How To Dress Professionally in Hot Weather – Tips for Staying Cool and Looking Smart

When the temperature rises, dressing for work can become a challenging task. Balancing comfort with professionalism is essential, but you don’t have to compromise style to look polished. And nobody wants to feel like she’s melting in her workwear! In this post, we’ll explore smart tips and outfit ideas to help you stay cool and look professional even on the hottest days. From fabric choices to creative layering, get ready to transform your summer work wardrobe and breeze through summer.

If you’re looking for business casual summer outfit inspo, make sure you check out this post next!

How To Dress Professionally in Hot Weather

How To Dress Professionally in Hot Weather

Wear Breathable Fabrics

This is our most important tip for staying cool in workwear over the summer. Fabric really matters. Look for cotton and cotton blends, linen, crepe, and lightweight silk. Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, and acrylics. Clothes made of these synthetic materials can trap in the heat and make you feel too warm in hot weather.

Relaxed Silhouettes

When it’s hot, wearing clothes that don’t cling to your body and allow air to flow and circulate will be SO much more comfortable.

Black or White?

Despite popular belief that wearing light colors is cooler in warm weather, it doesn’t matter if you wear white or black. Light or dark. According to scientists, white tends to reflect body heat back to the body while black will absorb it. So, wear either!

Light Layers

If the AC is blasting in your office but you’re moving between indoors and outdoors to grab lunch or run errands, just keep a light layer like a cardigan or linen blazer close by.

How To Dress Professionally in Hot Weathersummer shoes


Breathable Shoes

Anyone else hate sweaty feet? Pretty sure flip-flops are not going to cut it in most office environments! Just as you’d look for breathable fabrics in your clothes during summer, the same goes for shoes. Look for natural fabrics like leather and canvas or styles that offer ventilation like open knit, mesh, and raffia. There are lots of great options out there both open toe and closed toe.

By the way, if you’re looking for comfortable flat shoes, make sure you check out this post next.

Go Sleeveless

Sleeveless tops and dresses are perfect for the office in the summer, and they’ll keep you cool. Short sleeves are also a great option.

Breezy Undergarments

Yep, we’re going there. Breathable undergarments are essential in the heat. Moisture-wicking fabrics like cotton are going to be your best bet and will help regulate your body temperature.

Minimal Accessories

In the blazing heat, we’d recommend keeping your heavy jewelry to a minimum and opting for lighter or even dainty pieces. If you love layering, a very lightweight scarf can add some interest to your outfit without adding bulk or heat.

Sweptback Hair

Might seem obvious but wearing your hair off your face and neck, in a headband, bun, or sleek ponytail will definitely make you feel cooler while also looking polished and put together.

white vest and pantstailored white vest and pants

tailored black vest and pants

Professional Outfits for Hot Weather

When it comes to summer work outfits, these 5 looks will keep you looking professional while you also beat the heat.

1) Vest & Trousers

We need you to use your imagination a bit for this first office outfit idea. These images were shot during Erin’s recent trip to Italy, and while this exact look doesn’t scream “summer workwear”, it’s perfect for the office with a few accessory swaps! Erin is wearing the same Aritzia set in both white and black. First, she styled the separates casually with sneakers…but swap those out for pumps or loafers, and then swap the hat and crossbody for your favorite work bag or tote.

For the black set, the pointed-toe slingbacks are great summer work shoes but you’ll want to ditch the hat. The vest is a lovely alternative to a blazer when staying cool is priority numero uno. It looks professional, pulled together, and incredibly chic paired with the matching trousers. Both pieces are made of a crepe fabric with a subtle texture, breezy drape, and wait for it…it doesn’t wrinkle! Both pieces also come in a bunch of colors and the pants are available in regular, short, and tall lengths.

How To Dress Professionally in Hot WeatherButton-Up & Trousers
Button-Up & Trousers

Erin was so pleasantly surprised when she first put on this silk button-down blouse from Quince. Where do we start? It’s very lightweight and the fabric is cool to the skin. It’s naturally thermoregulating to help maintain body temperature, it has some stretch to it, and it’s machine washable! It’s also very affordable. Erin paired the blouse with Favorite Daughter pleated trousers. She’s wearing the “shortie” length which has a 30” inseam (perfect on Erin’s 5’4” frame with a pair of heels). These pants are a rayon blend, so we’ll link a linen and a crepe option which are a bit more ideal for super hot temps.

Light Neutral Blazer | How To Dress Professionally in Hot Weather

Light Neutral Blazer

If you work in an office with a professional dress code, having a lightweight blazer in your summer arsenal is a must. It’s a wardrobe basic we’re always talking about! You can wear it with everything from a pair of trousers to dresses to skirts. But it’s not only office wear…you can throw it on over your more casual summer dresses for date night or dinner. You can even wear your blazer with jeans or breezy pants on business casual days.

Here Erin is wearing a Cinq a Sept white blazer she’s had for years. It has three-quarter ruched sleeves with button cuffs so you get that scrunched-up look without having to actually push up your sleeves. They stay put! It’s an Erin favorite, a team favorite, and knowing that it’s chic in and out of the office, you’ll definitely get your ROI from this piece. It’s also available in a few other colors…the navy would be gorgeous for summer too.

When it comes to affordable basics on a budget in and out of the office, you’ll find this post has some wonderful options.

Shirtdress for summer


If you want that easy one-and-done office outfit that will keep you cool this summer, look no further than the shirtdress. It’s a great choice for the office! The structured silhouette and clean lines give it that tailored and polished look that’s pretty darn ideal for any business setting. You can wear a light cardigan or blazer over it and even swap out the office shoes for sneakers on the weekend for maximum versatility!

Linen Skirt and Blazer

Linen Skirt and Blazer

Truth be told, Erin isn’t always a huge fan of linen because it can wrinkle so easily and that doesn’t look super polished for the office. But, some linen fabrications are less wrinkly like linen blends with cotton. And we can’t deny that linen is definitely a great fabric for keeping cool in warm weather. In this next look, we wanted to show you how chic a head-to-toe neutral ensemble can look for the office featuring…a linen blend skirt. This is an older image but the outfit formula is still very much on point. Wear your neutral blazer with a white or cream cami or button-down and add a neutral linen skirt. Cool, polished, and professional!

What’s your favorite way to beat the heat in the office over summer? If you have any tips or tricks to share, we’d love to hear about them in the comment section below. Please!

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