jacket, blazer or sweater. Another easy outfit for summer is a jumpsuit or a dress, if it is work appropriate. If you have a strappy dress that bares too much skin for the office, wear a white t-shirt under the dress or wear a jacket, light sweater or blazer over it. Avoid shorts and jeans, unless jeans are allowed in your office. If your office allows, wear nice sandals (not flip flops) or peep-toe shoes. These can be in the form of flats, sensible heels, or wedges. If your office allows tennis shoes make sure they are clean and not worn down.

In the summer, business casual attire for men means dress slacks or khakis paired with a button-down shirt, with or without a tie, or short sleeve polo shirt. Wear with nice socks, dress shoes and a belt. Again, avoid shorts or jeans unless your office allows. If t-shirts are permitted, make sure the graphics are appropriate, there are no holes and it fits properly. Don’t wear ripped clothing, even if it was made that way, or dirty shoes.

To stay cool, be sure your summer clothes are a lighter fabric such as linen, silk, or cotton. Just make sure the fabric isn’t so thin you can see through it. Also wear light colors, such as white pants or shirts to keep you cool. Men and women can benefit from undershirts under tops so to catch sweat in the summer heat.

Remember even in the summer that ‘business causal’ still has the word ‘business’ in it! When you dress for work during the summer months, make sure you don’t look like you’re headed to the beach, or just rolled out of bed.

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