Six Summer Work Style Rules
Dress for the Office, Not the Beach
Don't let the heat melt your judgment. Regardless of the warm temperatures and casual feel of the season, InStyle fashion director Hal Rubenstein says, "The important thing to remember is that you're at work. It's not the beach and it's not the weekend." Therefore, fight the urge to wear a slip-dress with spaghetti straps and opt for something with more structure and coverage. He adds, "The reality is that you don't work outside, and you should still dress as if you're going to run into your boss in the elevator."
Take an Assessment of your Feet
Don't retire your sandals just yet. Rubenstein says the strappy footwear is fine for the workplace, as long as you have good-looking feet. "Even a great pedicure doesn't hide every foot flaw, so take an honest assessment of your feet before wearing sandals to work." To hide imperfections, choose sandals with thicker straps (for more coverage) and a back that covers your heels. One thing Rubenstein isn't objective about is flip-flops. "They make this horrible ftuk, ftuk, ftuk noise when you walk, which is very distracting."
Just Say No to Silk and Linen
These two fabrics may seem perfectly suitable for summer, however, Rubenstein reminds that, "Linen is the perfect thing to wear if you're never going to sit down... and silk doesn't breathe." To avoid being a wrinkly mess with sweat marks by the end of the day, opt for clothes made of cotton, lightweight jersey or tropical-weight wools. "Wear fabrics that feel as good as they look and look as good as they feel."
Choose a Lightweight Bag
This might seem obvious, but once loaded up with all of your daily necessities, you're going to start sweating under your arms if your bag is heavy to begin with. Don't fret, fashionistas, lightweight doesn't mean boring. "You can buy a bag in almost any fabric these days-leather, cotton, canvas, even lizard-that has virtually no weight," says Rubenstein. However, beware of nylon bags. While they're extremely lightweight, the fabric doesn't breathe against your skin and will definitely cause you to sweat.
Yay to Shorts, Nay to Daisy Dukes
"A couple of years ago you would have said you can't wear shorts to work," says Rubenstein, "but now there is such a thing as appropriate shorts or dress shorts." Choosing them is easy-shorts should be around knee-length and in a work-friendly fabric like cotton or lightweight wool. And Rubenstein adds, "If you have any doubts of them being appropriate, they probably aren't."
Choose a Standout Summer Dress
"There's such a thing as overdressing for work," says Rubenstein, who recommends erring on the conservative-yet-chic side when choosing a summer dress for the office. "This doesn't mean you dress to blend in," he adds, "but there's a difference between standing out and sticking out." Think a classic color-block dress with sophisticated details like gold buttons, not a flouncy chiffon dress that may feel light and pretty, but says date night, not work day.