How to Dress for the Office When It’s a Million Degrees Outside

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

Ideally, anytime it’s 90 percent humidity we should all be able to work from home—or from a Wi-Fi-enabled poolside cabana. But real life dictates that we still show up to the office looking somewhat presentable. Here are five tips for keeping cool without breaking the office dress code.

27 Wrap Dresses for Easy Summer Dressing

woman in white wide leg culottes
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Go For Loose Silhouettes

Put away the form-fitting sheaths until fall. The less fabric that comes in contact with your skin, the better. That means wide-leg culottes, blousy tops and tent dresses are your best friends for the next two and a half months. Keep everything polished by minimizing details that could read as “beachy” (think embroidery and fringed edges).

Get the look: Eileen Fisher pants ($178); Glamorous dress ($65); Steve Madden sandals ($100)

woman walking in a shirtdress
Timur Emek/Getty Images

All Hail The Shirtdress

We’re pretty sure men are jealous that we get to wear what’s basically the equivalent of their work uniform sans pants. (To which we reply: Deal with it.)

Get the look:  Eileen Fisher ($153); 1901 ($129); Boden ($130)

summer time black jumpsuit
Timur Emek/Getty Images

Wear All The Black You Want

What, you thought we were going to tell you not to wear dark colors? We wouldn’t dream of it—black is actually the perfect camouflage for pits that won’t quit. Stay away from gray knits, though, unless you want everyone to know when your deodorant wears off. (Just swap out your shoes depending on your office environment.)

Get the look: Reformation ($98); Vince Camuto ($118); Chelsea28 ($149)

woman wearing orange linen pants and blue slingback heels1
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Stick To Natural Fibers

Ever wonder why those dapper Florida retirees always wear linen suits? A) Because they’re the coolest, and B) because linen and cotton are hands down the most breathable fabrics. Synthetic rayon is also lightweight, but avoid it if you sweat more than average as it can prevent moisture from escaping. And skip any silk: Even though it’s natural, it shows sweat stains like nobody’s business.

Get the look: Milly pants ($350); By Far shoes ($415); Caara dress ($64)

woman walking through city with cardigan on
Timur Emek/Getty Images

Keep An Office Sweater On Hand

You never know when aggressive corporate AC will strike.

Get the look: Caslon ($35); Madewell ($88); Barefoot Dreams ($130)

purewow author


From 2016-2019 Carolyn Kuang-chen Stanley held the role of Editor covering food, travel and all things nyc.